ANSI/BHMA A156.23-2017: Electromagnetic Locks

At a hotel, a brown door contains a secure ANSI/BHMA A156.23-2017 electromagnetic lock to lead into room.

ANSI/BHMA A156.23-2017: Electromagnetic locks is a standard for access control, as it sets guidelines for electromagnetic locks and details tests to assess their properties.

An electromagnetic lock, otherwise known as magnetic lock or maglock, consists of two primary parts: an electromagnet and an armature. The locking or unlocking of a door is carried out by the activation or deactivation of the electromagnet coupled to the armature, which is attracted to the energized component and resistant to being separated from the magnet.

Several types of electromagnetic lock mounting arrangements exist. Direct pull features the opening force being applied so the face of the door is directly opposed by the attraction of the magnet and armature perpendicularly. Shear lock involves the attraction between the electromagnet and armature moving one or the other into contact with each other and into a position where a third member prevents sliding separation between the two.

Furthermore, electromagnetic locks can be fail safe or fail secure, with the latter remaining locked when power is lost. As per NFPA 80-2016: Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives, fail secure strikes must be used for electric strikes on fire-rated doors.

ANSI/BHMA A156.23-2017 details definitions, explains identifying numbers for electromagnetic lock types, and provides typical illustrations and type number descriptions of electromagnetic locks.

The ANSI/BHMA A156.23-2017 standard also includes cyclical, dynamic, strength, and finish tests for electromagnetic locks, describing two classifications of tests: operational and security. The standard also indicates that the manufacturer is to indicate the grade level; a Grade 1 product should meet all Grade 1 criteria, a Grade 2 product all Grade 2 criteria, and Grade 3 all Grade 3 criteria.

ANSI/BHMA A156.23-2017: Electromagnetic locks is available on the ANSI Webstore.

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2 thoughts on “ANSI/BHMA A156.23-2017: Electromagnetic Locks
  1. In the above statement, “ Furthermore, electromagnetic locks can be fail safe or fail secure, with the latter remaining locked when power is lost.”, how can an electromagnetic lock work by remaining locked if no power is present?
    I have never seen an electromagnetic lock that is fail secure.

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