Securing Glass Openings

Oct. 23, 2023

The transition from mechanical door locks to electrified openings continues to accelerate in the door security industry. The latest innovations make it more economically feasible and beneficial for property owners, facility managers, and security professionals to upgrade to keyless and electronic access control (EAC) using wireless and other technologies.

These advancements provide a much higher level of security, accountability, and access control efficiency. EAC data, for example, provides audit trails and information that integrate with key and asset management programs as well as building management software. Electrified hardware and EAC solutions are also now as practical for all-glass openings as they have been for hollow-metal and other traditional doorways.

Glass has long been a favorite material of architects and designers in construction, and there are many good reasons why. Glass brings elegance, light, comfort, and openness to a space. It is more durable and sustainable than most products, and it adds a sense of modernism that continues to stand the test of time. Openness and natural light in an office environment have been proven to boost mood, creativity and communication, which ultimately have a positive effect on productivity.

For retailers, it invites customers in with products on display and a peek into the store experience. In school settings, the benefit of increased daylighting and visibility helps connect students to others, nature, and the experiential environment, which can improve learning, behavior, and test scores. Glass in healthcare settings adds a pleasing and calming aesthetic to clinical environments, increasing interaction that helps promote healing.

Seamless Solutions

From the architect’s perspective, the goal is to create a seamless-looking glass environment. The challenge for designers as well as locksmiths is how to hang and swing glass doors using hardware that’s unobtrusive yet rugged; functionally robust yet minimal, and still stylish.

The call for more and larger glass materials in office, retail, and other spaces naturally means door rails, patch fittings, hydraulic hinges, and other glass door hardware must have the strength to safely hold and support heavier weight, comply with codes, and operate smoothly and reliably over the products’ lifetime. Along with dependable, robust functionality, stakeholders expect hardware to blend in seamlessly. This extends to mechanical and electrified components, too.

Electronic Access Control for Glass Openings

More and more electronic access control options are offered.  Auto operators, electric strikes, maglocks, wireless readers, and other electrified mechanisms for glass applications are available in sleeker profiles.

For instance, the SECURITRON R100 Aperio® surface-mounted, wireless card reader offers an elegant way to extend access control to interior glass, stone, granite, or marble entryways. It also eliminates the need for a separate pedestal. Installation is easy, requires no drilling or pulling of wires, and can adhere in minutesSurface-mounted solutions like this do a great job of harmonizing security with design.

While many of these solutions focus on interior glass doors, innovative upgrades for exterior glass doors are also available. Advancements include electric strikes for migrating from mechanical to electrified openings like HES 9100 and 9200 Series surface-mounted solutions that work with tubular, vertical rod exit devices.

The Adams Rite DL100 wireless deadlatch offers yet another affordable retrofit option for glass and aluminum stile doors. Other options for glass openings include touch-sensing and wave-to-open devices for operating electromagnetic locks to make egress easy for everyone, including those with mobility issues. 

For locksmiths, it’s important to embrace such digital technologies for glass openings as well as traditional doors. Gaining expertise in these solutions presents increased opportunities to expand your ability to help end users migrate to even higher levels of security and, as a result, grow your business.


An increasing number of end users, engineers, architects, and construction professionals worldwide believe sustainability is a high priority and are looking for sustainable attributes and listings when selecting building materials for their projects. That’s one of the reasons glass is more popular than ever. Along with being 100% recyclable, it doesn’t require repainting or heavy chemicals to clean and maintain. Insulated glass, for example, helps keep indoor temperatures more even and comfortable.

Demand for more sustainable building materials is also why more door hardware is being developed with sustainability fully in mind and manufactured with better and healthier ingredients to minimize environmental impact. Designing door security solutions (including glass hardware) that are more compact and lighter in weight helps make them safer to install, reduces packaging materials and carbon use during transportation, and means fewer materials that have to be recycled or scrapped.

Other notable advancements in electrified hardware include greater energy efficiency and automatic door openers that can generate and store their own power.

Proactive innovation and continuous improvement momentum are huge factors in why glass and other advanced door hardware is in ever higher demand. It’s what the industry expects today. We’re persistently working on extending the same type of functionality available for hollow metal door solutions to glass applications.

Glass manufacturers, of course, also continue to make strides in developing even more energy-efficient products. You’ll also be seeing them integrate new impact-resistant advancements to better protect against storm damage, intruders, and attacks.

All-glass design continues to grow. And the door security industry is well-positioned to forge ahead with new glass mechanical, electrified and electronic access control solutions right along with it.

Tyler Baker is Director of Business Development, Glass & Aluminum Solutions, ASSA ABLOY Door Security Solutions.