Many of us are familiar with the concept of Access Control, thanks to using it daily as we enter and exit our place of work with a swipe card, fob or pin code. The simplicity of waving a card or fob, or tapping in a few numbers, then the electric locks in the door releasing to let us in or out is great! How often have you stopped to think about how it all works?
Access Control, at the most basic level, is simply controlling who has access to a building. In that sense we all employ access control every time we lock our home! In the broader sense, Access Control refers to the systems used to control access to and within commercial premises. There are a number of components in an access control system, and such systems can be standalone i.e. applying to one door only, or building wide e.g. within a hospital, large office complex or school.
In the main, the key components of an access control system are a proximity reader or keypad, a control unit and an electric locking system. Depending on the size and complexity of the system there may be multiples of each of these elements.
Once a system is created, and access permissions granted to users via a card, fob or pin code, you still need to be able to open the door to let them in or out! This is where the electric locks come in to play. When the control unit receives a signal from the prox reader or keypad saying 'this is a permitted user', it will then send a message to the electric lock or electric strike release to say 'open'.
There are of course a wide range of electric locks available. Lets take a look at some of them! (Click on the titles to see our current ranges.)
Magnetic Locks, or MagLocks, are a familiar sight to many. These are electromagnets, and work by holding the door closed until a signal is received to release the magnet. They can be used internally or externally, and also have a variant known as a shear lock, which feature bolts that extend into the lock as well as the magnetic force, giving an additional layer of security.
These locks operate by withdrawing the bolt from the keep (the part in the door frame) when the electrical signal changes to make this happen. They are often combined with a cylinder lock allowing for a key to be used to secure the lock e.g. overnight when the building is locked up. They are available as both mortice locks (fitted in to the door) and rim locks (sit on the surface of the door).
These operate in a similar way to the electric door locks above, but don't have any additional mechanical locking element. They do offer a greater degree of installation flexibility as they can be installed horizontally or vertically (in the side or in the top of the door).
These are fitted in the door frame rather than in the door, and work by releasing the bolt from the keep or strike plate when the signal is received to do so. Again these can be morticed into the door frame, or sit on the frame in partnership with a rim lock. There are also options available for use with uPVC doors.
Which type of lock is best for your system will depend on factors such as the type of door it is to be fitted to, whether it is an internal or external door, and whether you need to be able to lock it manually at any time. We have a wide range of electric locks, door openers and Access Control Systems here at LocksOnline - take a look on the links below, and feel free to get in touch for a more detailed discussion on your requirements too!