Electronic and Electromagnetic Locks: Fail Secure Vs. Fail Safe

The access control system (ACS) is a set of specialized equipment and software designed to organize a system of control, accounting, registration and restriction of access for people and vehicles through the “access points” (doors, gates, checkpoints, etc.) in a given territory. The functions of the system are the identification and accounting of visitors, preventing unauthorized access to the object, ensuring the safety of personnel, material, and intellectual values. Additionally, the access control system can solve the problems of organizing the recording of working time, vehicles, parking places, interact with other security systems (video surveillance, security, and fire alarms) and other functions.

Electronic and electromagnetic locks: Fail Secure vs. Fail Safe

The electromagnetic locks and electronic locks are not the same. When we speak of an electronic lock, we refer to a mechanism that locks the door (like the pin of a traditional lock), and when we speak of an electromagnetic lock, we refer to a magnetized device that forces the closing of the door from the electric current.

An electromagnetic lock works from 2 pieces: on the one hand the electromagnet, which is placed in the frame of the door; and on the other side a metal sheet called a moving piece that is placed on the door. When circulating current, a magnetic field is generated that joins both pieces, and when the current stops working this field disappears, allowing to separate the pieces and open the door.

The main difference between Electronic Door Locks and electromagnetic locks answers the question: what happens when the light is cut off?

The electromagnetic locks are of the “Fail Safe” type which means that they are kept closed while there is an electric current, but before a cut in the supply the lock unlocks and the door remains open. Instead, the electronic locks work in the “Fail Secure” mode, and they operate oppositely: when there is no electricity they remain closed.

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The main difference is in which is the priority that is wanted to give before the power cut, already in the case of the “Fail Safe” locks, it is prioritized that people can leave since it could be an emergency. In the case of “Fail Secure,” the priority is to keep the place closed and secured, despite the power cut.

Therefore, the first significant problem with electromagnetic locks is that, in the event of a power cut, they would no longer be able to enter the building. Most models mitigate this problem by using a battery or UPS, which keeps the lock with electric current for several hours. However, in areas where power outages are often frequent or prolonged, it is a matter to be considered.

Beyond whether they are electromagnetic or Digital Lock for Doors, there are certain advantages that we should consider these types of locks. The main one is the ease with which you can write off lost or stolen keys. Since each key is unique and has identification, it suffices to eliminate from the system that lost a key or all those that belonged to the neighbors that are no longer and never returned.

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