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).
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 condition and thereby permit free egress.
Also, electric strikes usually mount in an area of the doorframe that does not place stress on the frame and glass (in the case of doors with glass panels) as do many electromagnetic, shear and bolt locks that are mounted at the top of the door.
If electric strikes have a bad rap, it is primarily for the following reasons:
- Selecting an electric strike based on price rather than by rating can lead to disappointing results.
- Electric strikes are often installed on doors that needed adjustments or repairs.
- Electric strikes are sometimes not matched to the door or the duty cycle properly.
Do not succumb to the lure of selecting an electric strike because of low cost. As is the case with other door hardware items such as closers and hinges, selecting an electric strike solely on the basis of price almost guarantees that the device will not perform satisfactorily. On the other hand, if a product has the appropriate ratings and listings for your application, don't let a good price stand in your way either.
Streamlined manufacturing, smart engineering and simplified marketing channels have made possible the introduction of some great values in a wide variety of door hardware and electric strikes.
Wrong Door Installations: A significant number of door strike failures can be attributed to the fact that the door strike is placed on a door that is misaligned horizontally, where the door interferes with the jamb or the door closer is not functioning. Although horizontal alignment is important on any lock, a newly installed door will age and wear over time and eventually most doors require adjustment. When a door strike is installed on a door that has been in service for a while, deterioration will have begun, and the new strike may already be misaligned. (Sometimes it is common practice for an installer to ignore the condition of existing hardware on the door and forge ahead with an installation.)
Electric Strikes Not Matched Properly: Using the right tool for the job is essential for proper door strike operation. Selecting a strike that is designed for the frame and application means that the optimum level of security will be maintained on the door, the installation will be faster and the electric strike will function reliably. Selecting a door strike that requires minimal cutting on the jamb is advisable for several reasons:
Aesthetics: By not requiring major alteration to the jamb and by using a strike that looks at home in the frame, the installation's appearance will be more acceptable to the client. If the door strike is unobtrusive, it will be less likely to draw attention from vandals or would-be intruders as an attack point on the opening.
Weakening of the Frame: Some door strikes require so much cutting to the doorframe that the structural integrity of the frame is actually jeopardized. You may have selected a door strike as strong as Fort Knox, but what good is that if you destroy the door system when installing it?
Disruption at Installation Site: For retrofits, the less a fuss you create on the site during installation, the better off you are. Although the client wants that electric strike, he may not want you to shut him down for hours, spread debris and make noise. Of course, sometimes installations must be performed during business hours, but your customer satisfaction quota is exponentially inverse to the time you're on the door. Using an electric strike designed to fit also means you'll require fewer tools and will save installation time.
The Trine 3000 Modular Program
The Trine 3000 goes a long way towards providing the locksmith with an electric release solution for any application. The Trine 3000 Modular Program enables the locksmith to have the right strike in stock, without requiring the locksmith to literally have every Trine 3000 model on the shelf. Instead you invest in the kit. Then when you need a specific electric strike, you "assemble" the unit from the parts kit to suit your application, and reorder only the parts you actually used.
The Trine #3000 Modular Program makes it possible for the locksmith to stock his shop (or each service vehicle, for that matter) with a full complement of Trine strikes at a fraction of the cost and taking up a fraction of the space that an equivalent inventory of product would require.
The Locksmith Ledger's Enquiring Mind got the details on this revolutionary program from Trine engineering manager Fred E. Orbeta.How many pieces are in the kit?
The kit has four different mechanism bodies available: 12VDC, 24VDC, 12 - 24 V AC/DC Fail Secure and 12 - 24 V AC/DC Fail Safe Mechanisms. There are 22 different faceplates available to work with these mechanisms.
How is it packaged?
The mechanisms are boxed and the faceplates are individually packed in plastic bags and five to a box. Included with the faceplate are the mechanism mounting screws, strike assembly mounting screws, shims, spacers, dust covers (for faceplates that utilizes them) and the instruction sheet.
All together, how many different strikes are possible from the kit, or in other words, how many door strikes would a locksmith need to inventory in order to have the same possibilities?
With 22 faceplates and four mechanisms, you can potentially cover 88 different combinations so rather than carrying 88 boxes of strikes, you can just carry 26 pieces in your kit.Who do you envision would need one of these kits?
The distributors and installers would benefit because of the reduction in stock. The installers will benefit in many situations, for example if the installer arrives at the site expecting an ANSI strike replacement, if he has the kit, he is ready for any kind of strike replaced.
Please explain the LC option and the offset faceplate option.
Depending on the application, the installer will have to use the LC option. Typical situation would be when installing the 3000 on a 16V system or any other voltage between 12 and 24V AC or DC (for most of the time the installer does not need to worry about what voltage is available at the jobsite), also when reverse current surge protection is needed for the panel used to control the electric release.
Please explain the Offset Faceplate Option.
The offset faceplate makes it convenient for an installer to repair a sagging door or a frame misalignment problem. Rather than repairing the hinges, cutting/moving the electric strike on the frame the installer can just use the offset faceplate option.
For more information, contact your local locksmith distributor or Trine Access Technology, 1440 Ferris Place, Bronx, NY 10461. Phone: 718-829-2332. Web site: www.trineonline.com.