Abloy forecasts need for weather-resistant locking mechanisms

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Few would disagree that winter outstayed its welcome this year and after the coldest March for 50 years, should security specialists be factoring weather resistance into their product specifications?

For locksmiths and security installers based in some areas of the UK, the weather resistance and durability of locking mechanisms has long been an important consideration, alongside the systems' security levels, patent protection and masterkey ability. Sites in coastal and more northern areas are typically subject to more extreme weather conditions including snow, ice and onshore winds, which can cause locking mechanisms to freeze, rust, corrode and seize.

So, with UK winters seemingly becoming longer and colder, what lessons can be learned from those security specialists who have experience in specifying weather-resistant solutions?

Based in Inverness, Highland Locksmiths has been securing sites from Edinburgh to the Orkney Islands for over 25 years and uses Abloy's Protec2 mechanism for padlock-based security systems. Specifically designed to provide high-level mechanical security, Protec2 offers a patented rotating disc keying system with extensive masterkey possibilities, including cylinders and padlocks that can all be operated with a single key.

Highland Locksmiths has specified and installed Protec2 padlocks in a variety of Scottish locations, from whisky distilleries where the flow of the much-loved drink requires control from source to bottling, right through to Forestry Commission sites, where access control was needed on shared gates used by local farmers.

Steven Martin, from Highland Locksmiths, explains: "The extreme weather conditions in many of our locations was the main driver for choosing Abloy's Protec2 system. Being so far north, our winters typically last a lot longer than the rest of the UK, usually from September right through to April. We have experienced freezing temperatures as low as -28°C and the Protec2 padlocks have continued to work, proving their reliability in a severe environment.

"A good example would be their use on the snow gates on the A9 between Thurso and Stirling. It's essential that the gates remain securely locked to prevent drivers using the route during bad weather and since fitting Abloy Protec2 padlocks, there has never been an issue with opening or closing the gates."

It's not just snow and ice that can compromise the effectiveness of security products. Coastal winds and sea air can increase wear and tear on locking mechanisms, as Jersey-based B G Romeril and Co Ltd knows well.

The security specialist has installed Abloy's Protec and Novel cylinders in so many of Jersey's buildings that over two-thirds of the Channel island is now thought to be secured with Abloy systems, from banks and community centres through to the airport.

Patent protected, the Protec one-key mechanism offers extensive master keying possibilities and covers the complete range of door lock cylinders, cabinet locks, industrial locks, cam locks and padlocks.

Abloy's Novel mechanism is also a patent-protected high security rotating disc mechanism, with the added benefit of a unique anti-wear system (AWS), which provides durability and long-term performance in demanding environments.

Abloy's locking mechanisms are the first choice for Des Brady of B G Romeril: "We've worked with Abloy for over 30 years and their locks have been used in Jersey since 1996. They were chosen for their durability and in our opinion Abloy offers the best locking mechanisms in the world. With most of our customers located either on or very near to the coast, the products suit our environment perfectly.

"There's never a dull moment on the island and we've faced many challenges over the years, but we've never failed to complete a project using Abloy locking mechanisms.

"With the Protec products, the masterkey ability is endless. We have locks all over the island and they are mainly used in large, high-traffic buildings such as banks, where security plays a big part but safety is paramount too."

While the jury remains out as to whether this pattern of colder and longer winters will continue, locksmiths and security installers working on outdoor sites would be wise to consider locking mechanisms proven to withstand extreme weather conditions.

For further information on Abloy locking mechanisms, contact marketing@abloy.co.uk.