Technology changes the way we do things in many areas of our lives. The old lock and key way of securing access to doors has been around for hundreds of years and shows no signs of disappearing anytime soon; however, electrical locking systems are gaining in popularity in business premises.
It is hardly surprising that we are turning to technology, as losing your keys can have serious consequences. Technology allows electrical control components to be used to allow access in a secure, safe, convenient and auditable way via either keypads or card readers.
The basic function of a lock is, of course, to keep premises secure. This is no different with an electric lock; however, what is different is how the lock behaves in the event of failure.
Electric locks can be set to fail safe – the doors are unlocked if the power fails – to enable people to escape the room or building. Alternatively, they can be set to fail secure – to remain locked when the power goes off. The latter will usually need some kind of manual override to allow people to escape. Battery backed systems are also common to keep doors secure in the event of the mains failing.
Types of lock
When it comes to how electric locks operate, there are two main types of mechanism. The first is electromagnetic locks, which use a powerful magnet to hold the door closed and can be set to fail in either safe or secure ways. As they rely on magnets, they can be vulnerable to tampering.
More common are strike locks. These are essentially conventional mechanical locks but are operated electrically using components from a company such as Osmelectrical. Again they can fail in either mode and can be fitted with a conventional key or other override for use in emergencies.
When it comes to operating the lock, wireless systems are gaining in popularity. These have the advantage that they can be battery powered and are therefore not reliant on the mains, which also means easier installation in older buildings.
Other common operation methods are the use of a card or token, or a keypad that requires users to enter a code. Which system is chosen really depends on the user’s requirements for security and how many people will need access.