What Is a Mantrap Security Door?

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What Is a Mantrap Security Door?

Having to work in high-security areas where access to different people has to be controlled means that there is always a need for a better security solution. One of the solutions that are applicable at airports, banks, and other areas is a mantrap security door system.

A mantrap security door is a room with two pairs of doors. Once you enter the chamber, the other doors won’t unlock and open until the first doors are fully closed and locked. While a person is inside this room, the security has time to clear the person or to flag it and deny access to the area.

There are several types of mantrap security doors, but all of them work based on the same principle – granting access to the room, checking the credentials, and allowing the person to go through.

Basic Features of Mantrap Doors

To characterize a system as a mantrap door, it must contain two pairs of interlocking doors and a room in between them. Besides mantrap security doors, you may recognize this system by airlock, access control vestibules, or sally ports. 

There are two basic types of mantrap security doors – manual or automated operation. Manual operation means that you will need a person (guard) to operate the system – to lock and unlock both pairs of doors as someone comes and goes.

On the other hand, an automated system requires no human power, since it grants authorization by the person using a verification card, key, or typing an access code.

Either way, mantrap security doors are used to secure areas with high risks, like airports, banks, embassies, data centers, healthcare facilities, research laboratories, etc. Their main purpose is to control unauthorized access or to prevent contamination of sterile areas.

Types of Mantrap Security Doors

There are three types of mantrap security door systems that are used to control access to a specific area. These variations are the basic ones, meaning that some systems that are in use may have been upgraded.

Airlock System

Airlock system can be the perfect solution for all areas that require some basic security. This system works by having all the doors open until someone gets into the mantrap room. Once someone is inside, all the doors will be locked automatically.

To leave this room, a person must show some kind of verification document, like a key card, or to be cleared by a guard (this is the most common case for this type of mantrap security doors).

Airlock systems are very commonly used in bank branches, where a guard is usually clearing the customers, while the employees have a key card or an access code.

Restricted Entry/Unrestricted Exit

This type of mantrap security door requires you to show verification proof before you enter the mantrap room. In the previous system, you had to be inside the room to be cleared, in this system, you are outside and proving that you have access to the room.

Once you are cleared at the entry door, either by a guard or showing your ID card, key card, or entering verification code, the first door will open granting you access to the room. At this point, the second pair of doors remain locked. 

The second doors will unlock allowing you to go through only when the first doors are fully closed and locked. This way there is a security window that makes sure only people with a granted access will enter the area.

Restricted Entry/Restricted Exit

This combination of rules grants the highest level of security and is used in areas where you need to have full and double-checked control of who is entering an area. This type of mantrap door is usually used at airports, bank safes, deposits, and places where there is a high risk of burglary, attack, contamination, etc.

All the doors are locked at all times, which is different compared to the airlock system of mantrap doors, where all the doors are unlocked until someone steps into the room.

To get access to the mantrap room, you will need to provide a keycard, enter a code, maybe leave your fingerprints, or use other biometrics. Once you do so, the doors will open and let you in.

Once the doors are fully closed and locked, you will have to enter credentials to be allowed to exit the mantrap room. If the credentials are invalid, the access will be denied and a guard will be alerted someone was locked in the mantrap.

More advanced types of this system are able to detect the number of people who have entered the mantrap room. All mantraps are allowing only one person at a time, meaning that if the system detects more than one person, you will not be able to leave the mantrap.

Things to Consider about Mantrap Security Doors

Although mantrap doors can significantly reduce the cost of the manpower required to secure an area, there is a high initial cost that has to be taken into consideration. Mantrap doors can cost from $30.000 to $60.000 each, depending on how many features you would like to have. 

Besides this cost, don’t forget that mantrap doors come already premade, meaning that you will need to adjust your object for them to be installed, not the other way around. Usually, this means some construction work and additional costs.

Also, don’t think that the mantrap doors are the best security solution per se. Of course that the system provides a requested level of security, but only if you are looking for securing areas where people shouldn’t have access.

If you want to control the flow of people in the bank, then yes, this system is good for you. But if your primary concern is to protect the employees, other bulletproof solutions may be the better option for you. 

Mantraps are designed to allow one person at a time, but sometimes if the system cannot autodetect the number of people inside, you would still have to hire someone to monitor the mantrap.

Another thing you need to have in mind is that mantrap doors can operate only if there is electricity. The issue that can happen here is that you have someone trapped inside during a power outage. You will need to have backup plans developed for situations like this. 

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