New master key system for Deutsche See

Deutsche See is regarded as the number one for marketing fish and seafood in Germany. The food manufacturer guarantees top quality products. In order to live up to this promise, the goods must be protected from contamination. This is why access control is used at the headquarters in Bremerhaven to determine who has access to which areas. In the past, the management was extremely laborious, however. A new master key system will change this: In future, around 190 electronic eCLIQ locking cylinders from ASSA ABLOY will simplify the key management and the future expansion of Deutsche See.

Precisely 80 years have passed since Deutsche See was founded in 1939. The food manufacturer is now regarded as Germany’s largest fish trader with 20 sites in total. The company processes and refines fresh fish and seafood and supplies the produce to the retail and gastronomy trade. The headquarters of Deutsche See is in Bremerhaven. This is where the entire logistics for over 35,000 customers takes place and where a large share of the around 3,500 products is produced. To help prevent the food from being contaminated and to keep the promise of delivering “top quality fish and seafood”, strict guidelines are complied with, from the receipt of goods, right through to shipping. This also includes rules stipulating that certain areas can only be accessed with special clothing and after completing relevant training in handling foodstuffs. In order to fulfil this requirement, a master key system with access control is required.

Five is four too many

Until recently, there were five master key systems in use at the same time for monitoring access at Deutsche See headquarters. The doors were equipped with card readers which read the identification cards of the employees and granted access accordingly. Individual access authorisations could be saved on the cards. A mechanical locking cylinder was also integrated in every door. Even in the event of a power failure, if the card readers were no longer working, technicians could still access the premises via a key, for example. But the right bunch of keys had to be found first. And this was a laborious task.

Knud Vormschlag, head of technology/energy management at Deutsche See, explains: “One person could have up to 20 keys in some cases.” This was due to the large number of master key systems in use at the same time as a result of successive expansions at the headquarters. “In the end, five master key systems were in use in parallel operation. This made the key management and access control extremely complicated and time consuming”, Vormschlag remembers. Although card readers were introduced at some point, the power-independent mechanical systems were still required. They ensured that the fire brigade could still access the premises in the event of a power failure. 

A single key for everything

To make the access control management easier and more secure in the future, Deutsche See decided to install a new system. The demands were high: It had to be economical, quick to install and work wirelessely. It also had to offer flexible expansion options and weather resistance. But, above all, the new master key system had to significantly simplify the key management. The eCLIQ electronic master key system from the ASSA ABLOY brand IKON fulfils all these requirements, starting with the wireless function. Axel Scholten, consultant from ASSA ABLOY Sicherheitstechnik GmbH, explains: “With eCLIQ, the power supply is integrated directly in the key via a battery. This removes the need for elaborate re-wiring on the doors. Only the locking cylinders have to be replaced. This is a quick and easy process and saves costs.”

The power-independent function also ensures that technicians, the fire brigade etc. can access the relevant rooms even in the event of a power failure. And all this with just one key. Because completely individual access authorisations can be saved on an eCLIQ key, with time restrictions and access areas. If a key is lost, the access authorisation can be deleted directly, which minimizes the period in which the key could be misused. “The employees must have the validity renewed regularly, which makes the access control even more secure”, states Scholten.

Made for cold and wet conditions

Because the headquarters of Deutsche See is constantly growing, the new system must offer the option of flexible expansion. This is easy with eCLIQ thanks to the wireless installation. The locking cylinders can not only be used on doors, but also on furniture, safes, lockers and similar, which means that no additional master key system has to be mounted. In the field of food processing, with the difficult conditions associated with cold, moisture and wet, it was important that the cylinders are watertight and temperature-resistant. eCLIQ locking cylinders fulfil these requirements: They remain functional in temperatures of -25°C to +85°C and can withstand temporary immersion in water. This means that they can be safely sprayed down with water for cleaning and, in external installation, remain functional even after exposure to driving rain like we frequently have in Bremerhaven. The non-rebated installation of the locking cylinder also has a positive impact from a hygiene perspective: It rules out the risk of superfluous corners where dirt could accumulate.

ASSA ABLOY as an IT service provider

The management and control of the eCLIQ master key system takes place via the CLIQ® Web Manager. The internet-based software system enables access authorisations and key user activities to be monitored. It logs the issue of keys to different users and offers numerous group formation functions. As a special IT service, ASSA ABLOY can carry out the hosting of the software system on request: The CLIQ® Web Manager Hosting (Software as a Service) makes the management of the master key system easier for the customer and makes it even more cost-effective.

Deutsche See also chose this easily scalable and flexible Cloud-based service platform. Axel Scholten explains: “With the hosting service, the customer hands over the entire IT maintenance so they don’t have to worry about a thing. This saves lots of time and costs. The customer doesn't need to invest in an IT infrastructure, nor in personnel for maintenance and support of the master key system software. Instead, we automatically provide state-of-the-art technology and the latest software version. If faults occur, we resolve them immediately. Our monitoring for the application and server runs around the clock.” ASSA ABLOY guarantees data security and compliance with GDPR.

Successful cooperation

The installation of the eCLIQ master key system for Deutsche See was carried out by Eiben & Frank Sicherheitstechnik. Knud Vormschlag is extremely positive: “The cooperation with ASSA ABLOY and Eiben & Frank worked seamlessly. We could turn to both companies with any questions we had at any time and are really happy with the result. The master key system is now much simpler and safer to handle than before. And that also helps us to keep our promise to deliver top quality fish and seafood.”