The larger the facility, the greater the benefits of standardization in door hardware. A prime example is the ever-expanding Detroit-based DaimlerChrysler Technical Center. The facility, which was planned almost 15 years ago with 7,500 doors, has almost tripled in size since then. Dedicated as the Chrysler Technology Center in 1981, the facility grew to become home to the company’s entire vehicle making functions, as well as its world headquarters. Among the functions and facilities housed within the complex are the design office, vehicle platform engineering and evaluation facilities, scientific laboratories and education center. At its dedication, the $1.1 billion, 4.4-million sq. ft. Auburn Hills complex was touted as the largest facilities investment in the corporation’s history. The technical center represented $900 million of the investment. After the merger of Europe’s largest industrial company and one of the America’s largest automotive manufacturers, Lynn Brancheau, CML, DaimlerChrysler physical security, a 30-year security veteran—18 for Chrysler and 14 years before Chrysler as a proprietary locksmith dealing with larger corporations doing locking hardware, specifying, early access control/burglar alarm systems—notes that the DC technical center covers is what is probably one of the largest areas under one roof.

Protecting Assets

Brancheau is directly responsible for all the lock/key systems, from choice of manufacturer through masterkey systems and the implementation/training everywhere. “Our policy states that we provide guidance regarding protection of the assets of the corporation, including it’s employees, facilities, tools and equipment, inventories, information and records, which all represent a major portion of the corporation’s total worth. I do what ever I can to meet those goals with locks/keys, door/frames, access control and other hardware to keep employees safe,” he says. Brancheau is responsible for all the cores/keys for all plants/sites across the country—as primary duty—and the related door hardware, the processes involved in choice of hardware, manufacturer of cores and keys, controls, implementation of new security products and site system designs.

Setting the Standards

When the Technical Center was being planned in 1985, Brancheau was involved in setting the standards for door hardware and related products. He opted to standardize on Grade 1 hardware and to work with a company that had a national service network in place. At the time, he found that Ingersoll-Rand’s Architectural Hardware Division—now IR Security and Safety—was moving in that direction. Also, the quality of the firm’s Von Duprin exit devices, Schlage locks, LCN door closers met the guideline he set for durability, compatibility and standardization. The nationwide aspect of service backup was an integral part of establishing the standards. According to Brancheau, “I specify for the company nationwide and I need a supplier that could respond nationwide. Ingersoll-Rand will write the specification, train the installers, inspect the job when it’s finished and send me a report on it. An operation this large requires outside vendor assistance as much as possible.” The standards Brancheau developed include Von Duprin EL exit devices for exterior doors with card readers to activate the electric latch retraction function for authorized users. While some magnetic stripe cards are still in use, the company is moving toward proximity cards for most applications. For the glass interior doors, Locknetics surface-mounted electromagnetic locks are used to control access to most areas. Schlage L9000 Series extra-heavy duty mortise locks are used on offices and most other interior doors with key locks. Other products commonly used throughout the building include LCN door closers and automatic door operators for handicapped access. “There are thousands of folks wandering through my doors and something happens to a share of unnecessary duplicates every month. We use HID prox cards nearly everywhere to cover the main entrances or major areas,” says Brancheau. “We are extending our central control for access control to all the parts depots as we speak. I am continuously upgrading doors and hardware to meet my standard. The most recent plan is to use prox locks, PDL3500 from Alarm Lock, Amityville, N.Y., on non- primary doors for local access control.”