Securing Storefronts with Electromagnetic Locks

Oct. 3, 2016
Securitron's M62 Series and Alarm Control Corp's 1200D and 1200S electromagnetic locks can do the job

Most locksmiths work with all types of locks on all types of doors. Electromagnetic locks are a relatively new electric lock category. Irving Saperstein recognized as the inventor of the electromagnetic lock and the founder of Locknetics in 1969. The mother of invention was the need for a failsafe electric locking device. In the realm of door hardware and locking systems, failsafe means when power is removed, the locking device unlocks. Electromagnetic locks are failsafe because the immediately unlock when power to them is removed, and with a conventional maglock there is no mechanical latches or interlocking involved. The safe design of the systems which control the lock is different and of vital importance, but not within the scope of this article.

My earliest recollection of maglocks was Locknetics products on storefront type doors on Long Island. I was doing low voltage locking and access control projects for a locksmith, and his biggest account was an industrial park which had many commercial buildings.

This market had a strong demand for maglocks on the main entry doors to control locking and unlocking on the building’s schedule. This would eliminate the need for the management company to send someone to each building to unlock the building in the morning and relock the building at the end of the day.

Leaving main doors unlocked after hours and on weekends is an invitation for criminal activity and represents a foreseeable liability to building owners. You do not have to strain your brain to imagine the types of problems associated with letting unauthorized individuals into multi-story buildings.

Tenants who required after hours access had to use another door, one with a conventional storeroom lock and key to come and go.

The tenants would not have to bend over to reach the floor bolts, nor would they be relied upon to relock the doors after hours. We used time clocks for opening and closing and request-to-exit buttons for use by those still within the premises after closing in order for them to egress.

The building owners loved the idea of a illuminated indicator on the outside of each building which would light when the doors were locked, enabling the roaming security officer in the industrial park to determine the building’s locked status without having to get out of the vehicle and physically check each opening. These openings were primarily aluminum storefronts.

Many years later I would be involved in a big project which involved thousands of openings, many of which were storefronts, when New York City passed a law requiring card access into retail banks that had ATMs in the lobby. Electromagnetic locking systems were the favorite solution because the overwhelming majority of banks had no electric locking in place, and the architectural features of each bank varied greatly.

During the decades since electromagnetic locks were introduced, the industry has responded with all sorts of solutions for mounting them, especially to storefronts.

Although this article focuses on Securitron and Alarm Controls products, the reader should be aware that this is for illustrative purposes, since these manufacturers’ products are representative of all electromagnetic locking products. Taking into consideration the warrantees, UL Listings pricing and product features of other products, the reader should feel free to select whatever best suits the particular application.

When you about to perform an electromagnetic lock installation, do yourself and your client a big favor and carefully plan the control system for the lock the physical mounting, and how you will wire of the lock.

Securitron has emerged from a crowded market of maglock manufacturers with an extensive selection of maglocks and mounting accessories as well as power supplies and door control systems and as part of ASSA ABLOY, as a sister company to HES. Securitron offers the following tips for specifying and installing maglocks.

Securitron M62 Series

The M62 is a strong, easy-to-maintain solution for interior, perimeter and exterior access control. With unsurpassed durability, the M62 will last long after most buildings wear out. Flexible mounting options support applications for hollow metal, concrete filled metal, wood, or glass with aluminum frames, and Herculite doors. Options include single and double door configurations, or specialty applications such as gates and fences. Holding force is 1200 pounds.

Product Features:

  • Patented instant release circuit - no residual magnetism
  • Fully sealed electronics - tamper proof and weatherproof
  • Surface mounts easily with minimal tools
  • Mounted using steel machine screws into blind finishing nuts
  • Architectural brushed stainless steel finish (US32D/630)
  • All ferrous metal surfaces plated to MIL specification
  • Hardware accessories available to configure any opening
  • Dress Covers available
  • Ten feet [3.05m] of jacketed, stranded conductor
  • Automatic dual voltage - no field adjustment required
  • Lock options include BondSTAT magnetic bond sensor, integrated door position switch, conduit fitting, double and face mount models
  • Universal threaded conduit fitting is 1/2" female - 3/4" male
  • Split Strike Plates and Offset Strike Plates available
  • UL Listed
  • MagnaCare® lifetime replacement, no fault warranty


  • Holding Force: 1200 lbs. [544 kg]
  • Current Draw and Voltage: 250mA at 12VDC; 150mA at 24VDC
  • Operating Temperature: -40 to +140F [-40 to +60C]
  • Shipping Weight: 11 lbs.

More Info:

Mounting Accessories

Here is a listing of maglock mounting accessories offered by Securitron with those especially useful for storefronts listed first==

Offset Strike Plate: Alters the position of the mounting hole by 1/4" [6mm]. This is often required to clear the glass on aluminum frame store front doors. There is also a reinforcing rod in the top channel of aluminum doors which can be in the way of installing the sex bolt typically used to attach the armature of the electromagnetic lock to the top rail of the door.

Accessories for Glass Door Installations: HEB-3G allows for Magnalock installation on all-glass header when used with AKG

• GDB permits strike plate installation on a solid glass door

• AKG permanently bonds to the glass using a special industrial adhesive

• Strike Plate screws into the bracket, as glass doors cannot be drilled

• Use HEB-3G with M32, M62,3" x3" x8" with specially milled back

Aluminum Spacer Bracket: Use when a blade stop requires the Magnalock to be lowered. • Comes pre-drilled for the mounting bolts and wire and provides a blind nut for surface installation of strike.

Concrete/Wood Bracket: Used on wood or concrete filled metal frames to provide a concealed wire chambler.

Split Strikes/Replacement Strike Plate: This allows a single M32, M62 or M82 Magnalock to secure a double door at traffic control holding force level

Z Bracket Kits: Use on in-swing doors with Magnalock "F" options (8-1/2" overall length) Provides 1-1/4" of lateral movement to accommodate most openings and allows for precision adjustments (2-1/4"to 3-1/2" from door/header) • Includes an oversized dress cover

Energy Absorbing Sex Bolt: This product provides additional protection and shock absorption to augment holding force when a door experiences dynamic forces such as kicks or repeated blows. It is most often used in mental health care and detention ancillary or administrative doors, and perimeter doors and for high-security applications on inflexible doors

This product replaces the standard Sex Bolt and contains a powerful internal spring that absorbs and dissipates the force of a blow

Sex Bolt Replacement: Replaces armature plate sex bolt for M32, M38, M62, M68, and M82B Magnalocks

TDK-1 Accessory For Thick Doors: Provides replacement screws so armature plates for the M32, M62, M82, M38 and M68 can be used on doors thicker than 1-3/4", and up to 3"

Dress Covers and Double Dress Covers: Use single dress covers with M32, M62, and M82 • Install using foam adhesive tape . Use double dress covers with a pair of Magnalocks on a double door separated by no more than 2" (Not for use with the DM62 Magnalock)

Full Length Housings: Vertical or horizontal configurations Fit one or two locks (not included) These come in Single Left Hand Reverse and Single Right Hand Reverse

Alarm Controls 1200 Series

Alarm Controls Corp. is another ASSA ABLOY company active in the electromagnetic locking sector. We will first discuss the Alarm Controls Model 1200D electromagnetic lock.

Product Features include:

  • Bond sensor and door status sensor signals a powered and securely locked door
  • Bi-colored (red & green) status LED
  • Self drilling TEC screws
  • Built-in arc suppression
  • E-Z mount system, no special tools required
  • Non-aluminum parts are plated to resist corrosion
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Product Options
  • Clear anodized, (US28) finish standard
  • Duranodic finish available


  • 1200 lbs holding force
  • Magnet size: 21" L x 2-7/8" H x 1-1/2" W
  • Armature size: 7-1/2" L x 2-7/8" H x 1-1/2" W
  • Operates on 12 or 24 VDC, switch selectable
  • Low current draw: 400 mA at 12 VDC, 200 mA at 24 VDC
  • Operating temperature: +14 to +131F [-10 to +55C]
  • UL and Canadian UL listed, R16759
  • SPDT 3A relay contacts

More Info:

Another option is the Alarm Controls 1200S. Features include:

  • Instant release, no hysteresis
  • Can be used with any access control system
  • Self drilling TEC screws
  • Built-in arc suppression
  • E-Z mount system, no special tools required
  • Non-aluminum parts are plated to resist corrosion
  • Limited lifetime warranty


  • 1200 lbs holding force
  • Magnet size: 10-1/2" L x 2-7/8" H x 1-1/2" W
  • Armature size: 7-3/8" L x 2-3/8" H x 9/16" W
  • Operates on 12 or 24 VDC, switch selectable
  • Low current draw: 400 mA at 12 VDC, 200 mA at 24 VDC
  • Operating temperature: +14 to +131F [-10 to +55C]
  • UL and Canadian UL listed, R16759

Product Options:

Clear anodized, (US28) finish standard

Duranodic finish available

Dress covers in polished chrome and brass are available

More Info:

About the Author

Tim O'Leary

Tim O'Leary is a security consultant, trainer and technician who has also been writing articles on all areas of locksmithing & physical security for many years.