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Part 1: Access-Control: Hardware Includes Proximity Card/PIN Locks
By Thomas A. Westerkamp
May 2010 -
Doors & Hardware
Technology advances affect all areas of institutional and commercial facilities, and door hardware products are no exception. As a result, new-generation access-control technology, such as bar coding and proximity cards, affect both the way maintenance and engineering managers specify these products and the methods front-line technicians use to inspect and test them.
Effective access control is important to managers for many reasons, including: tighter facility security; lower insurance rates; more efficient operations; less theft and vandalism; and lower repair costs. Whether they plan to completely redesign the access- and egress-control system to achieve these benefits or add to the existing building, campus, or global system, many managers have found that proximity card/personal identification number (PIN) locks are one of the most versatile hardware components.
The identification (ID) card that actuates the lock contains a picture of the authorized user, a printed employee ID number, and the ID number in selected bar-code symbols. Authorized visitors or employees use a picture ID card to gain access by swiping the bar code near the card reader or entering a PIN code on the keypad.
These systems also read other forms of ID, such as fingerprints. Technicians can install wireless, single-door versions coded right at the keypad. The systems provide a time and date stamp for each use and enable monitoring from a personal computer.
Enterprise proximity card/PIN locks incorporate wired or wired/radio-frequency technology with computer-networked systems. They give system administrators control of thousands of doors with fully integrated access control, closed circuit television (CCTV), and alarm monitoring. They provide real-time, on-screen camera control, and system administrators can partition databases to separate visitor and employee records. They also can customize cards to allow access only during certain times of the day or for designated amounts of time.
Card-authentication systems use a watermark reader. User authentication for high-security areas occurs via an additional biometric — fingerprint — reader at a station near the door.
Finally, new hinge-closer-stopper technology integrates the action of the hinge, closer, and stopper in one unit. The components contained in the hinge control the door closing in three stages with a hydraulic cylinder and spring. In the first stage, the door swings shut for one-third of the arc. Then, the door slows to almost closed. Finally, the unit closes sharply to fully seal the door and hold it against the stop.
Door Hardware: New Technology Presents Challenges
Part 2: Door Hardware: ID-Card Lock Systems Require More Maintenance
Part 3: ID Cards Require Card-Making Equipment, Scanners, Printers
Part 4: PRODUCTS: Door Hardware