What's New With Exit Devices? K2 Commercial Hardware Enters The Market

What makes the exit device unique is that it provides life safety through free and easy egress, while still maintaining the security of the building. K2 Commercial Hardware exit devices are designed to provide free egress while restricting access...


The exit device, also known as a panic device, was first introduced in 1908 by Carl Prinzler & Henry DuPont in response to a devastating fire in Chicago 's Iroquois Theatre in 1903 where 594 people perished because the doors of the day did not provide free egress.

The exit device is a type of “free egress” door lock having an inside release bar mechanism, which is the actuating portion of the locking mechanism. No prior knowledge of operation is needed to open the door. Mounted onto the inside of an outswinging door, this activating portion can be known as the crash bar, crossbar, push bar or push pad. The term crash bar was probably evolved when panicking people first “crashed” into the bar, opening the door and lived to tell of their escape. What makes the exit device unique is that it provides life safety through free and easy egress, while still maintaining the security of the building.

Exit devices are divided into two categories: “panic hardware” and “fire exit hardware.” Fire exit hardware is almost identical to panic hardware and operates in the same manner. However, it possesses some important differences.

Fire Exit Hardware has been designed, tested and approved by UL for operation on a fire rated openings which are also called “Labeled” openings. The fire exit device includes fire rated components designed to withstand high temperatures up to three hours, ensuring that the door stays latched during a fire which helps compartmentalize and control the spreading of smoke and flames. The latchbolt must always be active to ensure positive latching; therefore a fire exit device can never have mechanical dogging capability.

Both fire exit hardware and panic hardware must have an actual label visible on the product after installation, signifying that it is either a “Panic Device” or “Fire Exit Hardware.” Typically this label is located on the side of the head cap. That is the only positive way to identify the type of device installed on an opening.

The exit/panic device contains a dogging mechanism, which allows devices in high traffic applications to have the bar/pad locked down, so the latch bolt remains retracted. This permits the door to be opened without the exit device latching mechanism operating and limits wear and tear on the device, extending its life. With the latch dogged (retracted), and a dummy handle or pull on the exterior of the door, people can gain both access and egress through the opening. A typical application for this would be a store front or mall entrance during business hours. Dogging mechanisms include hex or similar wrench type keys, mechanical lock cylinders or electrically operated bar/latch retraction.

Exit devices can be either “Exit Only” (no exterior trim) or be outfitted with an exterior trim in different configurations and functions. Exterior trims vary in design and look from a pull or thumbpiece , to a key in lever with a rose, or a lever with an escutcheon plate. Typical trim functions available include dummy, passage, classroom, and storeroom (also known as a nightlatch ). Most exit devices will use a standard mortise or rim cylinder and can be keyed to match existing mechanical key systems.

K2 Commercial Hardware exit devices are designed to provide free egress while restricting access through the use of keyed trim options. The K2 exit devices meet or exceed ANSI A156.3 Series Grade 1 requirements.

The QED100 Series is a heavy duty institutional type Grade 1 exit device that has exceeded the 500,000 cycles by more than double. The QED300 Series is a utility type Grade 1 exit device that has exceeded the 500,000 cycles. The QED100 and QED300 Series exit devices are UL10C/UBC 7-2 (1997) Positive Pressure Rated, UL10B Pressure Rated and UL305 for panic hardware. The K2 exit devices are Americans with Disabilities Act compliant and California State Reference Code compliant.

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