Electronic-Locking Technology Improves Access Control and Reporting Capabilities
Issue: November 2012, Posted Date: 11/12/2012
Author(s): Steve Bush, Managing Editor
"New security and compliance requirements have led manufacturers to electronic locking solutions to overcome the challenges their customers face with mechanical key management," Southco's Steve Spatig tells New Equipment Digest.
Southco Inc.'s electronic locking systems are smarter than the average electronic lock, according to Southco general manager Steve Spatig.
"Unlike traditional electronic locks, Southco incorporates intelligence into its locking mechanisms for additional functionality and communication with external systems," Spatig explains in an interview with New Equipment Digest.
NED: What motivated Southco to develop this line of products?
SS: Southco has provided mechanical engineered access solutions for over 60 years and is known as a global leader to the many industries we serve. When our customers came to us looking for the same level of security and convenience they have experienced with automotive and building electronic access solutions, we formed a team dedicated to assisting our customers with this transition.
New security and compliance requirements have led manufacturers to electronic locking solutions to overcome the challenges their customers face with mechanical key management.
Electronic locking solutions, like Southco’s H3-EM Electronic Locking Swinghandle with Integrated Proximity Reader, improve access control and reporting capabilities by providing an electronic signature each time an enclosure is accessed, eliminating the need for physical key management and improving security administration.
NED: How are these products different from similar ones on the market today?
SS: Southco leverages our expertise in mechanism design to create the most efficient electromechanical solutions.
Southco’s electronic locks provide a secure closure against high mechanical loads but require minimal electrical power to operate.
Unlike traditional electronic locks, Southco incorporates intelligence into its locking mechanisms for additional functionality and communication with external systems. Rather than simply adding a solenoid to an existing mechanism, our products are designed as a complete integration of the mechanical and electronic systems.
Southco can provide everything from simple electronic locking solutions to be used with an existing control system, to complete solutions including electronic locks, access control and remote monitoring. We offer flexible platforms that are adaptable to the requirements of any application, allowing simplified installation and integration with a variety of enclosures and control systems.
NED: What problems needed to be addressed during the development process?
SS: When developing our electronic locking solutions, Southco faced general challenges in the complexity of electronics; mainly in combining a mechanical system with an electronic system while maintaining optimum efficiencies and functionality. Integration of electronic actuation with mechanical solutions requires an in-depth understanding of the mechanics and dynamics of mechanical and electronic systems.
For example, determining how much mechanical load our mechanism could operate against while requiring a minimal input of electrical energy. Packaging this combination of technologies into the smallest platform and providing a solution that could be installed in any enclosure configuration were key concerns in the development process.
NED: What effect did cost factors have in changing the final design of the product?
SS: Southco leverages design platforms through our global manufacturing footprint and centers of excellence to optimize the quality of our products while minimizing manufacturing and logistics costs.
NED: Who is your target audience and what benefits will they achieve from using these products?
When designing a new solution, Southco focuses on the end user of our customer’s end product. Though our electronic locks are only a small component of a customer’s complete product, by focusing on the needs of the end user—who will be securing and accessing an enclosure—we make a larger impact.
Southco’s electronic locking solutions provide a key benefit for marketing personnel to build into their overall marketing message, as our products act as the interface or “touch point” that the end user will ultimately experience.
We also target engineers with the inherent ease of integration and optimum functionality of our products across many applications. Additionally, the extensive testing that every Southco product endures before being released to the market is valued by manufacturing and quality personnel, who appreciate the versatility and ease of installation, as well as the overall quality designed into the products.
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