ELECTRO-MECHANICAL LOCKS: MAKING YOUR CUSTOMERS HAPPY

What are the benefits of electrically actuated cylindrical and mortise locks? The door positively latches when it is closed and shut. In fire rated and listed door situations, especially in stairwells, this is a critical requirement, since those doors...


Electro-mechanical access control products are available in different configurations including electrified cylindrical locksets, mortise locks, panic/exit devices, deadbolts, strikes and trim. Each of these devices and configurations provides similar and yet unique locking applications. One of...


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Electro-mechanical access control products are available in different configurations including electrified cylindrical locksets, mortise locks, panic/exit devices, deadbolts, strikes and trim. Each of these devices and configurations provides similar and yet unique locking applications.

One of the first things to ask when a customer inquires about electro-mechanical access control is “What type of lock mechanism is currently securing the door?”

In most instances, the customer's building is already equipped with a specific style, finish and function of mechanical locking hardware that is probably appropriate for the application. However, make sure your customer is satisfied with the current hardware, as the customer may not like it and wish to have it changed to a different style/finish. Depending upon the lock and its operating condition, it can either be electrically modified or replaced with an electrified version. Direct replacement or re-modification simplifies the installation. When in doubt, contact the lock manufacturer or the remodifier .

A primary goal of an electro-mechanical access control installation should be to make the access point blend in with the other building doors, keeping the system as transparent as possible. With a lock that matches, or closely matches existing hardware, movement of other locks to electro-mechanical access control at later dates becomes easy, since any material removed for the placement of the lock onto a door is typically contained on the interior of the door, under the skin, lock face and hinge.

Let's take a look at electrified locking hardware. An electrified lock or trim is usually a standard mechanical lockset or device that has been modified to accommodate electrification in order to control the locking mechanism. Electrified trim provides the same capability. When locked, the exterior thumb piece, knob or lever will not retract the latch mechanism until activated or a key is used.

Fail Safe or Fail Secure?

Electrical locking actuators can be either a solenoid or motor that enters the locked condition using power or when power is eliminated. Depending upon how the locking mechanism is activated, the electrified locking hardware is either Fail Safe or Fail Secure.

The Fail Safe condition requires power to lock. This means that power must be provided continuously to maintain the locked mode. The locking mechanism remains unlocked if power is lost. Hardwired systems can be designed to provide continuous power in order to keep a door locked. Battery-operated systems cannot. However, battery operated systems do not usually require continuous power to stay in either locked or unlocked mode, since they are motors, and motors can be “at rest” in either position.

The Fail Secure condition requires power to unlock. The locking mechanism remains locked if power is lost. This is why the term Fail Secure is used when power is required to unlock the locking mechanism. A Fail Secure access control system can operate using intermittent power (when unlocking only).

To install the electrical actuator, parts of the lockset need to be machined or have custom components installed. The electrical actuator can be a solenoid in hardwired systems. There are solenoids designed to be constantly powered or powered only intermittently. Most solenoids require a significant beginning amperage surge in order to operate. For this reason, most solenoid-operated locking hardware is part of a hardwired system, as batteries would be drained after few operations.

In the past, a locksmith would need to be specific when ordering an electrified lock to determine the exact function and voltage needed for a project. Most electrified locks are designed to operate on 12 or 24 volts.

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