There are several reasons to consider a gate maglock, but how secure are these devices? Read on to learn everything you need to know about magnetic locks as we explore how they work and their advantages and downsides.
What Is a Gate Maglock?
A maglock (also known as a magnetic or electromagnetic lock) is a locking device designed to secure an entrance using low-voltage power. The device typically consists of an armature plate and an electromagnet. The former is installed on the door while the latter is connected to a power source and mounted on the door frame.
Magnetic locks do not feature any moving parts ― not even door handles. While this setup appears simpler than other common heavy-duty bolts and traditional keyed locks, maglocks are some of the most reliable and safest ones available. They work for all door types, including glass doors.
How Electromagnetic Gate Locks Work
Electromagnetic locks are fail-safe devices, meaning they keep doors tightly locked as long as there is power and releases doors for a safe exit when the power is cut off.
The strong locking action to keep entrances secure is created by a magnetic flux generated when the device is powered. The power energizes the electromagnet, which, in turn, powerfully attracts the armature plate to keep the door firmly locked.
In many models, the locking device includes a built-in thrusting magnet, which serves as an anti-residual magnetism mechanism. Its function is to break any residual magnetism and repel the electromagnet from the armature plate when power is cut off.
While electromagnetic gate locks are designed to secure entrances, they can only operate correctly if the armature plate is properly fitted on the door frame to align with the maglock. The holding force or strength of the magnet is considerably reduced if there is a gap in the installation. This means that the magnetic lock will not work as expected.
For this reason, it is crucial to ensure correct installation by an expert if you use a gate maglock to secure an entrance.
How Secure Are Gate Maglocks?
When installed correctly, gate maglocks are safe and very secure. These locks keep automated gates, control arms, and other entrances in high-security applications closed. A gate maglock model with a high holding force can withstand extreme stress exerted on the gate, provided there is power.
Maglocks have internal wire coils used for magnetism. The number of coils determines a maglock's strength, pulling force, or holding force, which is measured in hundreds of pounds.
While you can use a 600-pound magnetic lock if you want a model with the lowest holding force, a maglock with a holding force in the range of 1,200 to 1,500 pounds is ideal for most applications. However, the strongest maglocks for maximum security applications are approximately 3,000 pounds.
When Should You Consider a Gate Maglock?
While magnetic locks are strong and safe, they are not ideal for every application. Here are the most common situations where the locks are ideal.
Controlling Access on Both Sides of an Entrance
Consider a gate maglock if you want to install a card reader system on both sides of an entrance to control access.
The system will only deactivate the magnetic flux in the maglock when authorized persons swipe a card through the card reader.
Determining the Number of People in a Building
While there are no 100% guarantees, designing an accurate evaluation plan requires keeping tabs on the number of people in a building at any given time.
A maglock combined with a card reader is crucial in designing a building occupancy control. People are required to swipe to enter or exit the building, which helps floor managers figure out how many people are in the building.
Securing an Emergency Exit
Magnetic locks are your best bet for securing exits, particularly emergency exits. The National Fire Protection Association requires magnetic locks to be integrated into fire alarm systems of buildings. The locks are released during emergencies when an alarm is triggered, allowing people to safely exit the building.
In other words, there is no fear of getting trapped inside a building during an emergency, thanks to the fail-safe mechanism of magnetic locks.
Benefits of Gate Maglocks
- Durable: Maglocks don’t have any moving parts, so they last longer and can withstand abuse from attempted forceful entries, door slams, frequent usage in high traffic environments, and vandalism.
- Seamless integration with existing systems: Magnetic locks are easy to include in an existing system, whether it is a fire alarm system, door entry system, or access control system.
- Easy to install: Installing the lock is straightforward, with only two parts to attach to a gate or door.
- Less maintenance: Maglocks don’t require excessive maintenance, considering there are no moving parts.
- Fail-safe mechanism: The lock will open on its own during an emergency, making it safe for occupants to exit and efficient for emergency responders to enter the building.
Advantages of Electromagnetic Locks
The fail-safe mechanism of gate maglocks makes them suitable for emergency exists. This allows occupants of a large building (such as a hospital or school) to safely exit the property during emergencies.
In addition to being easy to install, magnetic locks are discreet, meaning they won’t spoil the aesthetic of entrances.
Disadvantages of Electromagnetic Locks
Maglocks are inactive without power, meaning your main entrance will be unlocked during a power outage and the building unsecured if you only use a maglock. Also, the setup requires a constant power supply, so you need additional wiring at your gate to keep the entrance secure at all times.
You might need to spend extra money installing armored cables if the wiring can be accessed outside your gate. Ignoring this means anyone with the right tools can cut off power from outside your gate and gain access to your property.
Are Maglocks Secure?
A gate maglock is very secure and suitable for ensuring your automated gate remains locked. Potential intruders, wind, and other factors that may exert force and stress on your gate are less likely to breach your perimeter if you correctly install the right maglock for your gate. If you have any questions about gate maglocks or other security options, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to help!