The Basics of Security Door Hardware

Usually, a building’s doors are thought of as the main security feature. While doors are, indeed, a major factor, they are only part of a carefully-thought of and well-designed security system. A complete security system includes the frame, the door, the door handle, hinges, the closure, as well as the locking mechanism. A lock system is mainly designed to inhibit unauthorized entry or exit to or from an area. 

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Door locks and keys are the key elements of a security system. Mechanical locks, like Baldwin hardware are designed so that its tumblers won’t function unless properly aligned. The pin tumbler is the most usual system used by architects and builders. The keys are easily replaced when lost, and are easily copied. Restricted keyways are also available through most key manufacturers, but be careful of expiring patents. A door lock can be circumvented or picked relatively easily if someone is experienced with locking mechanisms. Other types of locks include deadbolt, rim mounted mortise, tubular, padlock, or cylindrical.

Trends in Door and Security Hardware

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The trend in security hardware is definitely inclining toward electronic systems, because of heightened security awareness. While most installations still require keys, electronic systems are being set up where security is an absolute must. Proper assessment must be held to identify what level of security is required, and to identify the most cost-effective system for this protection. One major aspect to remember in using electronic systems is to ensure an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) for these electronic-locking systems.

A lot of institutions have evolved to electronic systems. A card-style system’s data is entered electronically, blocking or controlling unauthorized access to specific areas, or controlling times of access. The data can be easily updated if the cards are stolen or lost. Cards can also be issued on a temporary basis, and they automatically time out.

Various card styles include:

  • Hollerith cards, which are typically used in hotels. The card is inserted into the slot, and the lock disengages after referencing registration information.
  • Proximity cards, which have embedded microcircuits that give off frequencies detectable by a reader within 2 to 5 inches.
  • Smart cards, or are the cards of the future. They have their own processor, and they can store large amounts of data.
  • Biometric cards, which match claimed identities on the basis of unique biometric characteristic of the individual, including handprints, fingerprints, eye pattern, voice, handwriting, face, and even vein identification (the newest).

Door hardware is often overlooked. The door hinge in secure areas need to have non-removable pins installed, including a hardened set screw. These hinges should have 3-inch screws that screw deep into the studs of the doorframe. Guard plates may also be recommended in areas to inhibit tampering with the locking mechanism, and thus getting unauthorized entry.

It is very important to remember that a secure door system should consist of a combination of mechanical and electronic locking devices. Your vulnerability is determined by your weakest link.


pandya is an international development specialist and author of several publications on socio economic development. pandya is a regular contributor to online article sites on the topics of on line education, underserved peoples, scholarship and educational excellence.

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