4 Affordable Keyless Locker Solutions (and why you want them)

Why the Client Doesn’t Get to Hear About Keyless Locker Solutions

(Despite it saving them hours of labour after the fitout is complete)

Let us paint a picture before getting into the guts of this article. You’re a designer working on a new hospital that has a requirement for lockers. You have 500 staff who all require their own private locker. Your client needs lockers but the idea of managing keys has not even entered their consciousness, let alone conversation. You quickly Google “buy stylish metal lockers”, find an approximate price and start using the dimensions on your plans. Twelve months later, as suppliers are trying to provide pricing and win the deal, the question pops up. “Does the client want keyless lockers?” It’s too late now! You’ve already approximated the cost. The client already had to be convinced that the furniture schedule was necessary. Budget is already tight, there are now anticipated overruns in construction. The furniture items are the last cab off the rank. Thus, those in charge of getting the official prices to the architect and client aren’t even going to bother trying to explain the benefits of different lock systems. Regardless of how much easier they will make the next 10 years of staff access.

If this is a problem that seems eerily familiar, you are not alone. It’s a common problem that many faces throughout the supply chain, and that is not enough time and not enough readily available information. This article attempts to change the latter and assist with the former.

Keyless Lockers are the Future (and the future is now)

Beautiful and Expensive Locker Installation Using Ganter Hardwire Locks

Keyless Locking is the future for all locking systems. Not just lockers, but front doors, cars, even phones are moving away from physically typing in codes. The problem the locker industry faces is one of perception. When we ask if our customers want keyless locking, they generally respond in two ways. The first being, “oh, that would be nice”. The second being “I bet it costs too much though”.

The reason for this is in part due to marketing efforts by companies like Gantner and Metra Australia, where Keyless Locker systems are synonymous with hardwired, highly intelligent RFID smartcard locking systems. These companies make amazing locker systems with intuitive, integrative and intelligent features. But the last quote I did for 1500 doors with Gantner was in the ballpark of half a million dollars, and there are many projects that simply aren’t working with that kind of money.

It needn’t be that way. Is isn’t that way.

There are a variety of locking solutions that act as a stepping stone to the full-on hardwire solution both in function and tech. We’re going to go through them, with approximate pricing, below.

Why it’s better to have Keyless Lockers

  • Cost reduction in maintenance – no more lost keys or barrel replacement:

    • One of the worst cost offenders for key systems is replacement keys and replacement locks. While some of the better key systems allow for barrel exchange, this is somewhat of a bandaid solution as it only helps if someone loses the keys or leaves employment without returning keys. You can replace the barrel with lower costs associated with having a locksmith or the manufacturer deliver and install a new barrel. New keys tend to be a guaranteed additional and ongoing cost as users come and go, or administrators misplace locker keys. They’re pretty small and annoying to lose.
  • Cost reduction for locker administration – no more getting help to open a door:

    • Another cost reduction that is experience when installing keyless lockers is the staff cost. Using keys inevitably leads to responding to the “I’ve left my keys at home”. Now, many businesses will retain master key on site for this very reason. In fact, at Hi Tech Lockers we tend to recommend it even if our customers don’t think about it. But, sometimes the responsible person is hard to find. Keys are often stored securely, or in a distant, “central” admin location. One client of ours wasted 30 minutes per forgotten key, as it was in a large teaching hospital with difficult-to-find service staff. With 200 student lockers, this because an almost daily loss of productivity.
  • Improved user experience:

    • This is an often overlooked benefit. Keyless Lockers offer a user experience that keys simply can’t match. Firstly, did we mention, there are no keys? Your locker users want more keys like you want your phone battery to die.

      Want another locker key?

      Locker keys are small and fiddly and contribute to breaking people’s car ignitions. No keys on the other hand is very easy. Open door, insert or remove belongings, lock door. Oh by the way, it also looks better.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Better Security

    • Locker manufacturers will seldom tell you this, but standard cam key locks for the average lockers are made by the same companies that manufacture letter box locks. They are usually single wafer which means one thing. Easy to pick. Upgrading to Keyless Lockers addresses this issue.

Combination Padlocks for Retrofitting to a Keyless Locker

Price Range: $30 – $50 per user

Combination Padlock with Emergency Override Key

Combination Padlock with Emergency Override Key

Combination Padlocks are probably the most affordable way to upgrade a basic locker to a keyless locker. The price is per user as each person can have their own padlock which they can take home if the lockers are in a shared environment. Whilst you can buy cheap ones from Bunnings, at Hi Tech Lockers we prefer to sell high strength, 4 dial combination locks. They feature an emergency key override, just in case a user does forget their code. The code can also be changed once unlocked, by the user, at any time. Because it’s a padlock, this is a good option for retrofitting into existing locker banks as it will fit into any standard latch.

Mechanical Combination Locks for Battery-Free Keyless Lockers

Price Range: $40 – $80 per door

keyless-locker-combination-lock

3 Dial Combination Lock

Mechanical Combination Locks are a great, battery-free way to have a keyless locker. They have the same functionality as combination padlocks with one difference, they are fixed to the door. The code can be changed by the user and at Hi Tech Lockers we try to ensure ours feature built in safety measures like manual key overrides or code finding ability. There is nothing worse to a user than not being able to get their belongings. The price varies due to the quality of the lock. A low end combination lock might be made from ABS plastic housing, a higher end model will be a metal alloy. There are even combination locks that have scramble mode. Scramble mode prevents nearby users from seeing another users code, by automatically changing the code when its the lock is turned.

Battery Operated Combination Locks

Price Range: $100 – $200 per door

keyless-locker-digital-combination-lock

Digital Combination Lock in Public Access Mode

This is where the features really start to kick off. While many of the locks have a manual key override for technicians and administrators, the digital code is expressly for users. This is a great, user friendly way to have a keyless locker setup. Functionality is limited only by budget, while still remaining firmly more affordable than hardwired solutions. Do you want an automatic timer? There’s a lock for that. Do you want an audit trail of all door uses? There’s a lock for that. What about remote allocation of locks in a shared user environment? There. Is a Lock. For That.

While batteries have the inherent requirement to be replaced, battery power as well as lock power efficiency have been getting better. Many locks boast more than 10,000 uses before requiring changing.

Battery Operated Smart Card Locks

Price Range: $130 – $250 per door

rfid-keyless-locker-lock

Mifare Smart Card Lock

Battery operated smart card locks are truly the highest order of locks. With frequencies including HID and Mifare, provide as much customisation and functionality as digital combination locks, without the need for a code. Instead, the “code” is embedded in a card, much like a credit card. While this may not seem precisely like a keyless locker lock, in many cases the cards can be synced to existing staff or student access cards. These cards are utilised in other areas of a building or premises, making the lockers an extremely convenient to use addition to a facility. While the price may seem steep, this is still more affordable than the approximate $400-$500 per door cost associated with a hardwired system, without sacrificing the functionality you desire.

Conclusion

There are such a wide variety of keyless locker options available to suit all kinds of needs and budgets. Lock technology has been innovated and crafted to suit a variety of problems. If you have a problem you aren’t sure how to solve with your locker room locker access in Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne, get in touch with Hi Tech Lockers, for a free consultation and quote. We’re more than happy to help.

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