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4 Areas Where Electronic Locking Mechanisms Can Protect Your Building's Assets

Posted on 9/30/2014 8:42 AM by Steve Spatig

The increasing availability of new security technologies is driving many facility managers to implement high-tech, keyless electronic entry solutions as a means for managing access to large scale buildings and organizations.

In many cases, significant attention and budget is dedicated to securing the exterior building perimeter and grounds; however, that same level of access control is not often extended to the enclosures that store high value items, confidential information, and employee belongings within the facility. Facility managers can ensure security of the building as well as its contents by retrofitting interior enclosures and cabinets with electronic access solutions. A complete electronic access solution includes an access control or input device, an electromechanical lock or latch and the capability to monitor remotely. When used with existing building access credentials, facility managers can connect building security systems with enclosure access to ensure facility wide access control that addresses the security needs of a variety of different enclosure applications.

1) Inventory Management

In order to better manage supplies and materials used for general maintenance and upkeep, many facilities have installed self-service lockers to store valuable tools and inventory. Electronic access solutions can be used to track access to these lockers, providing clear accountability by generating a digital audit trail that can be used for ordering and reporting, helping to reduce theft and loss. Each end user is assigned their own unique credential, which provides the input signal to a concealed electronic lock within a locker that opens the corresponding drawer or door.

2) Datacom Enclosures

Within a data center setting, electronic access can be used to physically protect the cabinets that house confidential data. For example, within a colocation environment where cabinets housing information from multiple organizations are stored, electronic access enables the IT manager to control access to each enclosure individually. An electronic lock with an integrated access control device, like a card reader or Bluetooth enabled controller can be easily installed within an existing cabinet and integrated with the data center’s overall security infrastructure. The IT manager can then control access on an individual basis, ensuring that only authorized personnel have access to secure server hardware.

3) Lockers and Office Equipment

Electronic access can also be used to secure employee belongings and protect other high-value items such as laptops that contain confidential data, or highly classified materials that cannot leave the building. Electronic locks can be easily installed into existing lockers and office equipment, allowing items to be stored securely overnight or between shifts. When networked with a building’s existing security system, the facility manager can access these enclosures from anywhere within the building or from a remote location, and add or delete user credentials according to personnel changes.

4) Medical Dispensing Carts and Patient Records

In the medical environment, preventing security breaches and maintaining compliance with industry regulations are key concerns for the healthcare facility manager. Unauthorized access and control issues can be prevented by installing concealed electronic locks within the enclosures that protect patient records and expensive pharmaceuticals and supplies. For instance, smaller electronic locks, such as electromechanical slide bolts take up minimal space in the drawers that store medications on portable dispensing carts, or within wall mounted charting stations that house computers containing patient information. These intelligent electronic locks deliver access reporting and audit trail capabilities that can be used to demonstrate compliance with HIPAA.

Moving into the future, there will come a time when most common physical objects will be connected to the Internet, and will be able to communicate intelligently with other devices. This concept, known as the Internet of Things (IoT), is already being used to simplify the interaction between individuals, technology and their environments. As this technology evolves, facility managers will have many creative solutions for integrating physical security throughout a facility.

Electronic access solutions offer a simplified means of connecting existing building security with interior enclosures, improving security administration across the entire facility. Intelligent electronic locks can be easily installed on secure equipment within a facility. When combined with existing access control systems, these solutions provide digital records of access and remote monitoring capabilties, allowing facility managers greater tracebility and accountability.

Steve Spatig is general manager of electronic access control solutions for Southco, he can be reached at sspatig@southco.com.

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CPVC: Getting the Most Out of Re-Piping Projects

Posted on 9/26/2014 8:09 AM by Domenic DeCaria

Long-term reliability is something facility managers look for in all materials, and for good reason. Quality, durable products can make a huge difference in terms of cost and comfort, and plumbing applications offer one of the easiest opportunities to capitalize on when performing re-piping work. 

As many copper systems reach the end of their useful life, the need for an alternative material is top-of-mind for many. Offering value and long life to plumbers and facility managers, chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) plumbing systems have become prevalant and are worth investigation by all facility mangers. 

CPVC's physical properties provide unique, tangible benefits in plumbing applications. Like all plastics, CPVC resists corrosion in ways metals cannot, but as a member of the polyvinyl family of thermoplastic piping materials, CPVC is inherently resistant to oxidative degradation from chlorine because of the material's chemical structure. With large chlorine molecules protecting the carbon-carbon bonds on the polymer backbone, CPVC is unaffected by residual chlorine disinfection byproducts in the water, such as hypochlorous acid. Comparatively, other common piping materials from the polyolefin family (such as PE-X, PP-R, and PB) have been modified to protect the polymer backbone, but once the antioxidants have been consumed, the polymer is highly susceptible to erosion or systemic crack propagation throughout. Combined with the material's corrosion resistance, CPVC offers facility managers reduced maintenance needs and confidence that the system will stand up to all water conditions. 

Other benefits are just as easily realized by choosing CPVC. By maintaining quiet operation, CPVC reduces the unpleasant clanging and banging that is common of copper systems. Additionally, CPVC's chemical makeup also provides the pipes with greater thermal insulating properties than many comparative metallic systems, meaning less heat loss within hot water applications which can help save on energy bills. 

Biofilm, formed with biomass such as bacteria, fungi, algae, and mold adhere to surfaces in wet environments, is a major safety concern in all potable water distribution systems. While no material can completely prevent the formation of biofilms, any piping material you choose should have a consistent record of biofilm resistance as benchmarked against other materials, and should be able to be treated with a regimen of hot chlorinated water to remove bacteria from the system without being damaged. CPVC has exactly these two properties, meaning that facility managers who use the material can be confident that they are using the best approach possible to mitigate the risks of serious water-borne pathogens such as Legionella. 

For facility managers, CPVC provides value through its long-term reliability and durability in all water conditions. Considering its simple and efficient joining methods, light weight, and flexibility in smaller sizes, rerouting a system becomes simple when needed to adapt to tight spaces. When making decisions for repairs and re-pipe jobs, CPVC can offer a cost-effective and higher-performing plumbing solution for commercial needs. As a total plumbing solution, CPVC is here to stay. 

Domenic DeCaria is a marketing/product engineer for the Lubrizol Corporation and can be reached at domenic.decaria@lubrizol.com.

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