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Types of Locks and their Benefits

Locks are manufactured in several models to suit varying functions and applications. The major categories of locks are mechanical locks, electronic locks, cabinet & locker locks, internal door locks, external door locks, locks for aluminium and glass doors, etc. Here we furnish a brief description of these different types of locks for your general information and knowledge.

Mechanical Locks

The standard mechanical locks come in light-duty to heavy-duty ranges. These locks are the main locks on most of the doors in residences and offices. Companies like Yale, Chubb, ERA, Ingersoll and Union are household names in the UK lock industry. The simplest types of locks in this category are operated by keys that activate the levers inside the locks. The basic lock is known as the 5-lever lock, which is specified in the British Standard of BS3621:2004. This specification is accepted by most home insurance companies and is recommended by the police as the fundamental protection to homes. In these locks, the key moves the levers inside the lock that are kept in a pivoted position, whilst some locks may have sliding levers. The gates and pockets in the lever are moved by the bolt stump in the key when we lock or unlock.

The modern mechanical locks have number codes instead of the standard key system. The numbers are generally factory set but can be changed any time. When the set number is aligned in the lock, the lock becomes unlocked. If the lock is kept in the locking position and the number is changed, then the lock remains locked. These locks are known as combination locks, though the term ‘combination’ is a misnomer in the above lock applications. These locks can have single dial or multiple dials to change and set the numbers.

Electronic Locks

Electronic locks are superior to mechanical locks. They allow programming at the keypad of the locks with multiple codes. These locks permit 50 or 100 user codes of 3 to 6 digits length. A few advanced models are fitted with provisions for passwords or pass phrases. They have LED indications for locked and unlocked positions. They are operated by small battery cells and the batteries normally last for more than 100,000 operations, with low battery warning. Many of these locks can also be opened mechanically or electronically from the keypad. Certain models have facilities for remote lock release systems.

Electronic locks in modern offices and commercial establishments have other types of access facilities. One important type is the use of security cards or tokens, which are scanned by the lock when the card is introduced in a slot. This process is known as ‘swiping’. These swipe locks usually have provisions for recording the accesses on computers or other digital devices. They use infrared data transfer processes for such recording. These locks are highly useful to check the time-in and time-out of employees or to limit the access only to certain authorised persons.

Another variation in swipe electronic locks is biometric locks. These locks use fingerprint scanning, voice identification, iris scanning, retinal scanning, palm scanning, etc. to authenticate the identification of the users. These biometric locks are more common in scientific laboratories of sensitive nature, military bases, certain areas of police headquarters and prisons, etc., where access should be limited to key personnel.

Other types of locks are rim locks, Mortice locks, padlocks, cabinet locks, cupboard locks, shed locks, garage locks, gate locks, garage-to-house locks, storage room locks, etc. Some of these locks like gate and garage locks are automatic type and can be operated by remote control devices. Door chains are also extensively used nowadays on doors along with locks for additional security. To know more about locks, contact our specialists and they will guide you in the selection of the right type of locks for your security requirements.

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