VETERAN OWNED AND OPERATED
CONTACT US: (304)553-3888 | inquiry@wvaacs.com

VETERAN OWNED AND OPERATED
CONTACT US: (304)553-3888 | inquiry@wvaacs.com

About AACS

WE TAKE SECURITY SERIOUSLY.

For AACS, security is personal.

WE TAKE SECURITY SERIOUSLY.

For AACS, security is personal.

Located in Looneyville WV, American Access Control Systems takes security personally. After years of in-depth and dedicated research and development, AACS developed a security portal system that addressed the real world needs from the security portal end user perspective. This means that AACS does everything differently, from manufacturing every component in the US contributing to 18,000 US jobs, to factory assembly and testing to eliminate the need for time-consuming in the field modifications.

We pride ourselves on providing unparalleled technical support. In the event of any question or difficulty, the on-site technician can download the data from the Main Control Terminal (MCT) and email the file to AACS for a complete analysis of the problem.

Located in Looneyville WV, American Access Control Systems takes security personally. After years of in-depth and dedicated research and development, AACS developed a security portal system that addressed the real world needs from the security portal end user perspective. This means that AACS does everything differently, from manufacturing every component in the US contributing to 18,000 US jobs, to factory assembly and testing to eliminate the need for time-consuming in the field modifications.

We pride ourselves on providing unparalleled technical support. In the event of any question or difficulty, the on-site technician can download the data from the Main Control Terminal (MCT) and email the file to AACS for a complete analysis of the problem.

We understand the importance of high-level security and do not take anything for granted.

We understand the importance of high-level security and do not take anything for granted.

AN INTERVIEW WITH THE OWNER OF AMERICAN ACCESS CONTROL SYSTEMS

AN INTERVIEW WITH THE OWNER OF AMERICAN ACCESS CONTROL SYSTEMS

How long have you been in business?

The research for the correct components to use began in 2004, the actual business (AACS) was started in 2008.

At that time of you working for other security portal companies, what were your observations?

While working for another security portal company I had the opportunity to repair and install many different makes and models of security portals. They all had similar “problems”, they were difficult to install ranging from pieces not lining up requiring field modifications to adjustments of various sensors. Once the portal was installed, parts were difficult to obtain requiring downtime for a portal to be extensive (sometimes a month or longer), and there was a 40% chance that the new part was defective upon arrival.

What was the opportunity you saw to start your own company?

While working for another company, I listened to the end users wants, needs and complaints.

The end users wanted a portal that was easy to repair, readily available spare parts, and most of all they wanted a portal that was manufactured in the US with US parts. The needs varied from end user to end user. They wanted so many variations of the way the portal operated that required the European manufacturers to change their programs in their main controls and many times they didn’t get it right the first time so time was lost waiting on the correct programming.

The biggest complaint the end users and integrators had is they simply didn’t like doing business with the existing companies.

Was it just the products or were the business terms and service an issue as well?

All of the above, currently there are a limited number of manufacturers for this product. This environment has fueled the arrogance displayed by them. Just for example if you asked the manufacturer for a quote ( a different manufacturer than the one that failed) they would want to know where the quote was for, their next move would be giving you a high quote then contacting the end user giving them a much lower quote if they purchased from them.

Describe your design philosophy regarding the portals.

My design philosophy was the KISS method (Keep It Simple Stupid). The existing portals on the market are difficult to install and service. I wanted the portal to be easy to install, all of the cabin parts needed to fit together with no field modifications, all sensors needed to be simple to set up and not affected by the environment.

What problems in the market and in your initial prototypes drove you to make a “better” portal?

I started with making the installation as simple as possible, all parts mate up with their corresponding parts so no field modifications are needed. The portals are assembled in the factory to ensure everything fits properly. All glass components are pre-glazed into steel frames so the installation crew can insert the glass components and secure them. The top of the cabin has all required components installed and ready to set on top of the cabin. The “electronic” panel is pre-wired and labeled so the installation crew can “plug and play”. Once the units are assembled in the factory they are tested and adjusted. This allows for a quick installation and a much shorter time from the beginning of the installation and the portal being placed into operation. The units DO NOT require a pit to be cut in the facilities floor.

One portal was designed to mount to an existing swing door frame, this eliminated the need for an extensive site preparation. The in-factory assembly (the units are not shipped assembled), combined with the testing ensures the portal can be assembled on site in a timely manner thus eliminating a time consuming set up required by other manufacturers. The AACS portals can be installed and placed into operation in 1.5 to 2 days.

What are the top 3 time-intensive steps? How do you plan for a part being broken on arrival?

Most of my competitors’ products require a “pit” to be dug into the floor of the facility, AACS portals are surface applied eliminating the need for a pit.

The competition ships their product in several pieces requiring a few days for assembly, AACS portals are shipped with all components already installed eliminating the need to install components in the field.

Setup for the competitors’ product requires extensive time which can vary depending on the experience level of the technicians. AACS portals are plug and play, they may require a few adjustments but for the most part they are ready to put into operation in 1.5 to 2 days from the beginning of the installation.

Spare components are at the factory and can be shipped when a part is broken or damaged.

AACS is always looking for ways to improve their portals, everything from programming changes, sensor upgrades, and mechanical improvements. After a very high traffic (150,000 cycles month through 6 portals) AACS started monitoring the portals for possible upgrades to improve their performance. The portals were outperforming the competitors in every area, cycles between service calls, 346,000 compared to an average of 50,000 for one and 20,000 for another. But there was room for improvements to reduce the service call rate. The sensors were changed from infrared to laser to prevent false positive created by ambient light, the tailgating detection system was changed to laser-based as well. The drive system has gone through some major engineering changing from a “rack and pinion” to a direct drive system. Wear items such as the bottom guides were changed from ones that required changing when they were at “end of life” to bottom guides that could be lubricated at regular intervals such as during inspections. The end results produced a portal that was extremely easy to install, reliable, and cost effective.

Moving forward, what other major features will you be working on?

Currently the AACS portals have bi-parting doors, these allow for a high throughput while staying within the safety standards for door speed. This feature cost more to manufacture due to the cost of a custom gearbox with dual, counter rotating output shafts.

AACS will be introducing portals that have single slide doors, this will reduce cost but will also reduce throughput.

Another product that is in the early design stages is a security revolver.

What do integrators and value added resellers (VAR) struggle with?

All integrators and VARs struggle with pleasing the architects, they want their project to look great, they don’t care about the products performance. The integrators and the VARs job is to provide them with both, good looks and performance.

We address this need, making the portals available in all RAL colors as well as stainless steel finishes.

What do they like and not like about the products they work with and what features are they looking for?

The current “Industry Giant” uses a Bluetooth connection to communicate with their portals. The integrators like this because it allows the technician to “push” programming changes and operate the portal without a direct connection. This is good in one respect but bad in so many ways, it leaves the portals subject to hacking, this seems to negate the concept of security in my opinion.

Dislikes are many, they hate doing business with them, the most common complaint is the do not like them or doing business with them. They require the integrators and VARs to provide them with the names of potential customers and then contact them and make the sale thus taking the project away from them. They then contact a local company to do the install and service.

Their portals are difficult to install and service, parts have a long lead time and that often leaves a portal down for an extended period. In one facility near one of my installations the facility manager wanted to check my portals out, the facility has several of my competitor’s units installed but were very dissatisfied with them, 30% to 40% were down at a time and are always waiting on parts to repair them. The facility manager informed me that they basically don’t use them because they are broken as a rule.

80% of my competitor’s anti-tailgating systems are turned off because of malfunctions while 100% of the AACS anti-tailgating systems are operational.

The facilities manager wants to replace them with AACS portals but since the ones they have are too new they need to wait.

The industry is very conservative regarding adoption of new technology. How will you win them over?

This is not new technology, it is proven technology. The portals are installed at a DLA facility, the average cycles at that facility is 22,000 per month and each portal has an average of 1.86 million cycles. The facility has proven the technology. There was an average of one breakdown for every 346,000 cycles with the old drive system. There have been zero breakdowns with the new drive system thus far. This facility exposed the potential problems with the portals, all problem areas were corrected as they started to appear. Instead of saying to myself that is good enough, I started to work on the problem as soon as it became evident, before it became a real problem for the client. This environment was the perfect testing/proving grounds for this product. By close observation of the portals I was able to develop a near perfect product.

Another facility is the DTRA facility, this portal has a total of 980,000 cycles. There have been 3 breakdowns of the equipment that were not “human caused”. These breakdowns were all related to the old drive system.

The third facility is a US Attorney’s office, it has been installed for over eight years but sees very little use do to its location. There has been one breakdown for the metal detector head (which wasn’t a AACS part). There have been a few service calls due to the interior door dragging, this was because on the installation location. The contractor required the portal be installed on top of an expansion joint in the building. When one side of the expansion joint raised the floor, it would cause the door to drag.

I can safely say that this is proven technology designed to outperform the competition.

You made a conscious decision from the very inception of the company to only use American made products to construct your portals………..How does your approach compare to your competitors?

There were two factors steering me in this direction, US jobs, and parts availability. When a AACS portal is ordered it directly affects over 18,000 US jobs, some are only pennies while some are more significant.

All of AACS big ticket items are custom made to specification provided to the manufacturers, they were designed for reliability. The motors for example have operated over 4 million time with no problems. The main drive was designed to operate problem free for 20 years or more. The 2 person detector is built by AACS because no one in the US manufactured a suitable system, the rights were purchased from another company who no longer had a need for it. The steel (other competitors use aluminum) is manufactured in the US and the parts made from that steel are fabricated in the US. The Glass in manufactured in the US. The clutches are manufactured in the US. The electronics were designed and manufactured in the US for AACS.

My final thought is as a veteran it is still my job to put American companies and Americans first.

What are your lasting competitive advantages?

The long useful life the portals and the quick adaptation to different sensors as they become available. AACS portals are made to last, the cabin and tracks are made of US steel while competitors use aluminum. All wearable items are easy to change.

For large buildings, there will be an onsite maintenance person. If the wearable items are easy to identify when they need to be changed (we can brainstorm how to do this) AND easy enough to replace by the maintenance person, THEN this could be really significant.

Basically, the portal will last forever provided it is properly maintained. It is rebuildable on site. The electronics are designed to have new technologies plug in and function with a few programming changes made on site. If a sensor is currently in use that requires a normally closed contact and the client wants to change to a sensor to one that requires a normally open contact it will require the technician to simply change the setting on the Maintenance Tool.

How are you minimizing the risks of failures and describe your response process when an inevitable failure does occur?

While no manufacturer can produce a fail proof product, they can ensure that they use the most reliable products available in their end product. I researched and extensively tested every subsystem that is used to manufacture my product and choose the best based on their reliability, their function in different environments, and their availability.

Every project is furnished with a spare parts package so there is no waiting period for replacement parts if needed. The spare parts consist of the parts that are required to repair the portal in a minimal amount of time.

When a portal breaks down the technician uses the Maintenance Tool to troubleshoot the problem. The Maintenance Tool provides the technician with information on the portals operating parameters leading up to the failure. A second option is for the facility manager to download the information by inserting an USB drive into a port located on the Main Control and email the information to the factory to be evaluated. A service technician is then dispatched to make the repair. AACS policy is to be in touch with the technician during the repair.

Can you quantify the costs associated with a failed portal?

There are many different costs associated with a portal failure.

First, there is the confidence factor for the people using the portal, it is human nature to not like being trapped in a small space even for the 1 second that they are in the portal with both doors closed. If a failure occurs they are apprehensive to enter a portal for a while.

While a portal is down the facility must use resources that need to be used somewhere else to monitor the entrance. The traffic through that entrance is slowed down by the need for every person to be verified “by hand”. If the portal failed and the part to repair it is not readily available and needs to be ordered the portal can be down for as long as a month or more, this drives the cost up due to the entrance being physically monitored for the period of time that it is down.

The repair costs can vary depending on the part required to make the repair.

Reliability is perhaps one of the most important features. How are your products more reliable than your competition and can you quantify cost savings associated with your portals reliability.

The AACS portals reliability is a result of doing a huge amount of research, test, and development. The subsystems were chosen due to their reliability and long life.

The cabin is made from US steel not aluminum, this results in a longer if not indefinite life.

The drive system is made in the US and is designed to withstand 100 times more force than the portal will impose on it.

The clutches are manufactured in the US by a company that manufacturers them for the aviation industry.

The electronics are made by a US company and were designed for a different application that requires more stress on them than the portals. The internal components are designed to thermally disconnect when an imminent failure is detected. They will “heal” themselves when the condition is corrected.

All of this adds up to high reliability, long useful life, and a very low failure rate (1 in every 346,000 cycles).

The long life of the portals coupled with the reliability of them more than compensates for the expense. If you add in what the facility spends annually for spare parts when using the competition and the manpower cost for monitoring an entrance for an extended period of time while waiting on repairs the AACS portals are less expensive to purchase, installation and set is faster thus less expensive, parts are more durable and have a longer life. The sensors are laser based eliminating interference from ambient light.

What does your reputation mean to you?

The days of a handshake binding an agreement are long gone and are replaced with lengthy contracts. I once visited a museum in Nitro WV. The museum has in its possession a contract that the Government issued to a contractor to build the entire city. This happened during WWII and the contract was around a ¼” thick. The contracts today to install a portal are 3” thick. This has led me to believe that people can no longer be trusted and everything needs to be put in writing as to who is responsible for what.

Unfortunately, these are the times we live in. I am the owner of AACS and my word is better than any contract. I strive to go above and beyond for me clients. I mean what I say and say what I mean. I want my clients to be my friends and know that I will come through with what I say. A reputation takes a lifetime to build and a moment to destroy. My reputation is my most prized possession and knowing that people know they can count on me lets me sleep at night.

Ensuring facilities security is a multi-faceted approach. How do your portals fit in to that and how do they integrate into the larger solution?

The AACS portals are just one piece of a facilities security. The portals provide a physical barrier to keep unauthorized personnel from entering the facility or an area of the facility. The main security system provides a signal to start the process once a valid card read has occurred.

The security personnel will be alerted of an attempted breach and can monitor the operation at all times via the Control Console. The facility can request that the portals be fitted with a biometric device for added security.

One of the newest “fads” in security portals is for the portal to be fitted with a bluetooth device, AACS is capable of this but highly recommends the client not to use it. It can be hacked and probably has and no one has noticed or is telling if they did notice.