Bridging The Gap Between Mechanical Master Keying And Electronic Access Control

Dec. 1, 2007
Medeco Logic offers most of the functionality of more sophisticated access control systems, like scheduling, audit trails, and the ability to easily add and delete user keys. However, Logic installs without any wiring, door or frame modifications or additional hardware.

A new electromechanical lock from Medeco High Security Locks challenges the notion that every lock product available in today's security market has to fit into either a mechanical security grouping or an electronic access control grouping.

Medeco's Logic platform consists of digital cylinders and digital keys that bridge the gap between mechanical master keying and electronic access control. By combining a mechanical cylinder design with electronic technologies, the product installs exactly like a regular cylinder, yet offers electronic audit trails, user access schedules and the ability to quickly add or delete a key from a system.     

It's these features and flexibility that are already appealing to end-users in a variety of commercial segments since the product's introduction and making Logic attractive to locksmiths presently selling hardwired or stand-alone electronic devices or those moving to electronic security offerings.


Because it leverages existing door hardware, Logic typically installs in less than five minutes and without the wiring, electricity, additional hardware and door modifications that traditional electronic access control installations demand. The lack of door modifications also means fire safety ratings are maintained.

  “With traditional electronic access control, hardwiring just one door and purchasing the necessary equipment costs an average of $2,500 per door,” said Tom Zuckerwar , Product Line Manager. “The cost savings realized in installation time and materials alone are definitely helping generate interest in the security market.”

The Logic platform consists of cylinders available in KIK, Rim, and Mortise formats, as well as deadbolts, cam locks, padlocks, and G8R padlocks for severe environment applications. Additional retail locking cylinders and hardware are being developed for release in early 2008.

The Logic product family allows end-users to develop systems and include applications that traditionally couldn't be served with mechanical-only or other access control devices.

“Retailers have long sought audit trails and user schedules on roll-down gates,” Zuckerwar said. “Running wire down a gate or using stand-alone devices isn't possible. With Logic, these gates—and other applications like rooftop doors—can be retrofitted in a matter of minutes.”

How The Digital Key Works

Logic's electronic technology is incorporated in both the key and the cylinder. A computer chip in the cylinder communicates with the digital key through 64-bit DES encryption. The proper credential must be presented for the cylinder to unlock both mechanically and electronically. A unique bitting on the key allows the mechanical locking points – which include mechanical pins and a sidebar – to unlock, and the proper electronic code communicates with a motor in the cylinder to release an additional blocking pin. Failure to have the correct mechanical or electronic authorization leaves the cylinder in the locked position.

The key displays a user-friendly smiley face when access is authorized and a frown when it's denied. The system's battery is in the key and rated for 20,000 cycles or two years, eliminating the concern typically associated with replacing batteries housed in door cylinders.

The key can be inserted in the keyway either face up or face down. All keys are patented and the small design is comparable in size to (or even smaller than) many automobile keys today.

Additional key technical features include:

• Medeco's patented key control

• Up to 1,000 audit events

• Rated for –22 F to 122 F

• Water-resistant

• Easy battery replacement

How The Cylinder Works

Logic cylinders are available in the same cylinder formats as Medeco3 mechanical cylinders and use standard Medeco cams and tailpieces. Although Logic cylinders are not UL437 rated, an optional hardened steel nose is available for superior resistance to drill attacks. Logic's mechanical design uses segments, which are similar to pins, that position radially around the plug in response to the cuts on the key blade. The correct positioning of the pinning segments allows a sidebar mechanism to cam into the plug in response to the rotation of the plug by the user. An actuator and motor that release only when an authorized key is presented control an additional blocking pin. The cylinder derives power completely from the key, which is uses a common watch-style battery (CR2025).

Whether the end-user wants to specify access times for key holders or simply monitor who is accessing or trying to access doors and when, Logic's software enables the security dealer or end-user to program permissions and schedules to keys or to cylinders.

Additional cylinder technical features include:

• 1,000 authorized keys in 1,000 groups can be programmed per cylinder

• Ability to track up to 750 events

• Cylinder fits narrowstile doors

• Available in most standard finishes


The Logic product line features CLIQ-brand microchips in the key and cylinder. The CLIQ microchip is proprietary to ASSA ABLOY and provides the platform's intelligence. Although several ASSA ABLOY companies use CLIQ, Logic is completely differentiated by its unique engineering design and Medeco's strict quality controls, core manufacturing competencies, customer service, technical support, and warranty standards.

For added security and control, the electronics in Logic are proprietary to every system. Closed architecture ensures that unauthorized credentials can't be obtained through third-party providers and that no two systems or credentials are the same. Communication between the credential and the cylinder is contact-based, which eliminates the possibility of wireless intercept, and all key cutting and coding are factory controlled.

An additional security advantage Logic offers over traditional security technology relates to masterkeys .

“Because Logic uses digital masterkeying , it eliminates the traditional limitations associated with mechanical masterkeying ,” Zuckerwar explains. “For example, with a mechanical system, there's a masterkey and then other keys issued on a hierarchy that work only on certain locks in the system. The weakness here is that certain people, if they're high enough in the hierarchy, will inadvertently have keys to areas that they're not authorized to have access to. With Logic's digital masterkeying , there is no hierarchy. Instead there's a matrix and a true one-to-one relationship of key to door, which means that any key can be programmed to work or not work on any specific door.”

Another added advantage over traditional mechanical systems occurs when a key is lost. One lost key renders an entire mechanical system vulnerable to a security breach. With Logic, however, if a key is lost or stolen that key is simply deactivated from the system electronically, thereby eliminating the threat.

“And with Logic, a security professional can reprogram a cylinder in seconds whereas with a mechanical cylinder, re-pinning it would often take 15 minutes or more,” Zuckerwar added.


Logic is only available to authorized Medeco dealers. It is supported by company training that includes complete factory certification in product and software knowledge, as well as sales and service. Additional training is conducted at milestones as dealers develop their markets.

“Our dealers have taken training very seriously,” Zuckerwar said. “Every new Logic system sold requires that the dealer know how to use the software to build an electronic site survey and to manage the system after installation. They understand that the software leverages their time and expands their expertise.”

Because Logic uses proprietary electronics – and every system is unique – there is no inventory to stock. Every order is custom produced at the factory in a short timeframe and programmed specifically to meet each end-user's security needs and requirements. While end-users can reprogram access rights anytime, they can only do so with the use of a programming key and password unique to their system.

“The significant savings in cost and installation time, coupled with the electronic features Logic offers end-users, are driving this new product's popularity to market segments of all types and sizes,” Zuckerwar concludes.

Medeco High Security Locks, an ASSA ABLOY Group company, is located in Salem , VA. For more information, visit or call 800-675-7558.