Awesome Application Awards: ASSA ABLOY’s EcoFlex Wins Access Control Category

The inaugural project winners spread across five categories — Access Control, Fire/Life Safety, Video Surveillance, Miscellaneous and Special Category.

A major financial corporation with offices worldwide required high security monitoring for its many sites’ access control openings. The corporation turned to ASSA ABLOY, particularly piqued by the manufacturer’s newly released EcoFlex mortise lock, but not moving forward until doing its due diligence. At the request of the client (which wishes to remain anonymous) and its security director, the company’s security consultant first approached ASSA ABLOY in April 2014 to obtain EcoFlex samples.

“When the project started, the client had historically used a competitor’s solution so there was additional internal review/testing process required in order for the solution to be approved,” says Benjamin Williams, technical applications manager, security consultant relations, ASSA ABLOY.

Some of the corporation’s sites were new projects and some were retrofit upgrades to existing sites, says Williams. The project was centered on global standards impacting any current and future projects, Williams says.

RELATED: What Are the Awesome Application Awards? Who Are the Other Winners?

Initially the client started investigating ASSA ABLOY’s Sargent brand EcoFlex lock because it was voltage insensitive (it operates from 12-24V) and field configurable to fail-safe or fail-secure operation in order to simplify servicing and deploying electronic access control projects, Williams explains. As projects often do, as time went on the scope of this one changed – to include additional products and processes that would provide for a fault-tolerant and consistently repeatable solution regardless of where and by whom it was being installed, he says. In this case, though, the changes proved serendipitous to the manufacturer.

“The request to expand the scope resulted in ASSA ABLOY uncovering an inherent need in the market for electronic lock manufacturers to incorporate end-of-line resistors into the functionality of the locking devices,” Williams notes. “Not only did this ensure a consistent solution at all locations globally, it also provided the most comprehensive monitoring by placing the end-of-line resistors at the furthest end point.”

Williams says he and the product manager spent much of the next 10 months in close collaboration with the financial corporation’s security consultant and security director via face-to-face meetings and conference calls to continue collecting feedback. And after the physical installation finally got underway this past February (it was completed in April), the manufacturer earned even more dividends while weighing deployment.

“It was during this project that through installer error we uncovered the opportunity to solve another problem for the end client by integrating end-of-line resistor monitoring into the core functionality of the lock and its integrated monitoring options,” says Williams (the integrator has since been replaced).

The resulting application highlighted – along with the end-of-line resistors – EcoFlex’s Request to Exit (REX) and Integrated Door Position (IDP) switch technology. ASSA ABLOY says the patent-pending IDP option adds a true earth magnet door position switch that is wired in series with dead-latch and latchbolt switches to provide three-factor monitoring indicating the door is closed, latched and secure. Other technology from ASSA ABLOY included its McKinney brand hinges and harnesses featuring ElectroLynx, a universal quick-connect system that it says simplifies the electrification of the door opening. Existing site standards also maintained implementation of Allegion’s Schlage cylinders, keys and mortise locks, which were blended with the EcoFlex locks.

“The installers were so accustomed to the old product that in addition to a training video we provided, a hands-on training session was also required to ease the installation process,” Williams says of the manufacturer’s extensive involvement. “Subsequently, commissioning devices such as the WT-2 Wiegand tester were modified to support testing the end-of-line resistor values in the field without the need for a fully commissioned access control system; this allowed the installer to verify the functionality of each lock’s features prior to moving on to the next opening.”

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