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Andy Billingham from EMKA discusses enclosure hardware security issues

Posted By Andy Billingham, EMKA (UK) Ltd, Thursday 15 June 2017

In this white paper Andy discusses how new demands in the area of industrial security drive a continuous development process in tandem with new materials and production technologies. He suggests these demands may be most easily categorised as:

- Very low level – no access restriction but protection of personnel and equipment required – a simple wing knob latch may be sufficient.

- General access limited and equipment protection needed – but a simple key system is needed – perhaps a quarter turn lock with a triangular key.

- Restricted access and equipment protection – but low value or risk – a higher security key system is appropriate, a profile cylinder key lock would be a suitable choice.

- Higher risk or value – perhaps requiring an electronic mechanism e.g. specialist private manufacturing establishments or research centres.

- Very high risk/value e.g. data centres or utilities where a comprehensive logging/monitoring and control system is vital – remotely accessible e.g. via an encrypted internet link.

The white paper explains how in turn these have an effect on usage of materials and the design concept. In this respect the trend is toward increasing sophistication – it’s no longer acceptable to open a control or data cabinet with a screwdriver if you don’t have the key! So where once a wing knob latch was sufficient it is important to consider the need for keylocks – perhaps to IP65 or even IP69 and the option of vibration resistant compression locks which prevent nuisance door opening, as well as more complete gasket pull-down and consistently higher IP sealings.

Other demands call for other materials such as high grade engineering plastics and yet other technologies – leading us to Biometric locking and three tier security. Read the full white paper here:

Further information on EMKA products can be found on the EMKA website - Readers can find the latest information and news on the EMKA blog – or follow them on twitter -

 Attached Files:

Tags:  biometric locking  compression latches  compression locks  enclosure hardware security  quarter-turn locks  stainless steel handles  swinghandles 

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Cabinet and Enclosure Hardware Developments at EMKA in the 21st Century

Posted By Andy Billingham, EMKA (UK) Ltd, Thursday 23 March 2017

Much has happened since the Millennium where the feedback over those years from developing products to keep pace with industrial needs has driven the development of ubiquitous items like quarter-turn locks and latches which form a core range with companies such as EMKA (UK).

In the 1990’s a typical ¼ turn lock was IP54 rated in simple die casting without additional sealing. Firstly flat seals were introduced, then “O” rings, and finally PUR injected seals leading to sealing now commonly available up to IP69.

An early requirement was to look at new materials where leading companies developed capability with reinforced polyamide – for reasons of cost and corrosion resistance as well as stainless steel, which added exceptionally rugged characteristics and corrosion resistance suitable to wash-down areas and marine environments.

As plastics technologies developed greater strength and rigidity were possible so that slim-line polyamide cams could be produced offering cost benefits and reducing paint damage to cabinets.

At that time simple back nut fixing was the norm but was time consuming where multiple panels were being assembled, so EMKA designed a range of “quick-fit” products which push-in and clip-fix.

The humble ¼ turn latch lock was changing incrementally with customer demand for smooth, cavity-free designs suited to food processing plants and high sealing to withstand regular pressure washing.

At the other end of the scale outdoor environments and rail or other transport vehicles have their needs met with high speed dust cap retention and colour coded open/closed indicators.

Perhaps the biggest change in the world of ¼ turn locks and latches has been the spread of compression function products. These now offer vibration resistance to prevent nuisance door opening, as well as more complete gasket pull-down and consistently higher IP sealings.

Pre-2000 traditional L and T handles were being challenged by relatively new styles of pop-out swinghandles in simple die-cast zinc. These handles offered lower profiles to minimise damage and clothing hazards, while providing convenient, comfortable operation for the user.

Parallel developments took place comparable to ¼ turn locks – it is amazing how usage has changed in those years and how products have changed to meet those needs. For similar reasons – enhanced environmental requirements, cost and user friendliness – swinghandles are now produced with “O” rings and PUR seals giving excellent sealing for all applications. Glass reinforced polyamide was introduced as the industry developed slim, strong handle designs alongside stainless steel variants in AISI 304 or 316.

These reinforced machine grade plastics proved extremely capable such that robust anti-vandal designs were possible in these and zinc die – often complimented by low profile escutcheons and inset handles for sealing and anti-tamper purposes.

Just resisting unauthorised access or simple damage however was not enough – in those years we have seen the flowering of the internet and the growth of big data – vulnerable to physical theft. Enter Electronic Locking – developed by EMKA to protect server cabinets and industrial electronic control systems from unauthorised access.

Simple electronically verified swinghandle based protection soon developed into networked systems which could be remotely monitored and authorised. The Agent E stand-alone wireless system was one approach for single or small numbers of cabinets.

For larger installations where building access and complete physical access control is required right down to the individual cabinet or compartment, then Biometric systems have arisen with integrated locking, electronic monitoring of access logs and cabinet environment, full reporting and control over the internet, fully encrypted giving world-wide connectivity.

Addition of the EMKA BioLock with integral fingerprint reader to the ELM program now offers a superior level of security for protection of valuable data; in compliance with PCI, SOX, SSAE 16 and HIPAA in support of EN 50600 – with unique, personal identification and traceability. The use of biometric access control gives the possibility also of an operator designating specific alarm fingers which both open the system and set off a remote alarm to warn of an operator under threat, so enhancing personal safety.

The BioLock, in conjunction with PIN codes and RFID access cards, provides an extremely high 3 level security protection which may be applied on an individual cabinet or on a designated block of cabinets with, for example, a group controller supplemented with separate cabinet release protocols. Multiple releases of separate panels on individual cabinets are catered for by means of linked ELock slave units.

BioLock management is handled by means of Control Cockpit software which provides comprehensive control and monitoring functions with the flexibility to add/remove/report/alarm in support of the SYSLOG standard – plus an SNMP interface for integration with third party systems.

However, while this high-end security has been developing the more mundane security issues of industrial electrical and electronic control and supply cabinets have not been ignored – such that we now have mechanical solutions such as interchangeable lock cylinders which can be removed and replaced at any point in the installation process.

“Everything but the Enclosure” technologies have a long lifecycle and there is much from 1995 which is still perfectly suitable, but elsewhere we have seen refined engineering capability for standard and custom products including friction welding, sintered metal production and 3D CAD modelling, a process which has not only enabled development of more complex designs, but also put the panel engineer in direct contact with the product designer via detailed downloadable drawings.

Much too has changed in the small things – often overlooked – we can now source pre-cut, pre-assembled and vulcanised gasket, installation-ready without messy cutting and gluing. EMC gaskets have become mainstream, while a major demand has been identified for fire protection and high temperature gaskets in EPDM and silicone.

Previously, assembling rod locks took many minutes, now advances in design and plastics technology mean that rod guides can be fitted in seconds while precision plastic mechanisms provide quiet operation and more comfortable feel than older style units made from die castings or metal stampings. Rod systems not only improved, they moved.

At one time only installed inside the gasket area, rod lock systems migrated beyond the gasket, at the same time freeing up door areas and enabling simpler sealing arrangements for locks etc.

Growth in technology and sophistication of design has been matched with commercial developments which support specialist enclosure and panel builders – toggle latches continue to find new application, torque/friction hinges have become mainstream – not just something to be used on expensive electronic devices, and in response to globalisation we see also an expansion of UL certification.

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  biolock  biometric access sytems  gaskets  insert locks  quarter-turn locks  rod locks  swinghandles  toggle latches 

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Standalone Electronic Security for Data Centre Racks

Posted By Andy Billingham, EMKA (UK) Ltd, Thursday 5 March 2015

We are delighted to offer base level standalone electronic cabinet security with our 1150 electromechanical swinghandle.This provides digital PIN pass code protection for a main lock, plus one other, e.g. a rear door or possibly a neighbouring rack. In a day-to-day data centre or co-location environment the digital keypad can operate two doors together or separately with mechanical cylinder key locks retained for use in case of power failure.

The electromechanical 1150 features an activation window when the correct code is entered on the pin pad then the lock is pre-energised and a green LED is illuminated on the handle. The handle lever then needs to be depressed briefly and released within a live window. After this the window closes and the lock resets – a correct PIN must then be re-entered. Five different PIN codes are available per handle. The administration of the code numbers is carried out directly at the keypad and requires authorisation via special master code number.

The 1150 electromechanical swinghandle is suitable for multi-point flat or round rod systems as well as using industry standard cut-outs, so is a simple retro-fit to upgrade existing equipment with single point or multi-point rod lock installations.

Tags:  data centre security  digital keypads  electromechanical swinghandles  electronic cabinet security  swinghandles 

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Combination Swinghandle for Data Centre Security

Posted By Andy Billingham, EMKA (UK) Ltd, Monday 16 February 2015

We recognise that even small Data Centres of a few server cabinets handling low sensitivity information still require an appropriate locking system. The 1155 program combination swinghandle is one such solution for data/co-location centres, but also for hardware protection such as bike lockers at universities or other establishments.

The 1155 swinghandle features a conventional round cylinder lock keyed all the same or different as required – this is used in conjunction with a three digit combination lock. The handle may be released using the key only – which also permits the three dial combination to be set. Once set the handle may be released by use of the combination alone – thus the key/pin priority is established for blocks of cabinets with a hierarchy of control.

The IP65 rating also ensures suitability in arduous industrial situations such as banks of control cabinets in a factory environment. The 1155 uses industry standard cut-outs so is a simple retro-fit to upgrade existing equipment with single point or multi-point rod lock installations.

Tags:  combination swinghandle  data centre security  EMKA UK  locking systems;  swinghandles 

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Simple Lock Systems Address Data Security Regulations

Posted By Andy Billingham, EMKA (UK) Ltd, Monday 9 February 2015

As the “Everything but the enclosure” company we have a strong portfolio of cabinet locking optionsfor data storage and processing cabinets. While there has been much recent attention on the high end networking and biometric aspects, it may easily be forgotten that even non-sensitive data is covered by the need for an appropriate level of security.

It is worth remembering that our standard key operated 1150 program swinghandle is often suitable for such simple access control in corporate data centres and co-location centres where any relevant standalone or suite of cabinets may be fitted with “all the same key”, e.g. type 333 or key different but alike, e.g. 723, or keyed all different but within a specific range, with master key option. The 1150 series is also suited to retro-fit situations since it uses industry standard cut outs, and barrels which may be changed to upgrade existing installations.

Tags:  cabinet locking  data security solutions  data storage locking  EMKA UK  processing cabinet locking;  server cabinet lock systems  swinghandles 

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Agent E infra-red wireless TAG – stand alone data cabinet security system

Posted By Andy Billingham, EMKA (UK) Ltd, Monday 19 January 2015

Our AGENT E 3000 program offers multiple possible levels of security for stand-alone data cabinets. It is suitable for single cabinet locking and access logging or for a number of individual cabinets administered separately in a data centre where the infra-red key fob operation enables multiple authorised access and logging of identity if required – also central wireless operation is possible in conjunction with an access point module, thus enabling expansion of the system if required.

The AGENT E handle forms a flexible security module within an expandable network, usable on otherwise vulnerable data or control cabinets. Typically this may include server cabinets or machine controls where unauthorised access is likely to put personnel, machine or information safety at risk from tampering, vandalism/sabotage, data theft or simple inappropriate usage.

At the “Basic” level an AGENT E set up consists of a combination of electronic swing handles and TAGs (hand-held transmitters). Opening is effected by simply pointing the TAG fob/pendant at the handle which is programmed to respond to the multi-modulated diode on the TAG. In addition, Master TAGs may also be programmed.

Simple programming of the TAG (hand-held transmitter) directly on the respective swing handle enables a maximum of 32 User TAGs and up to 5 Master TAGs per swing handle. In case of power failure, emergency power supply is possible via the USB interface with no software required.

Even more convenience is provided by the “Professional” version which allows the easy configuration of locking plans and time profiles via the USB interface, and read out of the integrated event log. In this case the Master TAG can take over the function of a hardware dongle.

The “Professional” level system provides additional features and is configurable via USB using the freeware AGENT E Management Suite which allows users to create and change locking plans, time profiles and read out the event log. Logging of the last 2000 entries is possible to identify who, when and which handle, with the Master TAG used to protect the USB Interface against unauthorised use.

With the highest level “Superior” version all processes can be administered centrally in combination with an Access-Point. It is possible to configure, read out and open swing handles remotely. Interconnection to the handles is via radio transmission and system-specific access point. It also features logging of the last 5000 entries identifying who, when and which handle has been activated.

Naturally the AGENT E swinghandles are compatible with other EMKA door closure equipment such as cams and rod controls for multi-point locking. Door contact sensors may be linked to all versions.

Tags:  AGENT E  data cabinet locks;  data cabinet security  electronic locking  EMKA  infra-red key fob locking  swinghandles 

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AGENT E wireless swinghandle gets added RFID swipe card security

Posted By Andy Billingham, EMKA (UK) Ltd, Monday 12 January 2015
Updated: Monday 12 January 2015

Central network wireless control, coupled with RFID transponder swipe card technology, adds higher levels of security to our Program 3000 AGENT E battery powered electronically controlled swinghandles for data cabinet protection. These standalone swinghandles can be used wirelessly, on their own, or networked in groups controlled via an RJ45 linked ProxLock module supplemented by personal RFID transponder card identification for duel level control.

The AGENT E handle therefore forms a flexible security module within an expandable network, usable on otherwise vulnerable data or control cabinets. Typically this may include server cabinets or machine controls where unauthorised access is likely to put personnel, machine or information safety at risk from tampering, vandalism/sabotage, data theft or simple inappropriate usage.

AGENT E Card readers work on 125 kHz or 13.56 MHz and each handle is equipped with a covert USB connection for emergency power/opening and memory log download on standalone versions. Handles retain their finger touch release on network “master” and “slave” units, along with green and red LED indicators which identify the operating window.

Naturally our AGENT E swinghandles are compatible with our other door closure equipment such as cams and rod controls for multi-point locking. Door contact sensors may be linked to all versions.

Tags:  agent e swinghandles  EMKA UK  swinghandles  swinghandles with RFID swipe card 

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