What can locksmiths look for when it comes to new products in the near future? What will be the trends that stand out? Will they be end-user or channel influenced? Locksmiths will be pleased to learn that much of what is happening in the door and hardware industry is focused on how to make their jobs easier, including how to more easily future-proof today’s investment.
Here’s an example of an innovation making the actual installation and maintenance of a product much easier. Consider the use of a vertical cable system versus rods in exit devices. Enclosed cable technology has been extensively used on automotive braking and transmission systems, aeronautical prop adjustment and throttle and pitch control systems as well as on recreation vehicles such as bicycles, motorcycles and boats for years. Why not bring this proven, durable technology to door hardware?
Instead of installing and adjusting vertical rods, the installer simply inserts and secures a flexible cable latching system into the door before the exit device is installed. Once the latches are secured in the top and bottom of the door, the user would install the exit device and quickly attach it to the cable latching system. During the entire installation process, only one point of adjustment would be required.
Such an innovation addresses the frustrations that installers and their maintenance peers have come to accept with traditional vertical rod systems. By eliminating the trigger mechanism typically found at the top of the frame, a vertical cable system significantly reduces the time and maintenance required to make adjustments when compared to installing a traditional vertical rod system. Instead of having to move adjustment screws in and out repeatedly, the user only tightens the screw at the point of attachment to ensure that the concealed vertical cable system is properly installed. Installers can even adjust the height of the bottom latch while the door is hanging.
Going a step further, door and hardware professionals can even order a door solution that includes such a concealed vertical cable system factory installed in an L-Series door.
In the Very Near Future
Future-proofing the investment in today’s products is good for both the facility locksmith and the independent locksmith. Without sacrificing what is already installed to add to features, the facility locksmith furthers the payback on his original investment. Plus, this creates a new revenue stream for the independent locksmith. It’s a win-win for all locksmiths.
What do we mean by this? With a highly configurable product design, locksmiths could evolve openings with retrograde kits. For instance, wouldn’t it be nice to convert an existing exit device with electronic latching to quiet latch retraction where sound reduction is important, such as in a hospital or church? In schools, how about adding a classroom security indicator to a presently-installed double cylinder or thumb turn option? What about easily migrating the present mechanical trim to electronic trim and later converting that to an all-in-one lock/reader that uses proximity cards and, down the road, changing it to read smart cards?
That’s what we mean by saying new products are being designed with the locksmith in mind.
Cindy Mitchell is director of marketing services, Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies