Mag Lock Attractions: When, Where, How?

The type of door and frame, the swing of the door, and the adjacent walls and ceilings factor into the selection of the proper maglock.

The swing of the door is one of the first concerns. If the door is a means of egress (is there an EXIT sign above it?) and the door is not outswinging, there may be a problem right there. I recommend you call the LAHJ and confer with your client before you proceed.

Generally speaking, any door in the means of egress must open in the direction of egress. Whenever I encounter an inswinging egress door, it indicates to me that the occupancy of the building may have changed from when it was first built, and the floor plan has been modified, perhaps without filing the plans and obtaining a building permit.

You are not doing anyone any favors trying to conceal a violation, and you are looking for big trouble installing hardware on a non-compliant door. As a matter of fact, your having been on-site could implicate you if ever an accident involving the door were to ever happen.

Aside from the life safety issue, it is possible to install a maglock on either the push or pull side of a door with the correct hardware.

Next, the amount of flat surface on the header for the secure mounting of the electromagnetic lock must be addressed. Each maglock has its own requirement. The bracketry you will need to use will depend on the profile of header.

Also the presence of a blade stop in the frame must be dealt with. The least attractive solution would be to cut the blade stop out of the frame.

There are two parts to an electromagnetic lock - the magnet (fixed portion of the lock which is mounted on the stationary frame) and the armature, which attaches to the door or gate.

For solid wood or metal doors, there is usually no problem with drilling through the door and installing the Sex bolt typically used for mounting an electromagnetic lock armature.

If you are installing on a full Herculite door, you will need a special bracket. Some manufacturers also have special adhesives available for these occasions. If you are installing on a gate, you may need adapters for mounting on the gate.

For aluminum storefront doors, you may be confronted with a top rail which is too narrow for the centerline of the sex bolt, or there may be an obstruction (specifically a threaded rod which extends through the width of the top of the door frame which is holding the door together) in the way. Many manufacturers offer adapters and workaround solutions for all these situations.


Features (options)

Conduit fittings: These are used for situations such as outdoor installations on gates, and also on interior frames which are in block walls and or concrete frames.

High/low profile: Maglocks vary in height from manufacturer to manufacturer. The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) requires a clear opening of 80” high and 32” wide. Therefore figure all this in when planning your project.

Door Status Monitor: This is usually an optional feature. Since the sensor is built into the maglock, it saves you the labor and expense of providing an additional door position sensor component.

Bond Sensor: This is another optional feature used for higher security applications. The bond sensor sends a signal that indicates that a magnetic bond exists between the armature and the face of the electromagnetic lock. Be aware that if your access control system specifies a door position sensor for timing purposes, a bond sensor is not a suitable substitution. For example if your system controller will relock the door when the door position sensor indicates the access (or REX) event has been completed, a bond sensor might prevent the door from ever relocking. The bond sensor would be used for security and in addition to the Door Position Sensor.

Timer: An integral timer circuit might be useful for your design. When the power is cut to the maglock then re-applied, the timer keeps the maglock unlocked for whatever delay you have it set for. This is not useful or appropriate in all scenarios.

Integral Motion Sensor: Having a motion sensor integrated into the maglock makes for a more streamlined installation and eliminates the labor and expense of another component on the bill of materials. Most Life Safety Codes require that a maglock-equipped door open by the movement of the person towards the opening. This requires a motion sensor. This device is referred to as REX motion sensor, and there are a variety of these products available.

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