Ken's CLA FMOE (Fifteen Minutes of Education) Blog

The CLA South Bay Chapter meets the third Thursday of each month at Skeels Warehouse. You don't have to be a member to attend.  Network, learn new stuff, and grab a bite to eat!

Each month at the CLA meeting before the presentation there is an FMOE (Fifteen Minutes of Education).  Usually put on by Ken Jordan, but occassionally by others.  The goal is to take just a few moments each month and learn something new, or be reminded of something that can be applied to the trade.  Here are some of those FMOE’s...


Electronic Cylinders – Who Cares?

By Ken Jordan

What’s with all the hubbub over eCylinders?  Doesn’t anything with an “e” in front of it mean it’s good for you, like broccoli or kale, but doesn’t exactly taste like a Twinkie?  And why should I care about these things if I’m perfectly happy living my life using cut keys and brass pins and betting graphite under my nails?

My father, who was my boss at the time, was furious with me when I bought my first cell phone.  It was the greatest little thing ever – the Motorola MicroTAC flip phone - way back in the early 90’s!  Looked just like a Star Trek communicator (sort of) with an extendable antenna.  Not only was it cool, it was handy.  Pretty bulky by today’s standards but oh so helpful.  My Dad was definitely progressive when it came to technology, but for some reason he just could not see the value of being able to communicate over the phone while in the car, which was his perspective on these carphone things.  “When I’m driving my car I want to drive my car, and if I need to talk to someone I’ll stop and find a pay phone.”  This from a guy who was way early in adopting computers and fax machines and all sorts of technologies.  But for some reason he was hesitant at buying into this particular advancement, and sadly never really did fully adopt it before he died.

I think there are similar views out there regarding eCylinders. 

Do eCylinders provide benefits over standard cylinders? 
Do eCylinders belong everywhere that standard cylinders are today? 
Of course not.
Are there unknowns surrounding eCylinders and the technologies they use?
According to Wikipedia the standard pin tumbler cylinder that we know today was invented by Linus Yale, Jr. in 1861.  However the original concepts and principles of a pin tumbler cylinder dates back to Egypt around 4000BC.
Let that sink in for a bit.  We are using a technology that dates back over 6,000 years.  Sure it’s been improved since then, many times over, but the concept remains the same. 
Can we do better?

The eCylinder industry thinks so.
So why do we resist?  What are some of the factors that keep us from using this new technology?
1. Cost.  eCylinders are definitely more expensive than keys and pins.
2. Knowledge.  This is a new thing and new things require education.
3. Source of supply.  Gotta know where you can get the stuff.
4. Customers.  You have to know someone who will pay you for it.
5. Willingness.  Possibly the biggest barrier, you gotta be willing to go there.
6. Confidence.  You have to feel good about it.
So why eCylinders when keys and pins will do?  Why did I think a cell phone was better than looking for a pay phone, or waiting to talk on the land line when I arrived at home or the office? 
The land line would do fine, but the cell phone would do better. 
Back then (in the 90’s) not everyone needed a cell phone.  If you didn’t venture far or spent most of your time near a land line, no one expected to be able to reach you while at the grocery store or gas station.  But if you traveled, or were on the road a lot, what a great thing it was to have a cell phone with you – good for business, good for pleasure. 
1. Was it expensive?  Probably more than it cost today accounting for inflation.
2. Did I know how to use it?  Well not until I got some education on it.
3. Was it readily available?  Back then it was much more difficult to get than it is today, but they were out there.  Just had to look.
4. Did people want to reach me?  Yep, you bet.
5. Was I willing to try this?  Yeah.
What are the benefits of eCylinders over standard cylinders?

• Keys can’t be copied

• Provides access control without wiring or modification to door/frame
• Audit trail to see who and when the cylinder was accessed
• Scheduling of when/who gets in
• Easy “rekeying” done digitally, even remotely over the web
• Management of the system can be done remotely, even over the web, 24/7
• Lost keys are easily removed from service

Each of these benefits – factors that are better than what standard keys and cylinders can provide – offer to the end user a reduction in their risk of potential loss.  Loss financially, materially, reputation-ally (is that even a word).  eCylinders represent a tool to reduce risk, prevent loss, and improve liability control.

Improve liability control – who doesn’t want that?  The question is, how much will they pay for that.  And how important to them is improving their liability control.

Here are some suggested uses for eCylinders that could dramatically improve liability control:
• To protect employee records
• Storage rooms with high-liability/high value goods inside
• Server rooms
• Hazardous areas or materials
• Gates and perimeter fencing
• Loading docks and delivery areas
eCylinders can provide sophisticated access control without any wiring, door and frame modification, or additional hardware.  And retrofitting an eCylinder into an existing keying system or facility can do all those things quickly and easily.
So that’s what all the hubbub is about!


It All Hinges On….Well, Hinges!
By Ken Jordan


How important is the lowly door hinge?  Well, it turns out they are pretty darned important!


These relatively inexpensive items of trim are key to the properly functioning of every piece of hardware on the door, and thereby the integrity of the entire locking systems on the building.  Without a properly operating door hinge, the entire system breaks down.


Door hinge type and size are most probably specified by a hardware person long before we get involved.  We have to hope that the person did a good job in specifying the right hinge based on door type, location, and frequency of use.  That the hinge can handle the demand that will be placed on it for many years to come.  If not, a poorly-specified hinge will fail.  It will no longer support the weight of the door and, with every swing, it will break-down and deteriorate. 


You probably can’t see it at the start.  The hinge might start showing signs of wear – discoloration around the knuckles.  As the deterioration progresses, maybe some squeaking…and then the rubbing.  Maybe the arm of the door closer starts rubbing on the door or jamb.  Maybe the latch of the lock doesn’t retract like it should.  Maybe there’s some scuffing on the floor where the bottom of the door is rubbing.


Now things aren’t lining up.  The latch and/or deadbolt are starting to rub on the jamb. 

The seals in the door closer have extra pressure on them because the geometry of the arm is all wrong.  If the geometry is wrong, then maybe the closer no longer closes the door completely to a latching condition.  Now security is compromised.


So let’s take score:  door closer is being damaged, locks are being stressed, flooring may be damaged, and building security is at risk.  The life-cycle of this door is being reduced with every swing.  All because the hinges are failing. 


If this door is in the path of egress or an emergency exit route, life safety may now be compromised.  If this is a fire rated opening, now the integrity of the fire wall is compromised.


See what I mean?  The failure of a simple hinge can become a big deal.  Let’s hope that the correct hinge gets specified correctly in the first place.  And when a hinge starts to fail, let’s hope that it gets identified sooner rather than later so that other hardware items don’t become compromised, so that security doesn’t become compromised, so that life safety doesn’t become compromised. 


Don’t compromise on hinges…everything “hinges” on them!


Safe Schools Locksets and AB211

By Ken Jordan

The concept of using door locks that can be locked and unlocked from the inside (secured side) of the door has been around for quite some time now.  The plethora of school shootings in the United States created this category of product, as well as the concept.  The thinking was that in the case of a threat, if one could lock the door from the inside rather than having to open the door and lock it from the outside, we might save lives.

Most school classrooms doors have classroom function locks on them.  This function allows the lock to be left in the locked or unlocked condition by turning the key.  Trouble is that you have to be on the outside of the door to do this.  In the case of a threat from the outside of the classroom, the only way to lock the door is to go outside where the threat is and turn a key in the lock.  That sounds dangerous.

Enter the Safe School function lockset.  Manufacturers figured out a way to maintain the locking functionality on the outside of the lockset while adding a duplicate locking feature on the inside of the lockset.  All while keeping the inside always free to exit.  Studies of school shootings have shown that if potential victims can get behind a locked door, they do not get hurt.  So make it so that, in the event of a threat on the outside of the door, that door can be locked from the inside.

In 2011, smart folks in the California Assembly passed Assembly Bill 211 that reads in part, “On and after July 1, 2011, all new construction projects submitted to the Division of the State Architect…shall include locks that allow doors to classrooms and any room with an occupancy of five or more persons to be locked from the inside.”  “Doors that are locked form the outside at all times and pupil restrooms are exempt…”

So all new school construction projects these days need to include safe school locks on classrooms doors, and any doors where the room occupancy is greater than 4 persons.  I’ll tell you that the statute does not say that it applies to any Tenant Improvement or Retrofit projects, but why not bring all your customers up to code and use safe school locksets anytime you replace a lock?

Think about it…you might save a life.