I recently saw a photo in a door and hardware installers’ group on social media, with a question about the purpose of the cylinder on the head of the panic hardware. Was it supposed to lock the latch? Or control the locked/unlocked indicator?
I can see why this might cause some confusion – similar to a classroom security function lockset which has a key cylinder on the inside as well as the outside. I have had a few AHJs initially reject the classroom security function locks, thinking that the inside cylinder would lock the inside lever, preventing egress.
With a classroom security function lockset, and with the panic hardware shown here, the inside cylinder locks and unlocks the outside lever. This allows an authorized person to lock the door from the inside, without opening it – an important part of every school security plan.
The product in the photo is Von Duprin 98/99 panic hardware, with the -2SI option. Turning a key in the cylinder will lock or unlock the outside lever, and will change the indicator to show the status of the lever. Egress is not impacted at all – building occupants are still able to exit with one motion (pushing the touchpad).
And if you’re wondering why the cylinder has been moved from the top of the head to the bottom, the change was made to allow this function to be used with vertical rod panic hardware. Retrofit kits are available to add this feature to existing Von Duprin panics.