SecurityWorldMarket

08/06/2024

Important focus on standards & patents for locking solutions

London, UK

Image Credit: Assa Abloy

It is hard to overstate the importance of standards in mechanical security. Yet in a world of evolving threats and regulations, it can be difficult to keep track of the most relevant certifications, and to identify which apply in different industries and regions, and for various applications. With its unique scope of expertise in local and global markets, Assa Abloy takes a strong stance on the subject in a concerted effort to help keep customers informed.

Many leading mechanical locking manufacturers operate in-house laboratories with testing protocols. These are usually designed to push every device and component to discover its limit, long before it ever reaches the market. This process is critical to the development cycle of any security product.

Important third party testing

However, stringent third-party testing of mechanical devices is even more important. A truly independent mark of quality and durability inspires consumer confidence in a solution they must trust to secure their workplace or home.

When specifying a new building or retrofitting an existing property to meet modern needs, compliance with security standards is a major component in local and regional building codes. Regulatory approval will depend on installing cylinders which meet or exceed agreed international and local industry standards.

Some certifications simply ensure that information is presented in a consistent, easily understandable way. Among these is DIN 18252. The German standard defines terminology, dimensions, requirements, test methods and marking – all to ensure that Euro profile cylinders are standardised and so interchangeable and replaceable.

Other standards, however, tell consumers more about the qualities of mechanical devices they are considering. These may assess the performance and durability of the cylinder itself, including when placed under stress or deliberate attack.

Defending the premises: locking strength and resistance

Two critical European standards require an independent assessment of a cylinder’s or padlock’s build quality and toughness:

EN 1303 

EN 1303 is a wide-ranging standard for mechanical security which covers both cylinders and their keys. It assures performance on criteria including strength, security, durability and corrosion resistance.

EN 1303 uses an 8-digit coding which reports on performance tests. Each digit refers to a product feature measured against the standard’s performance requirements (see figure, below). Compliance with EN 1303 doesn’t automatically indicate a high security standard.

The precise grading is decisive. The highest a cylinder can achieve is 1-6-0-B-0-6-D and the lowest is 1-4-0-0-0-1-0.

EN12320

EN 12320 applies to padlocks, padlock fittings and their keys. It specifies performance requirements and describes test methods for strength, endurance, safety and general operation.

EN 12320 establishes six grades for security – from grade 1 (low security) to 6 (maximum, only for rare cases) – based on performance tests for corrosion resistance, durability, key-related security and resistance to various forms of attack. To achieve any grade, all its criteria must be met or exceeded.

Additional certifications

Attack resistance is assessed by two further certifications – particularly important for cylinders deployed in a high-security environment: TS 007 and SKG.

Administered by the UK’s Door & Hardware Federation, TS 007 (Technical Standard 007) specifies requirements for cylinders, door handles and other door hardware. It assesses locking cylinders’ vulnerability to any attacks which use skill and/or knowledge. A panel of independent locksmiths manually performs picking and bumping tests. EN 1303 attack resistance and key-related security (see above) are also considered.

TS 007 assesses high-security cylinders with 1 or 3 stars. TS 007***, the higher rating, also includes snapping attack resistance.

TS 007 is deployed in conjunction with the British Kitemark certification. The BSI KitemarkTM confirms testing has been independent and repeated; manufacturing quality is also audited.

SKG ratings are certified by an independent Dutch testing institute and recognized Europe-wide. A cylinder’s SKG rating indicates resistance to various common forms of destructive attack and key-related security. It is similar to EN 1303 but covers additional types of manipulation.

The rating is easily identified on the cylinder itself, marked with 2 or 3 stars. SKG***, the top level, resembles the top EN 1303 grading. Many insurance providers in the Netherlands now make it compulsory for insured houses to have SKG-rated locks.

Patent protection matters

Often overlooked, further assurance is provided when manufacturers deploy an active patent strategy. Patent protection offers greater control over the distribution and duplication of keys, which adds another layer of security for building owners and users.

Key duplication can then be restricted to authorized locksmiths and security partners, which reduces the likelihood of unauthorized key copies in circulation – and hence of unauthorised access to a property.

If cylinder designs are generic or sold with expired patents, the risk that valid keys fall into the wrong hands grows. Patents help, both by outlawing key copying and making it technically difficult to produce key blanks.

“Leading Assa Abloy mechanical locking solutions – including CY100, CY110, CYS10 and CYS00 – offer certified mechanical security and have active patent protection stretching almost into the 2040s,” explains Kirsi Solehmainen, Product Manager Mechanical Locking Solutions at Assa Abloy Opening Solutions EMEIA.


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