Master Keying with Medeco

Jan. 4, 2016

Master keying with Medeco® high security product offers both excellent system design options and industry-leading product security features.  Some of the product features allow for master key system design with vastly large numbers of unique key codes, and some provide for more security in keyed cylinders than is found in conventional cylinders.  Medeco’s integrated product features that improve security and master key design capability, used hand-in-hand with good master key system design and planning practices can be used to optimally secure any key system.

Medeco product includes several features that can be incorporated into a master key system to provide expansion beyond that found using standard split-pin key progression techniques.  A feature used across the industry, including in Medeco product lines, is the availability of multiplex keyways.  Some of the other features offer the added bonus of securing the cylinders that feature them. 

A feature unique to Medeco that allows for larger expansion on a single keyway is the use of double cuts in master keys.  Double-cutting a master key simulates creation of a multiplex keyway system.  Essentially, a complete system can be created on each different angle set.  The only key that operates in each system is the master key that is double cut with the angles of each complete system.

Medeco master keying with sliders is an additional feature that can be used to provide even more expansion (master-keying on the slider) as well as additional security in the cylinder, since the slider must be unlocked at the same time as the pin stacks in order to unlock the cylinder fully.

The ability to create a large key system is powerful, but when creating one it is necessary to consider how readily other systems can be created in the future that will have no interaction with the existing one.  Medeco accomplishes lockout across systems in a few ways.  One of the most powerful ways of protecting against intersystem interchange is use of protected keyways.  This allows for control over the distribution of keyblanks that could be cut to a key that works in each key system.

 Medeco key systems can also be distinguished from each other by using different angle cuts in different systems.  Good key system practice in Medeco systems and in others also involves minimizing master keying.  This can be accomplished by using SKD cylinders whenever possible and using constants in a system.  SKD cylinders offer the confidence that no key will open them except the single key that was designed to unlock them, and use of different constants in different master key systems provide assurance that no key from one system will match a key pattern used in another.

Master keying with constants provides advantages beyond lockout across systems.  Including as many constants in a key system as possible will reduce the number of master pins used, and will thus reduce the number of shear lines at which the cylinders in the system can be opened. 

Medeco master key systems are custom designed to the needs of the facility in which they will be installed.  Total position progression is not always needed and can be avoided in many cases. 

Don OShall’s The Definitive Guide to Rotating Constant Method (RCM) Master Keying or Jerome Andrews’ Fundamentals of Master Keying or Billy Edwards’ Master Keying by the Numbers provide helpful instruction on the use of the rotating constant master keying technique.  Use of this technique in your key system design means using fewer master pins, reducing cylinder maintenance, and allowing for a more secure cylinder.  In some cases, using the rotating constant method even yields more keys in the system than total position progression.

Intentional key system design also involves designing with value for system security in mind over value for system convenience of access.  Often, a secure alternative will accommodate an unsecure keying request in a way that maintains key system integrity.

 If cross-keying is requested, consider creating a dedicated key for the cylinder instead of cross-keying it.  This will reduce the future maintenance needs for that cylinder by cutting down on the number of master pins used in it.  It will also allow for a secure lockout in that cylinder in case the operating key is lost, without a huge impact on the remainder of the system.

 If an area is planned to be keyed directly to a master key, consider including a change key in the cylinder as well.  This change key could be issued in case quick, emergency access needs to be granted to the space without the risk associated with issuing a master key to an individual who should not have access to all master keyed areas.

A master key system can be a large investment, and measures should be taken to protect that investment.  The implementation and enforcement of a key control policy together with high security cylinders is one of the most effective ways to reduce key loss, reduce system maintenance, and prevent unauthorized access.  Medeco’s patented products come accompanied by established key control procedures in the way of protected keyways and key control agreements, which control distribution of keyblanks.  These policies together with good upkeep and maintenance of key records will give key control authorities a clear picture of keyed access across their facilities and the ability to control that access.

Combine all of this with the Medeco’s ability to integrate eCylinders and intelligent keys, and you really have all the tools you might ever need to custom design a system that meets your customer’s present and future requirements while providing the longest lived, secure master key system design possible.

Medeco’s high security products offer powerful tools for securing keyed doors and other areas.  Coupled with these products, Medeco’s belief in well-planned, customized master key system design and advocacy of strong key control measures make for the ultimate in a high security master key system.