Feb 11, 2016 | By Tess

If you, like me, are prone to fumbling in your bag or purse looking for keys, sometimes miserably caught in the rain or cold, you must be excited about the recent craze for smart locks, which do away with metal keys altogether and allow you to open your door with a touch of your smartphone.

At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, French company GEMECOD presented their new product IKILOCK, a smart lock that unlocks not only your own front door, but also your building’s front door if you live in an apartment complex. The French made product also features virtual keys which can be shared with visiting family members or Airbnb guests, eliminating the need to copy keys or physically trade them off.

Like any product, several iterations of the lock’s design were made before the company settled on the best one. According to GEMECOD’s CEO and founder Jacques Leneveu, the development and creation of the final design of the recently unveiled IKILOCK owed much to 3D printing technologies.

“I knew from the beginning that 3D printing was the right technology to produce some of our prototype’s parts,” says Leneveu, who also explains that various types of 3D printing technologies were used in the making of prototypes. The pieces of the lock that did not require a fine finish were additively manufactured using a polyamide plastic material, while finer plastic parts were made on a Polyjet 3D printer out of resin. The metal framework of the lock was prototyped using CNC machining processes.

3D printed parts for the final prototype

As Leneveu explains, 3D printing allowed the team at GEMECOD to quickly create and determine which model of the smart lock was best and get it market ready in record time. “I think that using both 3D printing and CNC machining together allowed us to realize the prototypes in a matter of months,” says Leneveu. “In the past, developing a full functional prototype could take up to a year. When you mention that we did three of them before finding the right form, fit and function factors…it would have taken us ages.”

Fortunately for the company, once they settled on the final sleek design for the IKILOCK, only minor changes had to be made to the 3D model CAD files before sending them out for manufacturing. The final products, pictured, are made of brushed metal with a wooden front—the company boasts a variety of different types of wood—and are all made locally in France.

The smart lock, which is featured in the demonstration video below, comes with 3 components, the IKILOCK itself, which is fixed into your door and is controlled through the company’s free app via any smartphone device; the IKICENTER, a plug-in device that connects your phone to the door’s lock—this is also the component that keeps your lock secure as it stops any direct communication between your lock and the internet; and the IKIPLUG, which unlocks your building’s door by triggering your apartment’s intercom when you order it to.

The IKILOCK is now available for pre-order via their website, and it has been made to fit both European and North American electric outlets. The sleek and stylish smart lock is currently retailing for €350.

As our lives become increasingly connected through our smartphones and various other devices, it seems like a natural progression to begin using smart locks. And hey, if it saves me from the risk of losing my keys, I’m in.





Posted in 3D Printing Application



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