A typical gatehouse at a large factory or other establishment always needed a large back wall on which to hang all the various keys that were used throughout the site. But even with the advent of card and token access solutions, some keys are still essential today to secure certain equipment, vehicles, rooms and document cabinets. So management of keys has moved into the 21st century and now utilizes RF technology to keep track of them. In a hospital environment, this advent from deister electronic has provided a neat and cost-effective solution to a tiresome task.
A high-security hospital in Haar near Munich, Germany, houses and treats psychologically ill criminals. In this environment, both staff and other patients would potentially be at risk should a patient not be contained within the secure ward and therapy areas. There can be up to 120 patients present at any one time, spread over 6 wards, and security there is of the utmost importance of course.
For this reason, no keys are allowed to leave the premises and, until recently, the issuing and recovery of keys were done manually and took a considerable amount of time and effort. In particular, certain departments, such as the forensic department for example, needed complete control of their own keys, granting access only to a special group of people of their choice. Signing for keys on a list and returning them afterwards used to be a time-consuming and not really secure process, and always demanded the presence of another person - a security guard or watchman - who had the ‘master' key.
Keeping Tabs on Keys
The solution to such intense key management was found in an integrated Proxsafe installation. This system enables full issuance control and accounting of all keys, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. A particular benefit of the online Proxsafe system is that it can provide detailed reporting and enables the hospital to track the movements of any key either by time, by date or by user. Each key is attached to a unique electronic tag using tamper-proof steel rings and a single-use seal. The tags are inserted and mechanically locked into a proxSafe cabinet until authorized for use. They are watertight and can be used over and over again.
As the tags communicate by RF with the cabinet, there is no wear and tear on contacts and a little dirt does no harm. 125 kHz credentialing technology has also been embedded in the hospital's tags for added security.
Simple and Effective
The effort required to administer the keys has now been greatly reduced. It is no longer necessary to keep a book and get everyone to sign keys in and out again, and sometimes even to find out who still has the missing key. As a result, the efficiency of the security staff and security in general have both been significantly improved.
For this particular installation in an unusual environment, all that was required to fulfill the hospital's requirements was one Proxsafe maxx cabinet. This can hold up to 32 keys or key bundles and can be simply expanded as needs grow by adding more cabinets up to a maximum configuration of 32,000 key slots in one system. The self-closing roller shutter system protects the whole cabinet from unauthorized access and, almost coincidentally, also saves working space as there are no large doors to swing open.
Access to the keys is now controlled by the Proxsafe Commander software. This provides easy key management as well as allowing simple alterations to authorization levels. The same software also calls up the usage reports to be printed. Open interfaces are available, which permit the transfer of data to other management systems over a network, thereby enabling the integration of the proxSafe system into a global security concept.
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