What are maglocks?
Maglocks (also known as electromagnetic locks or magnetic locks) are electric locks that use low-voltage power (usually DC 12 or 24 volts) to keep the lock closed. The lock is disarmed by swiping a card, key fob, or by keying in a PIN on a keypad.
These Lock the Door in both directions and require Intervention to release. However, they release in case of fire and power loss according to safety codes , thereby keeping the door unlocked in these scenarios.
Maglocks do not deal with handles, levers, or doorknobs on a door. This makes these locks well suited for high security applications and best fit for emergency exit doors as they have no moving parts, therefore they are least likely to fail. When installing an electromagnetic lock, make sure you get the municipality’s permit – more about that below.
Maglocks are composed of 2 main pieces – the magnet and the armature
The Magnet is the larger of the 2 components. It contains an electromagnetic core that receives power and keeps the door locked. If power is cut off – when a credential is presented to open the door or in case of an emergency – it is no longer magnetic and opens the door. This piece stays fixed to the door frame or wall.
The armature is the smaller flat piece attached to the door. Brackets (L bracket, LZ bracket, U bracket) are used to orient the armature.
The two components are in contact when the door is closed. When the electromagnet is energized, a current passing through the electromagnet creates a magnetic flux that causes the armature plate to attract to the electromagnet, creating a locking action. Because the surface area of the electromagnet and armature is relatively large, the force created by the magnetic flux is strong enough to keep the door locked even under stress. Strength is measured by its holding force, usually in lbs. depending on the surface area of the magnet, electromagnetic locks generate 60-1800 lbs dynamic holding force capacities.
Where should you use maglocks?
Magnetic locks are traditionally used on glass doors because unlike other access control systems, they are surface mounted. They are suitable for both single or double doors.
Electromagnetic locks are commonly used in hotels, offices and residential blocks as they are secure, reliable and quick to install, as there are few components.
Here are a few reasons to use maglocks:
- Easy Remote operation: Magnetic locks can be turned on and off remotely by adjusting the power source.
- Easy to install: Magnetic locks are generally easier to install than other locks since there are no interconnecting parts.
- Quick to operate: Magnetic locks unlock instantly when the power is cut, allowing for quick release in emergency doors.
Here are a few reasons you may choose to avoid maglocks:
- Requires a constant power source in order to be secure.
- Disables security during power outage.
- Lengthy permit process.
- Requires additional hardware for safe operation.
Types of maglocks
There are two main types of electric locking devices. Locking devices can be either “fail safe” or “fail secure”. A fail-secure locking device remains locked when power is lost. Fail-safe locking devices are unlocked when de-energized. Magnetic locks are always set for fail-safe, whereas electronic strikes are typically setup for fail-secure (but can also be setup for fail-safe). Adding a fail-secure door strike to the same door as the magnetic lock, will allow people to freely exit on power failure but will also keep your door locked from the outside.
Standard maglock – can be installed on single or double doors.
Delayed maglocks – are usually used in retail stores. They have a short built-in delay. They are often used on emergency exits that are alarmed
Shear maglocks – usually used for automatic sliding doors and are unlocked on motion. These generally use failsafe locking mechanism, are concealed and have better appearance.
Outdoor maglocks – also known as gate maglocks, these are outdoor rated. These are designed to be weather resistant. They can be used on both sliding and swing gates.
How do maglocks work?
An electromagnetic lock creates a magnetic field when energized or powered up, causing an electromagnet and armature plate to become attracted to each other strongly enough to keep a door from opening. As they require power to remain locked, this allows them to be fail-safe, making electromagnetic door locks safe for use as emergency exits. If the power was to go out in a fire via a fire relay or call button, the door would unlock, allowing people to exit the building.
If you are considering adding an electromagnetic lock at your site, know that there are Ontario and municipal building code requirements that must be completed before and after installation.
Outline of permit process:
Step 1: Complete all forms outlined in the building permit application guide
Stage 2: submit Building permit application over email
Stage 3: Application is reviewed for completion
Stage 4: Make Payment
Stage 5: Application reviewed for compliance with the Ontario Building Code and all Applicable Law, including applicable Zoning Bylaws.
Stage 6: receive permit electronically.
Stage 7: Electrical installation for power supply
Stage 8: Installation
Stage 9: Installation of fire alarm pull station and connection to fire panel
Stage10: physical inspection by fire department
To know more details about building permits click here.
There are many manufacturers and it is important to go for a well reputed manufacturer. What is more important is to have a good integrator who will streamline the whole process for you. These locks are sensitive, as they lock the door in both directions. If installed incorrectly, they can trap people.
Magnetic locks are considered one of the most secure locks you can have; they are extremely reliable and rarely broken into. In addition, they are easy to install, and they allow for fast access into the building, which is why magnetic door locks are a popular choice for offices, residential and commercial properties.
Are you considering installing electromagnetic locks at your business? Contact us for a no obligation consultation.