Ruggedized or Special Application Card Readers? Yes, There are Differences

One of the common misconceptions about access control card readers is they are not always appropriate for all applications. Because most readers are designed for interior access and moderate exterior applications, they do not fit every use case so it is best to review the “use case” to determine your best reader selection. Of course there has to be compatibility with the credential technologies in order to provide the end user with a common performance standard regardless of where the reader is positioned. Environmental considerations discussed with the end user for both interior and exterior applications should be evaluated for a proper use case.

What are Ruggedized or Special Application Readers?
While most readers have some weather and vandal resistance capability, specialized readers are specifically designed to withstand extreme environments and the best investment for a long term application solution.

Typical Industries and Environments Requiring Rugged Card Readers
Access readers can easily survive interior office environments. However, installations that require durability from either harsh usage or harsh environments must provide sustained performance over an extended time. Here a few industry examples requiring careful thought and selection.

  • Airports
    • Low profile stainless exterior vandal resistant for interior
    • Sturdy exterior for vandal and tamper resistant, harsh wear and tear, extreme weather exposures, de-icing chemicals & jet fuel, dirt , and grime.
  • Educational Institutions
    • Stainless exterior, low profile vandal tamper resistant, external weather exposures
  • Dormitories
    • Stainless exterior low profile vandal and tamper resistant, external weather exposures
  • Marine
    • Stainless for external weather exposures, corrosion from salt air, water resistance
  • Manufacturing
    • Stainless exterior, vandal resistant, ruggedized for harsh use, possible exposure to chemicals.
  • Correctional Facilities
    • Stainless exterior, low profile, vandal and tamper resistant, ruggedized for harsh use
  • Behavioral Health Facilities
    • Stainless interior and exterior, very low profile (anti-ligature), vandal and tamper resistant

Top Considerations in Card Readers
There are many viewpoints of what should comprise a rugged reader, so not every manufacturer will offer the same features. Here are some top questions to use to assess a product’s ability to meet your application.

  • What kind of real-world environments can it withstand?
  • What kind of weather can it withstand?
  • How robust is it?
  • What are the performance levels?
  • How far can it read?

A Potential Challenge with Ruggedized Readers
Vandal-resistant readers can have a reduced read range depending upon the application created by the very attributes that make it ruggedized.

Essex solves this issue with iRox™ and iRox Plus™, heavy duty, smart card readers with Genuine HID Technology™. Built to last with enhanced antenna designs can increase the read range of HF products as much as 4-inches. Their IP66 rated readers incorporate stainless steel vandal resistant construction, epoxy encapsulated electronics, audiovisual feedback, and modern low profile design. iRox™ features iCLASS SE® which is capable of reading all HID 13.56MHz high-frequency formats. iRox™Plus with MultiCLASS SE® adds 125kHz Proximity for dual frequency installations.

Compatible with most OEM access control panels, Essex rugged card readers provide superior performance in vandal prone areas and extreme climate conditions. Call Essex to request more information.

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