There are lots of padlocks on the market but which ones are right for your lockers?
We look at the different types available and the benefits and pitfalls with each type. The first thing to be aware of is that size really does matter when it comes to padlocks.
If the body and shackle are too large then it won't fit in the door lock or it can act as a lever to break into the locker.
Too small and it probably won't work at all. Typically we recommend a body size between 32mm and 40mm and a shackle dimension between 6 and 7mm. D
Don't be too worried about paying more for a high security rating, if someone really wants to get in your locker then they will be able to with the right tools.
Like anything, quality does speak volumes but there are some budget gems out there too. Below we look at some of these.
If you are buying a lot of padlocks that take keys make sure you check how many are in the series before you get a duplicate otherwise you could end up with lots of padlocks that open with the same key.
Iron padlocks really are as cheap as it gets with prices starting from only £1.39 each. The don't look too bad either, the dark grey slate colour looks quite smart and because they are Iron they are pretty robust. The internal mechanisms vary depending on what Chinese factory they are made in but on the whole they perform pretty well, especially at this price.
The main downside is that Iron has a reputation for being cheap and as such puts many people off. They can also only be used indoors as outside they will dissolve within weeks. They are also rather heavy.
Brass padlocks are the mainstay of padlocks worldwide. Almost everywhere you go you'll find a trusty brass padlock keeping guard of someone's prized belongings. The main reason for their popularity is simple, they are strong and cheap. Whilst not quite as cheap as iron, brass padlocks are great value and will perform perfectly in most locker areas.
The main downside with brass is the variation in quality from manufacturer to manufacturer . We were once able to open a sample sent to us with a spoon.
By far our best buy in this range is the excellent Yale 40mm brass padlock with three keys. These are brilliant quality padlock and great value.
This type of combination padlock is very popular in the UK with schools, gyms and industry. What you may not know is this style of lock hides a dark secret. Some bright spark decided to advertise to the world how to bring up the code in seconds. This revelation has affected the vast majority of locks on the market and despite the security issues very little has been done to address this. Even before this issue combination locks had a tendency to jam up and fail. Depending on the brand these padlocks can be very expensive and still suffer with the same flaws
Luckily most people are blissfully aware of these issues and as such users are still pretty safe, but it only takes one as they say.
Fans of films like Oceans eleven will love this lock as it works in the same way as a safe lock, everyone else however will hate them, they are fiddly to operate and it's very easy to select the wrong code. Children seem to get on with this lock better than adults which is ironic since they have been around for decades are as retro as a prawn cocktail.
On the plus side thieves will struggle as much as you to get into the lock.
Stylish high quality number plates for your lockers
Our range of stylish locker number plates has been deigned by us to enhance the look of any locker. Available in Traffolyte (a form of plastic), Stainless steel or brass they will protect the locker door from scratches and will help users identify their lockers by number.
Our number plates are supplied with a strong self adhesive backing which will adhere to most surfaces and you choose from different lock cut outs to suit either Assa or Ojmar/Ronis locking mechanisms.
Our Traffolyte plate offer fantastic value for money and is available in 8 striking colours including, white, blue, red, green, black grey, orange and yellow. The number is engraved into the material rather than stuck on and the plate in precision cut using state of the art machines.
The Strongest primary school lockers on the market
Our product team were tasked with designing the ultimate primary school locker. The brief was simple, where are the weak points on all other school lockers and what could we do change that.
Most steel lockers are constructed using pop rivets, these are great but over time rivets can work loose or come away altogether weakening the locker and ultimately leading to structural failure.
The best way to avoid this issue is to remove the rivets altogether and to weld the frame together. This makes the locker much stronger and much more resistant to force.
The other weak point is the door itself, even if the door has a central stiffener its is still susceptible to damage from force or even heavy general use.
The obvious solution was to use solid grade laminate for the doors, it's a material that is virtually unbreakable with normal use. It's water resistant, shockproof and is available in a huge range of colours and designs.
To ensure maximum protection of the carcass we overlaid the doors on top of the frame. This ensures that the frame is completely covered and protected when the door is closed. It also gives the lockers a clean contemporary finish.
To complete the look and to add total strength we recommend fitting laminate end panels to the end of runs.
Our complete range of primary school lockers including our Ultimate laminate range have been designed from the ground up to suit the storage needs of children from each key stage. We have worked directly with primary schools to ensure that our lockers work perfectly in the real world and that each compartment is large enough to stow all their belongings.
Our Ultimate range are supplied with a chunky turn handle which is easy for children of all ages to use.
From March 2017, we welcome the new twelve-sided one pound coin into circulation.
Counterfeiting is currently a huge problem in the UK and the one pound coin is the most popular choice with criminals.
Experts believe that as many as one in thirty, one pound coins in circulation are fake, that equates to around 50 million coins in the nations handbags and pockets.
The new coin has been designed to be very difficult to copy, due it’s new twelve-sided shape. The new coin will also be bimetallic - the outer ring is gold coloured (nickel-brass) and the inner ring is silver coloured (nickel-plated alloy) just like the £2 coin. There will be a period of around six months when both coins will be in circulation, which will be followed by and amnesty period where the public will be asked to swap coins over at their local Post Office or bank.
It’s great that the government are taking on the criminals, but what does that mean for us, the operators of equipment that will require modification.
It will only affect you if your lockers take a £1 coin, and even if this is you it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to fix.
All lockers are relatively easy to modify and they will take a range of different lock types without the need for a degree in engineering, in fact there are plenty of options to keep your lockers operational once the new coin is in use. I have listed a few below.
Replace your coin locks with new compatible coin locks
All the major lock manufacturers such as L&F, Assa, Ojmar and Kaba have all launched compatible coin locks. These locks take both the new and old coin and will replace what you already have seamlessly. The only downside is the price. Replacing all our locks could prove expensive.
Convert your existing coin locks
Assa have designed a conversion kit for their classic range of coin locks. This will convert your existing locks to take the new coin. This is a cheaper solution than replacing all your locks but only Assa locks will benefit and it could take quite a while to convert them all.
Change your locks to take a key or padlock
A popular choice will be to remove your coin locks and replace with a lock that simply takes a key or padlock. Plenty of gyms and health clubs now use a padlock system and it will be a much more cost effective solution. Just ensure you buy your parts from someone who knows what they are doing as there are lots of locks out there that won’t fit.
With advances in battery technology, electronic locker locks are fast becoming the lock of choice for gyms and health clubs worldwide. You could go for a simple keypad which the user operates by entering their choice of code or if you want to truly utilise technology you could choose the RFID version where your members can operate a locker using their membership card. Prices are coming down fast too with some electronic locks starting from under £30. There are some poor-quality locks swilling around the market at the moment so if something either looks too cheap or it’s not from a major brand then it may best to give it a wide berth. It’s also worth noting that electronic locks don’t fare well in humid or chlorinated areas. If this is you then you should be looking at the L&F 3781 lock which has been designed specifically to deal with harsh environments.
Old one pound sized tokens
If you are on a tight budget, then why not use a £1 sized token. It’s the cheapest way to keep your lockers operational after the new coin goes into circulation. You will need a decent stock of tokens and someone behind reception all the time to give them out. You will also need to put a sticker over the lock to show it takes a token or you’ll have lots of new £1 coins stuck in locks and unhappy customers. It would be wise for gym operators to charge for use of a token as it offers an incentive to return the token after use.
As you can see there are plenty of ways manage this depending on your time and budget and it may be an opportunity to get your lockers working better for you and your customers.
We expect the market to be very busy from January 2017 onwards and lock manufacturers are suggesting that there will be extended lead times on some related products next year.
One word of caution, there are lots of people entering the market claiming to be experts in locker parts and maintenance. We took the opportunity to mystery shop a few of them and every single one that we spoke to suggested that changing locks for entirely new ones was the only solution when as you can see there are plenty of other ways.
The best way to save time, money and stress levels is to speak to company that sells locker parts and has experience in lock conversions and locker maintenance.