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Locking technology with a system for switch rack construction

What do switch, control, and server racks have in common? They are subject to stringent requirements because they must provide the best possible protection for the electronics and other, sometimes highly sensitive, devices inside the rack. It is imperative to prevent the infiltration of dust, dirt, and water. Moreover, it is critical to ascertain the safety of the contents and restrict unauthorized persons from gaining access. EMKA, the leading company in the global market, showcases how this can be achieved through its innovative locking systems.

Modular solutions for every application

How can large switch and control racks – which may also be difficult to access – be securely locked?

Seals on doors exceeding a height of 2,000 mm often display inadequate air tightness in the corners, rendering the doors ineffective in deterring unauthorized entry. Multiple interlocking systems with cams inside the seal are the method of choice in such cases, as they enable optimum distribution of the closing forces due to the numerous locking points. Three to seven locking points can be incorporated with this solution – and even more for particularly large doors. One notable benefit is the high level of operating convenience thanks to the synchronised closing process.

Only a single operating element needs to be actuated to lock the door of an enclosure or the lid of an underfloor container at several points, for example. A continuous rod connects the individual locking points with each other and thus prevents delays or transmission errors during the locking process. At the same time, the three, five, seven or more cams driven in this way move, depending on the application.

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The result is significant time savings during the opening and closing process. Locking expert EMKA offers this system not only with an extensive selection of operating elements but also with a compression unit and optional corner drive. By using the multiple interlocking system with cams and additional compression, the tightness of the door and ease of use can be further increased. All locking points with turn-and-tighten function pull the door securely and smoothly into the surrounding door seal. When the door is closed at a 90° angle, there is a combined turning and lifting motion accompanied by an additional 4 mm compression.

The 180° closing function enables the turning and lifting movements to be carried out independently. The locking principle is therefore particularly suitable for enclosures with high sealing pressure. The locking systems with and without compression fulfil the requirements of protection class IP65 in accordance with DIN EN 60529 and are therefore dust-tight and protected against water jets.

Delay-free 90° corner drive for multiple interlocking system

With the optional corner drive developed by EMKA, the vertical locking points are extended by horizontal ones. By incorporating extra locking points in the cross-shoring system, the locking specialist ensures even further increased security.

The corner drive is available in a hybrid design made of plastic/die-cast zinc and a rocker lever made of galvanised steel or stainless steel to meet even the most stringent fire protection, corrosion, and safety requirements.

Lightweight and corrosion-resistant: Multiple interlocking system made of plastic

When seeking a cost-effective locking solution for switch rack doors ranging in height from 800 to 2,200 mm, the ideal option is the lightweight locking system made of glass fibre-reinforced plastic. All rods and locking components are made of this corrosion-resistant, durable, lightweight, but robust material. The virtually silent opening and closing operations provide further benefits. Customers benefit from maximum flexibility, as all locks with flat rod receptacles – such as swinghandles and escutcheons with rod control as well as lifthandles – can be connected to the new plastic system thanks to a newly developed adapter.

The solution can also be used both inside and outside the seal. When used inside the seal, the plastic rod is simply clipped onto the locking element and attached to the inside of the door using special rod guides. A shoe for the rod at each end of the rod and a locking plate on the inner frame complete the three-point locking system with a cam on the locking element.

When used outside the seal, at least two locking brackets are required on the door frame for installation. Depending on the size of the rack, additional locking brackets are fitted. Whether inside or outside the seal, the symmetrical arrangement of the locking components and hinges makes it easy to change the door stop.

Not only is the system versatile, but it also boasts a 20% increase in strength and a 30% decrease in costs when compared to conventional metal rod systems. Additionally, there is a substantial decrease in weight, presenting notable ecological benefits, particularly during long-distance transportation.

Control and manage locking processes via app

The new Agent E BLE lets you use your smartphone as a digital key. The swinghandle, which is based on wireless technology, is controlled using the new, free “EMKA Smart Access Key” app. With smart access, the management software only grants controlled access to authorised personnel. This solution ensures the optimal security and convenience for server racks containing sensitive content. Complex key management and multi-key locking cylinders have become obsolete. The management of all access authorisations is conducted through a smartphone connected to the cloud infrastructure. This means that locking processes are controlled and documented entirely via the app.

Communication between the app and handle is based on Bluetooth® Low Energy (BLE). EMKA continues to offer the battery-operated, cable-guided, or wireless swinghandle Agent E, which can be opened using RFID cards. Like its predecessor, the new Agent E BLE can be used for almost all standard server racks on the market and is easy to install. The installation does not require any cabling in the racks, and ongoing operations can continue without interruption. The handles are also managed, and authorisations are assigned via the free “EMKA Smart Access Admin” app. This app is used to control handle management and user administration. Different authorisations can be assigned to allow permanent, temporary, or one-off locking processes.

This implies that service calls can be promptly and conveniently addressed as well. Prior to commencing, the user’s identity is verified. After successful login, a list of approved locks is available, depending on the authorisation.

After selecting and tapping the desired handle, the lever on the swinghandle opens after a short time and can be moved manually. The app also indicates when the swinghandle is locked again. Automatic push messages remind the user if they forget to close the rack.

The logging of access and access attempts enables optimum control and thus leads to increased security for the user. At the launch of the app (April 2024), only the Agent E BLE can currently be operated with it. EMKA also plans to expand the system to include all locking solutions from its well-known product range.

In order for switch, control, and server racks to fully serve their purpose, the appropriate locking solution is crucial. This includes protection against water, dirt, and dust, as well as safeguarding against break-ins and implementing seamless access control. World market leader EMKA offers numerous modular systems for the increasingly complex areas of application and increased requirements in various industries.