The Man Behind the Revolution

The Man Behind the Revolution

Hard work proven to be the pinnacle of success

The Man Behind the Revolution
ABOUT LELAND J. HANCHETT JR.

Having worked in the computer peripherals field for 16 years, in 1976, Hanchett decided to try his hand at running his own business to produce electrified lock hardware. Hanchett Entry Systems Inc. grew steadily for 22 years at which point he sold his company indirectly to ASSA ABLOY.

After trying retirement for a few years, he decided that creative electro-mechanical design work was part of his fiber. In 2007, he resumed inventing and designing devices used in access control for his former company.

Hanchett has more than patents in the fields of electronics, mechanics, optics and bar code reading. Hanchett has a passion for Arizona history and has written several books on the subject. ‘Catch the Stage to Phoenix’ is a recommended read.

Hanchett holds a BA in electrical engineering from Southern California and a Masters in engineering from Arizona State University.

He currently resides in Phoenix.

It all started in Boston—a young, motivated inventor trying to meet the particular customer demand of a new electric strike design that could handle a 1-inch deadbolt. With an inherent spark for solving problems, this inventor, Lee J. Hanchett Jr., decided to address this particular issue by turning his very own door into a workshop.

His persistence and determination paid off; and, in 1975, he created the most popular electric strike to date, capable of releasing a 1-inch deadbolt, the HES 1003. Six months later, in 1976, Hanchett patented this electric strike and founded Hanchett Entry Systems (HES), which later became a part of the ASSA ABLOY Group of companies in 1999.

The 1003 was Hanchett’s first key breakthrough and remains the best-selling electric strike that HES builds today. It became a strong and versatile product that helped HES get off the ground, and it was the lead product that began his relationship with ASSA ABLOY. Hanchett’s influence has since grown beyond HES and impacts the development of many products, including the most recent creation and deployment of the revolutionary Securitron PowerJump. Hanchett feels that this is one of the biggest breakthroughs of his career.

After a conversation with Michael Webb, HES vice president, who set him on a mission to design a product that would be able to transfer power across a door without physical contact, Hanchett began to research, reading countless articles to figure out how other people handled a regular wire transfer with items like toothbrushes, cell phones and laptops as the core foundation. Hanchett realized that by redesigning the circuits, he could make power transfer across the gap, effectively jumping power between the two parts.

While developing the PowerJump, the biggest problem encountered was that earlier wireless power transfers had a fixed distance between transmitter and receiver, making it easier to design something that would work correctly. Between the door and frame, however, the size of the gap can vary widely, which was challenging.

The overall outcome couldn’t have been better, though, resulting in a first-of-its-kind product that is able to deliver power contactlessly and invisibly between the frame and door to power almost any kind of electrified hardware. Installed at the latch side or hinge side of the door, without pins or wires across the door gap, the PowerJump has eliminated all points of wear, breakage and vulnerability, and no longer requires core drilling the door. Hanchett believes that the PowerJump is the perfect device for retrofitting electrified locks into existing openings or for a new installation in aluminum, metal or wooden doors.

Looking toward the future, Hanchett believes without a doubt that microcontrollers and the art of embedding them is the next big thing. He predicts that the competitive environment will fuel this process by creating smaller and smaller packaging with smart technology on board and microcontrollers in everything we touch.

With so much potential in this area, Hanchett isn’t planning on leaving his passion for technology any time soon. Hanchett’s father always said, “If you want to get anything done, you have to keep everlastingly at it.” He took that to heart; his goal has been to create one new product every year.

At 75 years old, Hanchett holds approximately 25 patents across various disciplines, and has the same determination to fix problems, conduct research and find ways to do things that others haven’t thought of yet.

“You must keep working hard so that you never think you reach the pinnacle, or you will go downhill,” Hanchett said.

We can hardly wait to see what he’ll come up with next.

This article originally appeared in the June 2014 issue of Security Today.

About the Author

Wendy Bowman is the director of marketing communications at Securitron/ASSA ABLOY.

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