Airport Security Solution, No Wires Attached

Oct. 2, 2014
eCylinders offer audit control and peace of mind at Roanoke Blacksburg Regional Airport

Few places in this nation are more secure and employ more entry audit controls than an airport. When Roanoke Blacksburg Regional Airport, Va., needed to increase key control, airport officials found an ideal retrofit solution with Medeco eCylinders.

 “At the airport we come under federal mandates as to access control issues,Within those mandates are time constraints on how quickly keying problems are resolved. With our mechanical system it was very time intensive to make a fix and put it in place. It took a lot of man hours,” explains ,” Roanoke Blacksburg Regional Airport Sergeant Tony Agee.

Lost keys, especially master keys in tiered mechanical systems, can create weeks of headaches for security professionals. In the past, Sgt. Agee and others had only two choices.

Choice number 1: Live with the traditional mechanical locking systems already installed, retain minimal audit controls and accountability, and spend days and weeks rekeying when an employee inevitably loses his or her key.

 “When someone would lose a master key, we would have to change 70, 80, 90 locks,” Sgt. Agee said. “And to change a lock you have to physically pull the core out of a lock, take it to a pinning station, pull all the pins, re-pin it and reinstall. Of course once all the locks were installed, then you had to change your database and issue new keys. It was a huge undertaking to do all that and people being what they are… they lose keys.”

Choice number 2: Hire construction laborers, tear into every door, cabinet and gate, retrofit all existing hardware, run wiring to each door in your facility and install an Electronic Access Control (EAC) system.

Medeco’s eCylinder solutions put an end to choosing between status-quo and a costly measure that not every organization has the resources to install.

 “Our eCylinders were the same as the small format cores that we were already using,” Sgt. Agee says. “To install them, all I do is pop the old core out, stick the new eCylinder core in and we’re good to go. Everything else remains the same ‑ housing, hardware, handles… everything is the same.”

eCylinders combine the functionality of a mechanical system with the electronic audit controls of an EAC system. “A three-minute installation allows you to hand out keys that don’t work until you need them to, for only as long as needed, can expire when you need them to and leave an audit trail with every eCylinder they open,” Medeco eCylinders Vice President Joseph Kingma says. “Simply put, they dramatically enhance accountability and represent the next-generation master key system.”

Combining a seemingly mechanical locking system with the auditing controls and scheduling of an EAC system makes the eCylinder ideal for sensitive areas that benefit from audit, scheduling and streamlined electronic rekeying. Organizations choose the system to protect employee records, secure storage or display areas, reduce financial and records loss, secure information technology and network resources, control access to hazardous materials, secure gates and perimeter fencing, track employee activities, and manage loading dock and delivery areas.

 “Because our system can be installed using an organization’s existing mechanical locks, there is no need for construction work on door openings, hiring electricians and running wire,” Kingma adds.

Sgt. Agee found that benefit most useful when tasked with securing the hundreds of acres that make up the Roanoke Blacksburg Regional Airport footprint.

“We now have eCylinders on all of our locks in virtually everything, including the padlocks on the perimeter fence line. Every time you stick a key in a door or gate, it records that event, whether you had access or not, whose key was used, what time of day, what day of the week. You have a much higher level of accountability,” Sgt. Agee says.

UNC Charlotte

That high level of accountability is one of the features that attracted University of North Carolina Charlotte to the eCylinder solution.

 “The question we faced was do we invest more money in more mechanical or not,” UNC Charlotte Locksmith Supervisor Nathan DelCamp says. “We did have a lot of mix scenarios on campus and we decided to consolidate into one campus wide solution and the eCylinder system proved to be the answer we were looking for.”

DelCamp began the first installation of eCylinders on the UNCC campus in 2009 and the locking systems are now installed with every new building that goes up. “We needed a solution that offered a rekeying solution that was simple, while increasing audit controls. When you take into consideration all of the students, faculty and staff on campus, we update locks on a daily basis.”

eCylinders provided a campus wide solution with no construction or wiring required. Today Medeco’s system can be found in study rooms, student lounges, administrative buildings and student housing. Medeco’s answer to an audit centric locking system that was easy to install and quick to update was ultimately the best decision for the campus.

 “It is basically a plug-and-play kind of thing and that is what initially caught our eye, but we have also seen drastic improvements to our audit controls and that has proved to be invaluable. In the past we had some audit availability, but not everywhere and sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. We don’t ever have that problem anymore,” says DelCamp. 

Throughout the lifetime of any given organization keys are continually lost, transferred and stolen. At any moment in any given industry, an unknown number of people have access to facilities they should not be entering. Medeco’s eCylinders are a 21st century solution that offers security and peace of mind, no wires attached.