Door interlocking – how to extend the usefulness of security measures
For physical security, technology has played a key role in industry advances – from keys through to electronic access control. Today, technology continues to make us safer with the increasing accessibility of video surveillance, and continuing growth of building and home automation thanks to connected smart devices.
One example of technology in security is a technique called door interlocking. At face value, it may not seem as impressive as more visible types of security, but for me, it is a perfect example of using technology to make separate parts more valuable by using them together in a unified manner.
Door interlocks are also known as mantraps or sally ports, and have traditionally been used to help secure premises like prisons or zoos. They keep people or animals inside, while still providing safe access for authorised people. It ensures that only one door in the group can be opened at any one time, preventing a completely free path between the hazardous and safe sides.
Using technology, you can extend the usefulness and functionality of door interlocking. No longer do you need separate systems to control interlocks and building access control. With a unified platform, access control, intruder detection, and building automation can all be integrated so you only need one system for programming and reporting.
Cleanrooms benefit from unified tech
An increasingly popular use for door interlocking is in cleanrooms, where the likes of pharmaceutical and electronics manufacturing require a controlled environment and an elevated level of cleanliness. With the help of security tech which stops two doors being open simultaneously, it moves the deployment from simple containment to a multi-functional system that is increasingly safe, automated, and accountable.
Cleanrooms use either negative or positive air pressure to keep hazards in or external pollutants out. Traditionally the HVAC which controls these facilities would be a separate system to the access control platform. But, by integrating door interlock features with building automation, you can trigger the necessary decontamination protocol before releasing the interlock.
Your system makes sure that the pressure and temperature levels are correct, then automatically triggers an air-shower and checks the environment is suitable before unlocking a door or pass-through cabinet.
Control chain of command with dual custody
Door interlocking doesn’t just have to be about controlling the movement of people. Using dual custody, it’s also possible to control and monitor the flow of objects through a building, adding extra levels of security, whilst reducing the risks associated with sensitive environments.
We’re all used to people being users in a security sense – each with their own credential to identify and authenticate them. With dual custody, an inanimate object, such as materials required for production, can be treated in the same way. After a person badges to identify themselves, a credential travelling with the goods is also badged so a log is created of who and what went into the interlock and reporting can show a chain of custody of the materials, and the environmental elements that were present at the time.
Tick all the boxes with compliance types
In addition to integrated interlocks and dual custody technology, technology can help provide an additional level of support with compliance types. Not only can you control access based on access levels, but you can also use compliance types to ensure the person trying to enter a restricted area has the appropriate current training and certification.
As well as restricting access to those that are certified, you also gain an extra layer of reporting to show that the cleanroom was always in compliance. The system can also trigger on-screen events as reminders of certifications that will be expiring soon. And of course, if a certification or training lapses, then the user will be denied access.
In addition to compliance types, there are many other examples of how technology can also add additional features to a security solution. These include anti-passback to prevent tailgating, area counting to limit the number of people in an area, and loiter areas, which allow users to transit through an area but prevents them from remaining too long. You could also deploy dual authentication where two authorised users must supply credentials to gain access, or two-factor-authentication so a user must use a combination of physical and biometric credentials, or a PIN.
Integrated technology supporting security
As you can see, by using currently available technology in a smart manner, and harnessing the power of a fully unified platform, you can bring together many elements of security. Integrating access control and building automation to provide solutions like door interlocking mean you can continue to protect people and keep businesses safe day after day.
Director of Sales (EMEA)