Magazine

High-Speed Doors Allow No Time For Unauthorized Garage Access

By Kurt Angermeier

When the University of Southern California (USC) Trojan basketball team battles it out at the Galen Center in LA, upwards of 10,000 fans pack the arena to cheer them on. In-between these games at this 255,000-square-foot multiuse facility; volleyball matches, concerts and many special events also take place in an often-packed house.

A lot of basketball fans means a lot of vehicles, and many of them

park at a nearby garage operated by USC, as do those going to the LA Memorial Coliseum.

When the stands are filled at both venues, the doors leading in and out of this parking structure stay open before, during and after the event. Throughout that time, ticket takers are stationed at the doorways.

On non-game days, there are no staffed booths at these garage doorways. Four automatically operated rollup doors provide security by opening and closing at a rapid speed of 60 inches per second as vehicles pass through, while tightly sealing the doorway between each.

Along with the university’s education and research missions, security and safety are important for USC. Its Department of Public Safety (DPS), led by Executive Director and Chief John Thomas, employs about 300 full-time personnel, along with contract security and 30 part-time workers, to serve the 40,000 students, 23,600 faculty and staff, and scores of visitors at the two campuses, in south and east LA.

High-speed doors, such as those by Rytec here on the USC main campus parking facility, and across the country, provide security by denying access to unauthorized people.

In the absence of staffed booths at the entrance to the parking structure, a brace of cameras monitors its doorways. “Still,” as former USC Chief of Campus Security Carey Drayton noted, “all automated, unmanned parking structure doorways have to deal with the problem of ‘piggybacking.’”

This security field term describes what happens when intruders time the interval between the vehicle passing through the doorway and the door closing, and then slip into the building..

“The speed of the rollup doors makes them think twice about piggybacking,” he said, “and discourages them from using the parking structures as possible crime sites.”

The garage door opens so fast that the vehicle can glide in and out of the parking structure without stopping to wait for the door to open. At an operating speed of 60 inches per second, once a vehicle passes through the doorway, the door is tightly closed in under two seconds.

The structure also provides monthly rental parking for USC students, staff and faculty who access buildings on the main campus.

The university has set up a system to limit access to parking garage. As vehicles approach the doorway, the door’s control system detects an RFID chip, provided by USC, in an adhesive strip attached to the car’s rearview mirror. Faculty, staff and students are also given a key card to get back into the building through card-reader-accessible pedestrian doors.

As the vehicle approaches, the RFID reader mounted directly above the door detects the chip from as far as 10 feet away and then opens the door if the car is authorized. Even with the vehicle that close to the doorway, the high-speed door is fully opened as the driver enters the garage. Electronics in the door’s control box coordinate door operation with the detection system.

As well as protecting garage tenants, the high speed protects the door itself. When traffic patterns near the doorway are tight, the rapid operation prevents approaching vehicles from hitting the door panel and damaging it.

Also, the door controller’s programmed menu options allow the USC maintenance crew to easily adjust door operation to match the specific needs of each location, while self-diagnostic capabilities help keep maintenance-time to a minimum.

In addition, these doors roll up into a tight bundle to make it a perfect fit for parking garage applications where headroom is sparse. Space along the side is spared as well. The door guides mount to the inside wall, providing full access to the doorway.

The rollup door, when closed, reinforces doorway security for both vehicles and drivers because of its rigid aluminum slat construction and integrated locking system. The rollup design has no metal-to-metal contact and does not create a racket when operating.

A durable rubber membrane connects the slats, which run along galvanized steel side frames with full-height weatherproofing. This creates a complete seal against debris blowing into the parking structure to

reduce cleanup.

If a vehicle or pedestrian happens to be in the doorway, standard dual photo eyes prevent the door from closing. This safety system is backed by a reliable, pressure-sensitive edge that causes the door to reverse instantly upon contact.

“Fortunately, the bad guys don’t know this,” said former Chief Drayton, “and they are not, in their minds, going to risk getting crushed by a speeding heavy-duty door panel.”

When garage tenant safety is a concern in an unstaffed parking facility, a high-speed door can provide round-the-clock protection for automated doorways and free up security personnel to cover other areas of the complex.



Kurt Angermeier, Vice President of Marketing for Rytec Corp., can be reached at kangermeier@rytecdoors.com.



 

Article Abstract from December, 2013




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