Interview with Ulrich Rotenhagen on the subject of ePED technology

Elegant design and new functions for escape door control systems

Rescue and escape routes are an essential part of any building. How effective the compromise is between safety on the one hand and securing doors against misuse on the other depends on the escape route technology installed.

With the latest ePED technology from ASSA ABLOY (electrically controlled Panic Exit Device), building operators, planners and architects have a range of new options. Ulrich Rotenhagen has been the Product Manager for Escape Route Technology at ASSA ABLOY Sicherheitstechnik GmbH for 30 years and explains the function and advantages of the technology here in an interview. 

Why did ASSA ABLOY develop the ePED technology?

For us, ePED technology represents the next generation of escape route technology. EN 13637 was already taken into account during the development phase.

Based on this EN standard, escape doors can be secured more effectively against misuse. The standard provides uniform requirements for products for the latest security concepts and offers greater freedom in product design in escape route technology.

After the harmonisation, the EN 13637 will no longer represent "state-of-the-art", but will be compulsory in most European countries.

How exactly did you use the freedom offered by the new standard?

The goal is to create a complete system that fulfils all requirements for an escape route door in one functional unit. 

Previously, the components on an escape route door consisted of a lock and fitting, as well as an escape-route securing system with magnet and emergency button. Four individual components that are not necessarily connected with each other functionally.

During the development of the ePED technology, we placed great importance on this system-orientated approach of a complete escape door system and combined the individual functions in a comprehensive solution.

What is special about ePED technology?

ePED offers three key advantages of the DIN EN 13637 in terms of securing escape doors.

The first is the combination of different technology elements into a complete solution on the door. Mechanical locking, securing the door and emergency actuation can even be combined in a single product, for example – as demonstrated by our controlled ePED push bar with integrated display terminal due to be launched on the market End 2020.

The second advantage is the linking of the escape door technology function with our Hi-O bus system, enabling the door to be controlled via the Hi-O bus system and new components to be mounted on the door.

The third advantage of the standard offered by the ePED technology is the time-delayed release control on an escape door. Because a delayed release is an extremely critical application in terms of safety, the reasons for this option must be defined on an individually basis.

The option does not mean that a delay is allowed in all cases. Two versions are generally possible: a locally controlled release with a delay of up to 15 seconds and a centrally controlled delay via the central escape-door control system. A delay of up to 180 seconds is possible here." 

What is the advantage of a central escape-door control system?

The central escape-door control system is also an intention of EN 13637: An escape door doesn't just consist of a single escape door, but is usually a route out of a building that leads through several doors. 

With a central control, all escape doors in a building are linked via Ethernet, so the system no longer consists of the products on a single door, but the components of all escape doors.

With our ePED products, we offer a technology that can be used in this type of central escape-door control system.

What ePED solutions does ASSA ABLOY offer specifically?

Our ePED technology includes a complete product range in different levels. 

We offer the ePED standard terminal in switch design, as well as the ePED display terminal in combination with an escape-door locking system and the controlled push bar with integrated locking and display terminal.

Our display with touch function is unique on the market.

This development was also inspired by EN 13637: We wanted to create a technology that can integrate all operating functions of the escape route terminal conveniently and in a user-friendly way."

What users are ASSA ABLOY targeting with the ePED technology?

Users who generally benefit from an escape door locking device. These include building operators who want to prevent escape doors from being misused. This ranges from the usually shortened exit routes for company personnel, intentional and unintentional use of the door by external visitors, through to preventing theft. 

Another target group for escape door locking devices with the option of time delay are operators of nurseries and institutions from the health and care sector, such as homes for the elderly and dementia facilities. Here, vulnerable people can be prevented from leaving the building unnoticed.

A completely different usage area for time-delayed escape door locking devices are large public buildings, such as museums, event locations or airports, for example. Security personnel usually work on-site here, who can intervene immediately in the event of misuse.

Why choose ePED?

The two main functional differences compared with conventional escape door locking devices are the time-delayed escape door release and increased burglary prevention if the controlled ePED push bar is combined with a suitable lock. 

With the ePED technology, we offer even more advantages for target groups that could be extremely relevant in the decision-making process: The Hi-O bus system enables building operators to remain flexible in the use of their premises and doors. Changes in requirements can be implemented easily with new components on the door and a networked system can be expanded easily. A mechanical push bar and a suitable mechanical lock from the ASSA ABLOY OneSystem range can be upgraded with a controlled ePED push bar, for example, if a lead cover is equipped on the door.
This flexibility is also an advantage for planners, even with new builds. If uses only become apparent in detail later, doors can be repurposed securely and quickly with ePED technology.

In addition to building operators and planners, the new design of the display terminal and the smaller dimensions also appeals to architects in particular. The system can be integrated elegantly in the push bar or on the wall next to the escape door and is much more subtle than previous terminals.

But even more importantly: Four modules of our traditional escape route terminal are integrated in the display, focussing the functions on a single element. The illuminated LED frame on the wall version is also clearly visible even in adverse conditions such as smoke.

Installation of the ePED push bar is also easier, as all functions are included in one element. The push bar is the easiest to install: A 24V connection in the lead cover is all that is required here.

How is the new ePED display being received on the market and where is it already in use?

We have presented the touch display at several exhibitions. The design was well received here, particularly among architects.

But the connection options to networked systems and building control systems via the Hi-O bus were also seen as a major advantage.

The display terminal is already in use in various pilot projects and the version for wall mounting has been available since early 2020