Removable Mullion - Electric Strike?

I have 2 shipping room doors that will have a 1/2 leaf/slab with a removable mullion. I have looked on this site but cannot find if i should use an electric strike or mag lock? Can somebody point me in the right direction? Thanks.


It doesn't matter what the question is, the answer is never, under any circumstances, "install a maglock." :)

In all seriousness, the answer is a rim panic. Electrify one side if youre looking for card access.

you should use an electrified exit device/panic.

you could use connector of sort at the top of the mullion but they get ripped out when some one forgets they have to disconnect the strike from the the frame. creating more hassle and work.

where does a person put the card reader, I have always preferred a mullion mount. But it would seem strange to put it on the hinge side. My other option is a jbox in the wall on the hinge side???

The reader would go on the hinge side of the operating door or you could put it on the mullion but that complicates the wiring in the mullion and requires a second harness. The inactive door will have flush bolts that lock it into place and then a panic bar and an electric strike like the HES 9600 on the active door as previously mentioned is the way to go. Magnets should only be used when there is no other way. For the strike use a wiring harness similar to what you would use to hook up the lighting on a trailer. Can be had for pennies and you can just push it into the mullion. Use a clamp of some sort to secure the harness at the top of the mullion so when you disconnect to remove it the wire stays in place.

Perhaps I am missing the point or some detail here, but there is never a situation where I would put an electric strike inside a mullion or a reader on a mullion. The reader should go on a wall as near as you can get it to the door in a location that makes sense, and it should absolutely be an electrified rim panic device that you use. Otherwise, you've totally invalidated the purpose of a mullion.

For a single door then electrified panic is the better choice but when you are doing 100 doors in a district it adds astronomically to the cost of the hardware and other requirements. You can buy the strike for less than the cost of just the power supply required for some of these devices. Depending on the device you also might need to put an outlet close to the door for the power supply as well.

I understand that there is a cost associated with doing something the right way, but the way you are outlining is an absolute recipe for disaster in the long-term. There really is no limit to the number of reasons this could be a major issue, but here are just a few -

  1. Most shipping/receiving doors are used very frequently, and despite being extremely heavy, rarely have proper closers. The abuse that a strike will take when being repeatedly slammed almost ensures that the strike will need to be replaced multiple times over the years.
  2. Even the most well-installed mullions have a slight amount of play and movement to them. The chances of getting a mullion and a strike aligned perfectly with the panic to prevent the strike becoming loaded are slim, especially over time. It won't be long before you're having to press the door in or pull it out a bit to get the strike to release.
  3. I can't even begin to imagine the number of service calls over a 5-year period for the strike or wiring being ripped out when someone forgets about it and removes the mullion.

Bottom line, there is definitely a cost for doing something right, but when you look at the cost of something over time and what it's likely to cost in service calls, hassles, and headaches, it's just not worth it to install something like this. In addition, the door is going to have to have a panic anyways. Unless you're installing a cheap piece of junk panic in the first place, the cost to electrify a panic is not so much more that it prices it out of being an option at all. You mention a power supply, but you can also just as easily get a mechanical latch retraction device (Von Duprin QEL, Precision MLR) that can be run on the same power supply as an electric strike, and not only will your installation be easier, it will be significantly more reliable in the long run as well.

I would definitely have to agree with you. For a small job or a one off definitely. We make just as much if not more money on hardware than we do installing access control so of course I'm going to want to sell you a ton of high grade equipment and do it the right way. However, the Von Duprin bar might cost $2000 and the strike costs $300. Multiply that times 100 doors and guess what...you get the job just because you came in $200,000 cheaper. In both quotes you present the card and the door opens. For a single door job of course I wouldn't recommend it but it works very well. Out of the hundreds we have done this way they have been practically maintenance free except for the occasional person ripping the mullion forcefully out and ripping the wiring to shreds since they weren't instructed on how to do it. Door alignment has not been an issue. Over some years the random strike has failed. We just put in a new one, write the bill and move on.

Not everybody is in the market to do it the right way. I've lost many jobs because I highly recommended and proposed they do it properly. You have to work with budgets too. If they want to save some money now that's fine. Like you said they may end up paying for it in the future. Hey, this is a business so I'll make money on those call backs from the closer slamming or whatever too so either way it's OK with me. Service charge+parts+labor.....repeat. People never learn that you get what you pay for and these types of jobs become very profitable in the long term when they try to cut corners.

However, the Von Duprin bar might cost $2000 and the strike costs $300. Multiply that times 100 doors and guess what...you get the job just because you came in $200,000 cheaper.

Well, wouldn't it be only $170,000 cheaper, to start with?

Then, what about when you need to buy panics anyway?

Here's with and without electrified on a random von dup:

So in this case they are showing it as a ~$500 difference, though I'm sure it varies. Saving $300 on the strike leaves $200 difference per door.

So now it would be just $20,000 difference, not $200,000.

What did I do wrong?

Now now you know hes talking about using the original hardware on the door (cylindrical lock most likely)

plus those you inquires for 99's didn't include a trim did they? cylinder and core for the exit device?, what about an electric hinge/ door loop? Mag plate in case their was a mortise lock in the door?

the best way to fix this and never have to worry about it again is to put 99 EL's on them and be done with it.

you could try other options but you only go down in quality and up in hassle and leaving a bad taste in the customers mouth as they have to pay you to come out there but so many times till they call someone else and find out you did a really poor install job and never call you again.

This is a discussion not math class undisclosed 3. I used rough numbers that mean nothing but in actuality as Eddie describes you need a lot more parts than you list above. The spread in cost is even greater factoring in these parts and their respective markups but you knew that already and just did a google search on the bar alone to keep it simple like I did right?

If you factor in the sell price for the hardware and especially the labor cost between the 2 methods then that spread is even further. It takes a lot more time to: remove the existing bar, re-install a new one, install the hinge, fish the wire down to the hinge, wire those annoying hinges, pull the wiring through the door, install exterior trim and cylinders, etc. vs screwing a surface mounted strike on the mullion and not touch anything else on the door. As a rough estimate I might say that one of my guys can do 6-8 of these rim type strikes in a day vs 3-4 panics and all the other stuff that comes along with it. You just doubled the labor cost on the job. To reach these numbers I would probably send a helper to keep things moving and lend a hand when mounting the hardware. Make that spread even further.

Also, I don't sell parts for cost. Eddie took the works right out of my mouth about all the extras you need with this setup: power transfer hinge, outside trim, IC core housing, cylinders, etc. The hinge and the outside trim alone cost more than the electric strike.

For just my 2 cents I would like to see a couple dozen kids go to college on a scholarship than leave that money sitting on a door where the mullion may never be removed.

So, going back to the original question for just the 2 doors which is the topic: If you have the money for it of course go with the Von Duprin hardware and everything else described but once you see the difference in cost as a small business or whatever you will probably just want to be careful when removing the mullion. Depending on what is moved through that door it may only be opened once in a blue moon. If it is a regular thing daily then spend the extra money.

So, going back to the original question for just the 2 doors which is the topic:

Btw, you're the one that twice inserted the 100 door scenario without any apparent connection to the problem at hand:

For a single door then electrified panic is the better choice but when you are doing 100 doors.

However, the Von Duprin bar might cost $2000 and the strike costs $300. Multiply that times 100 doors and guess what...you get the job just because you came in $200,000 cheaper.

this is not math class...

Look, you told me to take the difference between $2000 and $300, multiply by 100, and guess. I did.

Yikes. This is the hottest discussion about removable mullions ever. I like it.

Guess I got carried away then since I am so into removable mullions. Next time I'll keep to point and make sure all my numbers are correct and all of my i's are dotted properly. I'll take everything back and just reply like this:

"If it is in your budget and want to do it properly install a good quality electrified panic device from Von Duprin or other similar manufacturer. It will be the most costly option but it will be more reliable in the long term and will be easier to operate if you will be removing the mullion often. However, if it is removed only once in awhile you can save yourself a lot of money in the hardware and installation costs by simply installing a surface mounted electric strike on the mullion itself. If you take care in removing the disconnect wiring then you should have years of trouble free operation and save yourself some money in the process. As part of a large job we were instructed by the contractor to install electric strikes in place of electrified panic devices and they have been working very well ever since."

Like several point out and maybe a strong negative to weigh:

My experience with removable mullions is finding the key to unlock/remove them is always a comedy of errors. The key often gets lost or tossed, and the lock is never pinned to match the other locks/keying systems. So a simple job that should take a few minutes turns into a locksmith service call.

There is nothing wrong with using an electric strike on a mullion other than it will be destroyed if its used for shipping and receiving. If not and it is just for general use (people only) then a strike on the mullion is fine, especially if you know you wont ever take the mullion down.

it is "preferred" to use a "crash bar/ panic bar" to meet the single action egress laws for ADA. but this can be done with a strike and lock set (along with a few more components) sometimes cheaper. and their will be issues if the mullion or any of the pieces get out of alignment.

and that Brian Rhodes guy being all inflammatory with that comment about heated mullions.........

and that Brian Rhodes guy being all inflammatory with that comment about heated mullions.........

Let's not forget the real agent provocateur here, Jason, with his seemingly innocent, but heavily loaded initial question. :)