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Mastering security

Master key systems allow convenient access to authorised personnel while providing high levels of security against those without access rights.

UNION offers a wide range of cylinder and padlock systems. “Each high quality system offers the flexibility to provide a solution for applications of all sizes, from small commercial premises with just a few users right through to large utilities requiring complex master key systems with many hundreds of users nationwide,” explains Neil Kleynhans, National Sales Manager – PEU (Professional End Users) at ASSA ABLOY South Africa (Pty) Ltd, adding that each customer has their own unique registered system and based on their specific needs.

According to Kleynhans, careful planning is key to the long-term success of a master key system. “Planning starts with understanding the opposing forces of security and convenience, and creating the proper balance. From there, it’s easy to move onto developing the key system structure.”

The cylinder mechanism and the keying system must strike the right balance between two arch rivals – security and convenience. The type and amount of cross key, the use of keyed alike groups and the number of levels of keying all play critical roles in this delicate balance. They also directly affect the amount of expansion available in the system.                                              

Some facilities will require maximum security and will be heavily security-oriented. Lack of convenience may make it hard to operate the building on a day to day basis. Other facilities will require great personal convenience. Maximum convenience takes away from building security.

“The simplest keying systems are often the most secure and will last longer than complicated ones. Cross keying and complicated systems reduce security and expansion potential,”says Kleynhans.

There are different levels of keying and Kleynhans says that firstly it is important to understand the concept of levels of keying. “Think of it as levels of authority in an organization. All systems should have a structure like that of a corporate organisational chart. UNION cylinder products can be supplied in various types of key control systems, ranging from the normal individually keyed product, which is supplied as standard, to complicated Great Grand Master Key suites.”

Kleynhans explains the different levels: “Keyed to differ refers to a lock which is individually keyed. UNION locks are supplied to differ as standard, unless otherwise stated. This is sometimes referred to as ‘standard differ’.  Keyed alike refers to a number of locks each operated by the same key. This is also referred to as alike change, or keyed to pass. Master keyed is the simplest form of Master Keying. Each individual lock is operated by its own unique key and, in addition, a control key (master key) operates all the locks in the suite.”

Kleynhans continues, “Finally we get Grand master keyed. This is a control key that operates a particular number of locks which are grouped into two or more sets of suites, known as sub-suites. The individual keys which will operate the individual locks are known as change keys, servant keys or differ keys and will only operate their particular lock.”

In conclusion, Kleynhans points out that to ensure a facility has the desired level of security, it is necessary to have a properly designed and maintained master key system. “UNION offers all of the products and services to help customers implement a new master key system, or expand an existing one.”

ASSA ABLOY South Africa Pty Ltd, part of the international Swedish giant, ASSA ABLOY, is a global leading specialist in the manufacture and supply of secure, safe and convenient door opening systems and solutions to widely diverse industries for over a decade. The company offers both mechanical and electromechanical solutions to be able to ‘tailor make’ some of the largest, most flexible master key systems in the world. Customers can therefore be safe in the knowledge that nobody protects the integrity of their key systems better than ASSA ABLOY.

The ASSA ABLOY Group believes in quality brands and that the collective strength of these brands makes the company unique and strong. “Through acquisitions of well-known, proven, tried and tested brands like UNION, we have a wide range of products that enables us to offer the best end-to-end solutions for every application,” says ASSA ABLOY South Africa’s Vice President – Commercial Sales, Quintin Boukan.

To download the ASSA ABLOY Union Master Key Systems Design Guide click here

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