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Most typically perhaps is the common swinghandle which EMKA developed as a simple and practical way to provide secure access control with minimal protrusion from the door. This offers the safety benefits of a clean installation, which does not snag on clothes, as well as the leverage required to operate a normal multi-point rod lock mechanism for larger cabinets. Typically most industrial applications call for a glass reinforced polyamide escutcheon and handle for their excellent strength and corrosion resistance, coupled with good IP sealing at low cost. Where greater rigidity is desired, traditional zinc die versions are offered and for ultimate strength/corrosion resistance then stainless steel is usually the answer.
Over the years since EMKA originally developed this design, the full range of cylinder locks, railway and automotive locks, insert locks, multiple lock configurations, as well as digital lock and padlock provisions have been incorporated. This now means that EMKA’s swinghandle range extends over 9 different product series and many variants of each to ensure that customers can find exactly what they need in sealing levels and handle format to suit the specific application envisaged.
However, the wider demand for cabinet security can perhaps most easily be categorised as the following:
- Very low level – no access restriction but protection of personnel and equipment required – a simple wing knob latch may be sufficient.
- General access limited and equipment protection needed – a simple key system is needed – perhaps a quarter turn lock with a triangular key.
- Restricted access and equipment protection, but low value or risk – a higher security key system is appropriate – a profile cylinder key lock would be a suitable choice.
- Higher risk or value – perhaps requires an electronic mechanism.
- Very high risk/value e.g. data centres or utilities – a comprehensive logging/monitoring and control system is vital – remote accessibility may be best here e.g. via an encrypted internet link.
In turn these have an effect on usage of materials and the design concept. In this respect the trend is towards increasing sophistication – it’s no longer acceptable to open a control or data cabinet with a screwdriver if you don’t have the key! So where once a wing knob latch was sufficient, it is important to consider the need for keylocks – perhaps to IP65 or even IP69. Also, the option of vibration resistant compression locks which prevent nuisance door opening should be considered, as well as more complete gasket pull-down and consistently higher IP sealings.
The question is simply whether a compression facility is beneficial? Well certainly the anti-vibration role of these locks is excellent in preventing opening of panels such as on trucks, railway rolling stock gensets, aircon and heating and ventilating systems. The answer is increasingly “yes”.
Compression locks/latches are valuable in environments where health and safety are critical in that people must be protected from the equipment they are operating and sometimes even from themselves. This is often a high priority where parallel developments in hygiene regulations have led to more use of stainless steel and designs without cavities that are more easily cleaned – a move which has also led to increased use of high degrees of IP sealing to resist frequent high pressure washes.
Plastics are no longer in the dark ages and new generations of reinforced engineering grades enable tolerances to be reduced, leading to closer fitting, more robust assemblies which slide more easily with better operator feel and better sealing. These are now often the first port of call for corrosion resistant installations and so can frequently replace expensive metals.
Parallel developments continue elsewhere in enclosure hardware. For similar reasons – enhanced environmental requirements, cost and user friendliness – swinghandles are now produced with “O” rings and PUR seals giving excellent sealing for all applications. Glass reinforced polyamide was introduced as the industry developed slim, strong handle designs alongside stainless steel variants in AISI 304 or 316.
There are now a variety of advanced mechanical solutions such as interchangeable lock cylinders which can be removed and replaced at any point in the installation process. Innovation with regard to mainstream control and equipment cabinets or enclosures is exemplified in the 1325 swinghandle design. Along with a precision rod control system, the complete installation provides a quiet and robust operation resulting from optimal use of modern engineering plastics and manufacturing techniques.
On the question of sealing, there are now pre-cut, pre-assembled and vulcanised gaskets which are installation-ready without messy cutting and gluing which has significant positive implications for sealing levels. EMC gaskets are mainstream, while a major demand has been identified for fire protection and high temperature gaskets in EPDM and silicone.
With the increasing use of technologically driven solutions in all fields of industry, the need for basic physical security in the data storage industries is expanding rapidly and the new biometric/digital/card based systems are finding their way “down” to levels where once a cheaper ¼ turn lock “would do”, but is no longer considered appropriate.
In most high security locations security problems begin with the fact that keys and key cards can become separated from their authorised users. Any key or key card that is forgotten, lost, stolen, or otherwise separated from an authorised user represents a potential, undetected security breach. In addition, the greater the number of keys and key cards in a given environment, the greater the possibility of unauthorised access to physical systems or data assets.
Because threats to data security are internal to organisations as well as external, securing physical access to server cabinets and core industrial control installations is essential. That’s why corporations, military units and intelligence communities rely on EMKA-Digitus Biometrics, and stemming from this partnership there is now a full and free catalogue on the EMKA-Digitus range of electronic and biometric locking systems. This includes a flexible solution set for server-cabinet access control, with options for biometrics, proximity cards, smartcards, and PINs, including single- and dual-factor authentication, ideally suited to large manufacturing and utility installations.
Featuring built-in audit trails, these lock systems automatically document every event – including which cabinets have been accessed, when they were accessed and which individual gained access. They feature multi-factor authentication capable of combining keycard, biometric, RFID smartcard and PIN inputs, seamless enterprise access control integration and freedom to manage the system through a central software platform. This ensures convenience for both system administrators and end-users, built-in audit trail to meet regulatory compliance standards for physical access control and minimal hardware footprint within server cabinets.
In these applications there is a vital need for accurate and reliable access logs and for deterrence from unauthorised ingress/vandalism/ theft of data – and this is where the BioLock, using state-of-the-art fingerprint recognition in conjunction with PIN codes and RFID access cards, provides an extremely high 3 level security protection. This may be applied on an individual cabinet or on a designated block of cabinets with, for example, a group controller supplemented with separate cabinet release protocols. Multiple releases of separate panels on individual cabinets are catered for by means of linked ELock slave units.
For more information, please visit: https://www.emka.com/uk_en/company/
About the author:
Coming from an electrical background where Andy worked at various companies in the panel industry mainly problem solving, he found an interest in selling. His next move was to join EMKA as a Technical Sales Engineer where this experience allowed him to develop into Technical Manager. Further career development lead to the role of Sales Manager which in turn made him the ideal candidate to take over as the company MD when the previous one retired. Andy has now run EMKA UK for the last 12 years which he has enjoyed as the team continues to mature in both ability and age.
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