ASSA C4 System Secures Columbus Airport

Today’s security professional faces enormous challenges in securing our transportation infrastructure. From large international airports with millions of passengers passing through each year to small, regional train stations and bus depots, the need for...


Today’s security professional faces enormous challenges in securing our transportation infrastructure. From large international airports with millions of passengers passing through each year to small, regional train stations and bus depots, the need for effective intelligence on daily patterns of movement within a facility is paramount to staying one step ahead of those who might do us harm.

Airports in particular have been subject to intense scrutiny by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and indeed the general public in the wake of past incidents both in the US and abroad. The typical regional or international airport can cover hundreds of acres with vast buildings containing thousands of openings to both secured and non-secured areas. The number of employees or other individuals requiring varying levels of access can easily run into the thousands.

The security industry recognizes the unique challenges facing the transportation sector and has responded with a plethora of access control products. From basic stand alone keypad locks to full blown hard wired smart card access systems that can do everything but make coffee for you in the morning, the choices can seem daunting, confusing, and expensive. The multitude of features available can rapidly drive the cost per opening in many cases to unnecessary levels. With ever tightening budgets, the security professional must make a sober assessment of his or her facility’s unique needs and constraints in order to determine the best and most cost effective solution.

In late 2008, the Columbus Regional Airport Authority (CRAA) which includes the Port Columbus International Airport deployed the ASSA Concept 4 (C4) Access Control system at its Central Ohio locations.

The C4 system is comprised of high security locking cylinders incorporating the patented dual independent locking mechanism available in all ASSA Twin series products. Based on the Twin Maximum platform, the C4 system is listed under U.L. 437 for drill and pick resistance and is available in more than 2800 distinct proprietary keyways. Utilizing the CLIQTM technology, C4 systems feature a programmable micro chip in both the locking cylinder and the key. The key carries a small lithium battery which is the sole power source for both itself and the cylinder, eliminating the need for a power source at the opening.

ASSA can offer CLIQTM functions with any product in its high security retrofit cylinder offering including padlocks, cabinet locks, and large format removable core. The C4 key is designed to mate with a Twin Maximum mechanical cylinder on the same proprietary keyway thus enabling the electronic key to operate a mechanical cylinder as well. The CLIQTM firmware provides certain traditional electronic access control (EAC) system features such as audit trail, time scheduling, and credential expiration at a fraction of the cost of a hard wired online system.

The C4 system provides a transaction record with the time and date of every attempt at entry to an opening. The transactions are stored in both the lock and the key recording the unique key ID number, the name of the key holder attempting entry, and the result of the attempt, i.e. access or access denied.

Christopher Hinds, manager of airport operations and aviation security at CRAA, said “Currently we have the C4 system on specific administrative offices where sensitive materials are stored. The accountability of who has accessed the office is great.”

The audit trail record is retrieved from the lock using a special programming key. The transactions are downloaded to a software program via a simple plug-and- play programming device and are displayed on the computer in a spreadsheet format. A user’s key is interrogated by inserting it into the programming device and downloading the records directly into the computer database. Audit trails can be sorted, saved, printed, and even e-mailed.

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