Electrified door hardware has achieved new levels of acceptance as our society attains a more mature attitude with respect to the importance of safety and security. What might have been judged paranoia a few years ago may now be regarded as just common sense today. The two most important...
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Electrified door hardware has achieved new levels of acceptance as our society attains a more mature attitude with respect to the importance of safety and security.
What might have been judged paranoia a few years ago may now be regarded as just common sense today.
The two most important functions of a door are to facilitate egress in emergency situations and to prevent intruder access at other times. Electric door hardware will permit the installation of security-related systems such as intercom entry, remote door control, access controls and life safety systems.
Remote door control systems are used in applications such as showrooms and office environments or where business is conducted on an "appointment only" basis if proprietors wish to control who may enter. A button is typically situated at the receptionist' desk, or a wireless transmitter is carried by the proprietor.
Access control systems may utilize keypads, card readers or biometrics to control access into and sometimes out of premises. Access control systems can be interfaced with intercoms and remote door controls systems, and may also be integrated with a perimeter security system.
Electric door hardware categories include electromagnetic locks, electromechanical locks and door releases.
Electric locks are classified as either FAIL-SECURE (Normally Locked; Apply Power to Unlock), or FAIL-SAFE (Normally Unlocked; Apply Power to Lock)
The traditional electromagnetic lock is comprised of an armature mounted on the door and coil mounted on the doorframe. The physical mounting and operation of an electromagnetic lock is rather simple. It is comprised of only two components. Electromagnetic locks are always FAIL-SAFE. When power is applied to it, the magnet attracts the armature, and the door cannot open until power is removed.
Electromechanical locks include devices such as shear locks and electrified deadbolts. Shear locks, which are always electrically FAIL-SAFE, combine electromagnetic holding power with mechanical latching. Electrified deadbolts are available in both FAIL-SAFE and FAIL-SECURE.
Both shear locks and electrified deadbolts are also subject to a variety of mechanical failures if the doors upon which they are installed become misaligned (whether caused by aging or abuse), or under certain other conditions such as wind pressure.
Electric releases are typically latching type devices which mount in a doorframe in the position where a strike plate would normally be. That's why they are often referred to as "electric strikes."
Electrically actuated locksets and trim are another category which includes cylindrical and mortise style locks, and outside trim (for example levers), which uses an electrical signal to be operable.
The facts are:
- There is no single locking solution for all applications.
- It takes a relatively high degree of skill to specify the best solution for a particular opening.
- It takes a relatively high degree of skill to install most electric door hardware properly.
- Shopping price when specifying electric door hardware will always result in disappointing, and perhaps dangerous, consequences. Selecting an electric release on the basis of price almost guarantees that the device will not perform satisfactorily. As is the case with other door hardware items such as door closers and hinges, using poor quality hardware ultimately costs the client more because the item must be constantly adjusted, serviced or replaced.
Electric strikes utilize existing door locks and hardware. This means that whether they are FAIL-SAFE or FAIL-SECURE, the existing lock trim will continue to function under any conditions and thereby permit free egress.
DON'T INSTALL ON DOORS THAT NEED ADJUSTMENT
A significant number of lock problems and failures can be attributed to the fact that the door release is on a door that is misaligned horizontally, where the door interferes with the jamb, or the door closer is not functioning. When a door release is installed on a door which has already been in service for a while, the new strike may already be misaligned.