Importance of the keyTag in physical Key Management Systems
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Contactless vs contact based systems
Humidity, grease, and dirt are natural enemies of electrical systems; abrasion and corrosion are common reasons for breakdown especially within electrical connectors. Critical systems should have sealed connectors to prevent corrosion and premature failure.
Within a system where people handle the contact part, it just isn’t possible to protect the electrical contact surface. Any contact based identification system will fail if there is something between the contact and the identifier. This is one of the reasons why the access control industry moved to proximity cards, and the banking industry is moving to contactless smart cards.
What is RFID?
In brief there are two parts to the acronym RFID which stands for Radio Frequency and Identification. Quite simply it means you can identify an item by means of radio waves. You are probably already using one of the most common applications for RFID within your access control system, often generically referred to as a proximity or smart card. Indeed many credit cards now include RFID on the card as a method for fast and reliable payment.
What does this mean for key management and the identification of the keyTag? Well, because a radio wave is not affected by harsh physical environmental conditions, it eliminates the need for physical electrical contacts.
Being “Contact-Free” the radio wave can penetrate most non-metallic materials and by its very nature unlike contact based systems means there is no wear and tear of electrical parts. Again a typical common use that is fast disappearing is the old swipe card used for access control and credit cards where the daily constant swiping action through the reader caused endless problems with wear and tear. Dirt and damage on the card all took its toll, with RFID all this is eliminated.
Historical Background on Key Management
Many key management systems often used what is known as a Dallas Touch Chip, the primary reason being that its low cost and technically easy to read the unique ID by 1 data wire and ground. This means that the cost of the reading mechanism is low. These devices are essentially, touch memories.
Being contact based they require metal to metal electrical contact. This contact is best compared to an audio jack. The keyTag contains memory which is electrically connected to the metal housing. The housing has a plastic ring separating the two electrical connections. When it is inserted into the cabinet, metal spring contacts mate with the surface to provide power and read the identification number of the chip.
Failure of the keyTag can cause signification problems to a business.
• Can result in failure to be able to remove a key from the cabinet.
• Failure to identify when a key tag was returned
• Replacement costs extend beyond the device itself, to new seals, losses to the business as a direct result of not having access to a key.
RFID is inherently more reliable than contact identification and is why deister key management systems use RFID keyTags to provide maximum operational life with minimum cost.
If you have fitted a button battery to your watch, the packaging will clearly say “Do not touch the surface of the battery,” the reason being that grease from your hands will create an electrical resistance on the surface. Likewise, have you ever had to tap a torch on a bench to make it work, this is because the springs have slightly oxidized and may prevent electrical contact with the battery.
Integrated one time use seal and reusable key ring
Having a one time seal mechanism integrated into the keyTag sounds like an obvious and practical idea as it often avoids costly 3rd party devices. However, this simple approach also means that the key or bunch of keys is kept a close as possible to the keyTag. This reduces the hanging length when keys are stored in the cabinet thereby reducing the risk of keys cluttering the keys below. The integrated seal and key ring combined with the offset slot positions in deister cabinets reduces tangling of keys. Reducing tangling is a simple idea with many subtle benefits that ultimately makes the system easier to use and keeps operating costs to a minimum.
We offer a full lifetime warranty on the keyTag. Deister Electronic will replace any proxSafeTM keyTag when it is no longer possible to be identified by the system.
Q: Which products are covered?
A: The lifetime warranty covers proxSafeTM keyTags.
Q: How long are products covered?
A: For as long as the original buyer owns the proxSafeTM product. Original proof of purchase is required to receive warranty service.
Q: What is not covered?
A: This warranty does not cover products that have been misused, abused, or modified in any way.