Electric strikes (also referred to as electric releases) are making a big comeback in security management, gaining new levels of acceptance as end-users endeavor to protect their customers, employees, inventories and themselves against terrorism and crime. Security providers are realizing that...
To access the remainder of this piece of premium content, you must be registered with Locksmith Ledger. Already have an account? Login
Register in seconds by connecting with your preferred Social Network.
Complete the registration form.
Electric strikes (also referred to as electric releases) are making a big comeback in security management, gaining new levels of acceptance as end-users endeavor to protect their customers, employees, inventories and themselves against terrorism and crime. Security providers are realizing that electric strikes can fill a prominent role in providing effective physical security solutions.
The Door: What is It Good For?
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 any number of popular security related systems, such as intercom entry, remote door control and access controls.
Electric locking devices typically used include:
- Electromagnetic locks
- Electromechanical locks
- Door strikes (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, which is mounted on the door, and coil, which is mounted on the doorframe. The physical mounting and operation of an electromagnetic lock is rather simple, as it is comprised of only these two components.
Electromagnetic locks are always fail-safe. When power is applied, the magnet attracts the armature, and the door cannot open until power is removed. But, because there is no integral means on an electromagnetic lock to unlock it, mag locks can be dangerous unless deployed as part of a properly designed door control system which includes components such as a UL-listed power supply, request-to-exit controls (R-E-X), override key switch and an interconnection with the building's fire alarm system. These essential components, and the additional labor required, can cost more than the electromagnetic lock itself and can add up to a rather costly and involved undertaking.
Additionally, building codes and the National Fire Protection Association Life Safety Code, usually enforced by the local authority having jurisdiction, restrict and regulate the use of electromagnetic locks. Installing an electromagnetic lock should not be taken on casually, because if it is misused, there could be significant repercussions.
Electromechanical locks include shear locks and electrified deadbolts. Shear locks, which are always electrically fail-safe, combine electromagnetic holding power with mechanical latching, and all of the safety issues that apply to electromagnetic locks apply to shear locks.
Electrified deadbolts do not use magnetic armatures, but pose a similar set of safety issues to the system designer. Electrified deadbolts are available in both fail-safe and fail-secure. Both shear locks and electrified deadbolts are subject to a variety of mechanical failures if the doors upon which they are installed become misaligned. Unfortunately, the potential for the mechanical portion of the lock binding up on a door and impeding egress in an emergency can make them a less desirable choice for openings along the path of egress.
Both electromagnetic locks and electromechanical locks create a security issue. They unlock if power to them is lost, and generally neither can be used with existing or standard door hardware and locks in place.
On the other hand, electric strikes typically are latching type devices that mount in a doorframe in the position where a strike plate would normally be. Electric strikes usually utilize the existing lockset on the door.
Although there has been much rhetoric about the advantages of the no-moving-parts design of electromagnetic locks compared to electric strikes that have moving mechanical parts, a quality electric strike, properly rated for the duty and weight of the door it controls, not only will provide excellent service, but also will be less complicated to install and will provide a safe and secure locking system (occupants will be able to safely egress).
The Trine 3000 program helps the locksmith stock the right electric strike for any job.