The benefits of going mechatronic

Just as there are applications where mechanical lock cylinders are the perfect solution, there are situations where anything other than an electronic locking system would be impractical. Both options have pros and cons, but there is a third option – a combined mechatronic system that’s ideal for challenging environments where security is paramount.

Mechatronics, as the name suggests, combines mechanical and electronic security to deliver secure solutions that go beyond what either discipline could offer alone. They allow flexibility, control and ability to audit movement within buildings. Importantly, they also don’t require extensive wiring or complex installation. The keys are powered by nothing more than standard coin cell batteries.

Adaptable and configurable

One of the major advantages of a mechatronic system is its adaptability. It’s easy, for example, to delete a key from the system. It is also possible to allow timed permissions to a key or a cylinder adding flexibility in control to traditional master key systems.

Access2 has recently introduced a new mechatronic solution, Tigris® ePro which has been developed by leading Czech security specialists Tokoz. Tigris® ePro can be used for securing everything from doors to portable equipment and vehicles and combines the best electronic innovation with the benefits and modularity of a mechanical system. Locks cylinders have all the features you would expect in a top-quality product. They are anti-pick, anti-bump, anti-hook, anti-drill and have high resistance to lock snapping. When you add those qualities to easy programming and a wireless system, you start to appreciate why these locks are becoming more and more popular.

Built for tough environments

Tigris® ePro has been developed with the utilities sector in mind, in particular, energy and water, but its wider application is already becoming clear. Clients in the health, telecoms, and transport industries are also adopting the technology. As Access2’s Managing Director, Neil Rule, said, “Places like airports and rail terminals have multi-layered security needs, and cannot afford any compromise. In addition, locations may be remote or difficult to access. A system that doesn’t need fixed wiring and that is durable, effective and reliable is a must.” He went on to say, “ePro works so well because it’s built for tough conditions. Data transmission between the key and cylinder is powered by an easily replaced standard battery in the key, which offers up to one year of battery life, but the cylinder itself is battery-free, meaning it is completely weatherproof and can be installed in the most extreme environments.”

Another sector which is studying the benefits of such systems is education. Unfortunately, schools are often plagued by acts of vandalism and a mechatronic solution, which has the appearance of a regular lock cylinder, also has the advantage of resistance to attack. In school settings, it’s usual for access requirements to change throughout the day. All of this can be controlled by a system like Tigris® ePro, and there’s capability for an audit of key usage.

Complete control

Let’s take a closer look at this: full audit trails can be obtained from the cylinder’s memory and read by the control application software. This will show which key has passed through which cylinders and at what times. If a key is lost or stolen, it can be deleted from the system via the software and will be rendered useless. The system eliminates the potential for mislaid or stolen keys which inevitably lead to a compromise of system security.

But just as keys can be deleted, extra permissions can be granted to existing keys. Imagine the situation where a contractor needs access during working hours, but overall security would be compromised if that access was available 24/7. We’ve all heard of instances where someone has been given a key to enable them to carry out a job, and the key is never seen again. With Tigris® ePro, the control application can set specific times for key credentials – you can safely allow the contractor to access the plant room or substation when it suits you, and not when it doesn’t.

Mechatronic systems have great advantages for security and control. Their ability to sit within complex mechanical masterkey systems and deliver reliable protection in tough locations makes them a very practical and cost-effective alternative to the purely mechanical or purely electronic approach.