Archive for Locks

What Is Key Control ?

Key Control is exactly that: control of your lock keys. Getting there is much harder than you may think. You may think if you have your key with you then you are controlling it. There are many other considerations that go into total key control, they are:

  • How many total keys were cut for that lock code or lock?
  • Who has those keys?
  • Can you account for all your keys and who has them?
  • Has that lock code every been repeated?
  • Do you have a high security lock?
Key Control with Meeco

Medeco M3 Key

Lock security is only as strong as key control. You could have the strongest and best high security lock made, but if you can’t control your keys that very expensive lock is not very secure. It doesn’t matter what type of lock you purchase. You can make it more secure by practicing good key control.

It is more difficult to have good key control in a business. The rules are the same, but there are more people involved. This is where lockable key rings and tamper proof key rings are used. With lockable rings, you place the keys on a ring and they are locked usually using a high security lock. For tamper proof rings, the keys are placed on the ring, then the ring is clamped shut. Each ring has a unique serial number. The only way to get the keys off the ring is to cut it. By using these rings, you will be able keep track of your keys, they also help prevent lost keys.

When a key is lost or you can’t account for it, then a decision must be made. Should you rekey these locks or take a chance that the lost key won’t be found by the wrong person. This decision is made depending on what that lock was protecting and what that value is to you. Rekeying the lock is less expensive that replacing it. Rekeying involves changing the locking pins and cutting new keys to match. The older keys will no longer operate the lock.

Patented Key ControlHigh security locks come with registered lock codes and they give a higher level of key control. Usually key control is maintained in a computer database and keys can be accounted for until they get to the end user. What happens after is the responsibility of the end user.

Take key control seriously, without key control there is no real lock security.

Learn how we can help you start good Key Control practices, contact us at Locking Systems International.

Abloy Locks

Abloy Lock Company is part of the ASSA Abloy group of security companies. They have been manufacturing Abloy locks since 1907 from their home office in Finland. Today they have distributors and authorized service centers around the world. They also have Abloy owned offices in most major countries. Locking Systems has been an Authorized Abloy Service Center for many years.

Abloy LocksAbloy offers different types of locks designed for many different types of industries. Locks such as door locks, padlocks, cam locks, deadbolt locks to name a few. Some of the industries they serve are education, healthcare, government and retail. Their locks for doors are widely used in Scandinavian and European Countries where high security locks are widely accepted and used.

Abloy locks are different due to their “Rotating Disc” locking principle. This locking principle uses brass discs that come together to form a locking stack. These are designed to match the discs with cuts key. Due to this design there can be over one million lock codes available. The key does not look like a conventional key and you won’t find these at the big box stores or hardware stores.

Abloy locks are considered a high security lock due to their construction, key control and patented protection for the key and keyway. Distributors and service centers have contractual agreements with Abloy to maintain a high level of key control. Abloy service centers have additional training to provide extensive lock assembly services and a higher level of key control and key cutting services.

Abloy locks offer extreme environmental protection from moisture, salt spray, freezing, dirt, sand and other materials. This is due to the fact that they do not have locking pins or springs that traditional locks have. With traditional locks, dirt and other foreign material can get trapped in the pin chambers or cause the locking springs to fail which will cause the lock to malfunction. Also, with traditional locks, condensation or moisture can get into the pin chambers and cause the lock to malfunction in freezing weather.

Abloy Locks

They offer patented protection on the keyway and key. The first and last discs are called the profile discs, these are designed to match a particular key. This creates the keyway that Abloy then patents in the U.S. and worldwide. Abloy has now embraced electronic locks that offer both convenience and enhanced security by the use of electronic verification. The electronic keys are designed to open mechanical locks as well as the new electronic locks giving Abloy locks great versatility.

In Blogs I will highlight other major lock manufacturers. Contact Locking Systems for Additional information.

Key Codes — Are Yours Secure?

What are Key Codes?  They are the numbers that come with the lock that you just purchased.  They contain information that identify the pinning sequence in the lock and in turn provides the information necessary to cut a key.  For example, suppose you take your house key into a big box store to get more keys made.  The store clerk will identify the type of key you have (the lock manufacturer), then he will either duplicate the key or use the number stamped on the key to make new ones.

Key Codes Cobra Patented Locks

Cobra-7 Key

Now, if you read the above paragraph again you will notice that you are never asked for your identification, meaning anyone can take your key and have another one made.  In other words, there is no accountability and hence no key control.

With high security locks, the key code is registered to you and that information is put into a database program that tracks your codes.  The key code is usually blind, this means that by looking at the code you cannot get information on how the lock is pinned or how to cut a duplicate key.  The blind code is matched with a pinning code which has all the information. Locking Systems provides High Security Locks and Key Codes.

Key Codes:

  • Used to identify the pinning sequence of the lock
  • Used to cut duplicate keys
  • High security locks require identification before keys are cut
  • High security lock codes are registered to the end user
  • Blind codes do not give away the pinning and cutting information
  • High security codes are maintained in a secure database

Key Codes Tamper-Proof Key RingsConvenience vs Security:

The locks that you buy at hardware stores or big box stores offer convenience in a mid-security level, this might be OK for most people. However, always ask yourself what are you trying to protect or lock and if that is valuable is it worth a little inconvenience.

You can’t buy high security locks at hardware stores or big box stores.  They are purchased at specialized locksmiths or manufacturer approved service centers.  These places will sell you the hardware and then register the lock code to you.  They will also provide you with the secure lock code and a way for you to use it if necessary.  They will also secure that code into a database where it will not be assigned to anyone else.

So, are your lock codes secure, do you even know where those code are?  Maybe it’s time to look at your locks, count your keys and decide if it’s time to get a higher security lock.

Need Help Call Us: 800.657.LOCK(5625) or www.lsidepot.com.

Tamper Proof Key Rings

What is “Key Control”?  The answer seems simple; you have control of your keys. But how do you do this and why is it important?  You should be able to account for of all your keys; for example, how many house keys do you have and who has them?  You could ask the same question about office keys and car keys. Key control becomes even more important if you have many keys that you must give to employees to service customers or equipment. This is where Tamper Proof Key Rings are used

Lockable Key RingsLet’s look at house keys. Whether the house is new or old, ask yourself two questions. How many keys were cut and who has them; a past house cleaning service, pest service or contractor that was working inside your home. If you answer “I don’t know”, the solution to your problem is easily resolved; replace the locks or re-key them. Both methods will provide the same results. You will know how many keys were cut and who has them. This will give you control of your keys and your security.

Over the years we accumulate keys for many applications, along with spare keys. If you own a business your spare keys, office keys and equipment keys are a very serious and potentially expensive problem.  Below are two methods of securing keys:

Tamper-Proof Key RingsTamper-Proof Key Rings:

Tamper Proof Key Rings have a permanent seal that cannot be opened once it is sealed with special sealing tools. These key rings have a unique serial number for tracking; and once crimped, there is a smooth surface to move keys around the ring. Tamper Proof Key Rings are available in solid or flexible rings and come in different lengths.

Lockable Key Rings:

Lockable Key Rings with the Medeco High Security Lock Cylinder secures the keys on the key ring.  Only the person with the proper key can open the Lockable Key Rings, thereby securing all the keys on the ring.  The rings can be solid or flexible and come in different lengths.

Lockable Key Rings - Tamper Proof Key RingsThese two methods provide the same solution; they both control your keys.  Let’s take a look at a real world problem for a business. In the vending business many keys are given to a service person to stock the vending machines. If those keys are not on a secure ring the service person can remove a key and come back after hours to remove money from the machine. With a secure key ring the key cannot be removed, the key rings are returned at the end of the day with all the keys attached. This is a perfect example of controlling your keys.

Do you know where all your keys are?

Contact us at 800.657.5625(LOCK) or LsiDepot.com.

Bluetooth Locks—Electronic Door Locks

It was bound to happen; after all, we use Bluetooth to gain access and start our cars, play our music, use our computers and many other things.  Now, we can use Bluetooth to open the front door to our homes among other things. The age of Bluetooth Locks has arrived.

Electronic SFIC Bluetooth LocksSo, how do they work?  First, you must start off with a good grade mechanical lock.  This means a door locks made out of strong materials with features that will defeat attacks on the lock itself.  Some Bluetooth locks have a key override; this means that you get a regular key to open the lock in case of electronic failure.  The lock cylinder should have a high security cylinder that provides key control as well as physical security.

Features of a Bluetooth Door Lock:

  • Lock has Bluetooth electronics built in
  • Programmed by Android or iPhone
  • Bluetooth key fobs come with the lock
  • Pairs with the cell phone and/or key fob
  • Mechanical key override
  • Battery operated door lock

Bluetooth Locks - ProgrammingAfter installing the control app on your phone, you then pair with the lock.  Once that is successful, you can program your door lock and your backup key fobs.  Now when you walk up to you front door and get within 4-6 feet, the lock will either open or activate waiting for you to touch it (depending on the manufacturer).  There is usually an LED light on the lock that will give visual feedback.  The lock latch will be open and closed with a motor or solenoid.

Software features and functions:

  • Program individual key fobs for different people
  • Delete key fobs
  • Keep an audit history of openings and closings by time and date (great for keeping tabs on children)
  • Program key fobs to only open at certain times
  • Locks can be rekeyed without the need of a locksmith
  • Operates on the new Bluetooth standard 4.0

One manufacturer has a patent pending technology that can determine if you are standing inside or outside your home.  This is an important feature so that if you are inside and someone rings your door bell the lock will not open because it senses that you are inside the home.

If the Bluetooth locks have a key override; remember that it is both a convenience and a liability.  You should make sure that this lock cylinder is a secure one.

It appears that the old mechanical door locks have finally reached the 21st Century, providing state of the art security.

For additional please contact us at Locking Systems International.

Cam Locks — The Locks You Use Every Day

What are Cam Locks?  The fast and simple answer is a small lock that has a “Locking Cam” attached to the back.  These locks come in a variety of sizes, shapes and configurations and prices from about $.80 for a small mechanical cam lock to $150.00 for an electronic cam lock.  Where have you seen or used a cam lock: tool boxes, mail boxes, vehicle glove compartments, vending machines, slot machines, desks, cabinets and lockers, to name a few.

Cam Locks Cobra Utility LockThat’s a lot of information in a few sentences.  Let me explain this a little further.  The Locking Cam on the rear of the cam lock is usually made of steel and can be straight, offset or hook.  It can really have any design so that when the key is inserted into the lock and turned the locking cam will lock or unlock whatever it’s mounted on.

Below is a list of some popular cam lock styles:

  • Single Bitted – this is where the key is cut on one side
  • Double Bitted – this is where the key is cut on two sides
  • Tubular – this is where the key has a round or tubular design
  • High Security – these are cam locks manufactured by CobraLock, Abloy or Medeco and have a lock and key design that hold a U.S. patent
  • Electronic Cam Lock – the lock and key are electronic which provide a much higher level of security

Cam Locks Changeable Cabinet Locks-Patented Key ControlCam locks are very versatile.  They can be made out of many different types of materials and come in different configurations and sizes.  I will list some of these features below:

  • Can be made of steel, brass, zinc alloy and plastic
  • Come in sizes ranging from 3/8” to over 2” in length
  • Can be constructed so the lock core is removable
  • Can turn either left or right, either 90 or 180 degrees
  • Multiple diameters can be made (the standard is ¾”)
  • Can be keyed alike, keyed different or master keyed
  • Can be made in electronic versions

As you can see, the cam lock is probably one of the most versatile locks ever made.  Over the years, the designs have changed and evolved, the materials have improved and the security has increased.  One thing has remained the same; all cam locks operate a locking cam: this is the definition of a cam lock.

Cam Locks Changeable lock codes

Patented Cam Locks Custom Built

The Cam Lock really is the Lock you use every day.

Contact us at LsiDepot.com

Commercial Locks

Generally speaking Commercial Locks are purchased from service centers such as Locking Systems International. This is because of the higher cost of the locks, the additional keying requirements Commercial Locks Made in the USAthat might be needed and installation services. Now that you know where to get them what is the difference between residential and commercial locks?

  • Commercial locks are ANSI Grade 1 or 2
  • They are heavier duty made with commercial grade parts
  • They typically will have a higher number of master keying capabilities
  • They are designed to fit a larger range of doors with different thicknesses
  • They can interact and work with electronic door locks
  • Upgraded finishes with increased colors

Commercial LocksTo better understand this I am going to explain in a little more detail what the ANSI/BHMA grades are. First ANSI stands for American National Standards Institute, BHMA is (Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association). The three grades are the same for both. Here are some of the differences between grades:

  • Cycles-Grade 1=1,000,000, Grade 2=800,000 and Grade 3=800,000
  • Latchbolt Projection-Grade 1=3/4 inch, Grade 2=1/2 inch and Grade 3=1/2 inch
  • Impact Test-Grade 1=10 blows, Grade 2=5 blows and Grade 3=2 blows

These are just some of the differences there is almost a dozen that grade sawing resistance, different impact tests, force to latch door and others. The important thing to remember is that all locks are not created equal.

Commercial Locks

Medeco High Security

You will also find more high security lock cylinders used in commercial applications. Most of these lock cylinders will be protected by U.S. patents. This usually means that the cylinder is built to very high standards and they have very high key control.  Keys are registered to a particular company and identification is needed to cut additional keys. Key blanks are available at authorized service centers such as Locking Systems International.

The master keying abilities are also increased with the ability to have multiple levels of a master system. For example each floor of a commercial building could have its own master key with all the doors on that floor keyed different. The master key will open all the doors on that floor. There could be a grand master key that will open all the doors on every floor in the building.

Locks for commercial applications should be grade 1 or at least a higher quality grade 2. These will stand up to the repeated use in commercial buildings and businesses. It is also important to choose the right service center, Locking Systems understands commercial locks and locking systems.

For additional information contact Locking Systems or go to LsiDepot.com.

LsiDepot.com

Wi-Fi Door Locks And Much More

Wi-Fi door locks can be controlled by the internet.  That statement is true but there is so much more.  In this article I will explain what Wi-Fi door locks are and I will touch on other items in your house that can be controlled giving you a complete Wi-Fi house.

Wi-Fo Door Locks

The mechanical part of the lock must be made of high quality materials and should meet standard ANSI lock specifications.  Most of these locks will be battery operated and may have a key override or at least some other way to gain entry in case of battery failure.  You may see push buttons on the front of the lock which is becoming a standard feature. Many Wi-Fi Door Locks look like regular door locks and the mechanical part of the locks will operate the same.

The lock has a small computer and Wi-Fi chip that will communicate through your house Wi-Fi.  The setup is usually done through a laptop, tablet or desktop computer.  Entry codes are set up so that everyone in the house has their own code.  Temporary codes can also be issued, for example, to service people, a friend or relative.  They can be set up to expire in a certain amount of time.  Reporting and logging the entry and exits are also available.  It can log the time, date and what person opened the door.  If you are not home you can still communicate Electronic Push Button Lockswith the lock through its Wi-Fi connection.  For example, someone you know might need to get into your house and you are not there.  They will call you on your cell; you will then send a temporary code to the lock.  The person at the front door will enter that code and gain entry.

There many items in your home that can be controlled via Wi-Fi and more are coming, here are a few examples:

  • Thermostat-the temperature in your home can be remotely controlled just like the lock
  • Camera- commercial cameras have been able to be remotely controlled for years, now they are coming to the residential market
  • Plugs-when you are able to control a plug remotely then you can control anything that is plugged into it
  • TV’s, music, curtains, water leak sensors, refrigerators, and much more

We are very quickly approaching the point where we will have the “Connected House”.  Years ago the first home automation technology was called x10, it is still around today, however it is being replaced by Wi-Fi technology and in some cases a combination of x10 and Wi-Fi.

For additional information please contact us.

Cargo Locks-Securing Trailers and Containers

Cargo Locks are something that we don’t think about very often, maybe we should.  With terrorism high on everyone’s mind it is a different time then it was before 9-11.  Think about all the Tractor-Trailer (Semi-Trucks) that are on the road.  What are they hauling or what could they haul?  What about all the shipping containers that enter the U.S. through our ports?  Are they secure?  There are two ways to secure trailers and containers: one is by using security tags that are placed on the locking mechanisms and are tracked by serial number or RFID.  The other way is Changeable PUCK Cargp Locksto use Cargo Locks and Locking Systems.  In this Blog I will discuss Cargo Locks.

Types of Cargo Locks:

  • King Pin Lock: This lock secures the “King Pin” on the trailer. Once placed on the King Pin, the trailer is not able to be hooked up to the tractor.  The tractor king pin is what connects the trailer to the tractor.
  • Glad Hand Lock: The “Glad Hand” is a coupling device that connects the air supply from the tractor to the trailer. The Gland Hand Lock secures this device so that the trailer cannot be connected to the trailer.
  • Air Brake Lock: This lock connects to the dash board of the tractor securing the air brake switches.
  • Gear Down Lock: This lock secures the landing gear of the trailer preventing them from being cranked up into driving position.
  • Vertical Door Bars: These locks secure the rear doors of the trailer to prevent them from being opened.
  • Roll Up Locks: These locks secure the roll up doors that are found on some trailers.

Locks:

Abloy Environmental Cargo LocksThe above locking systems are only as good as the locks that go with them.  All of these devices have some type cam lock or padlock.  These Cargo Locks should be high security and patented.  This will provide both physical security and key control.  Padlocks from Big Box stores are not a high security lock as they don’t offer key control.  I have discussed key control in past articles and blogs, briefly, if you can take your key to any store and have it duplicated you DO NOT have key control.

There is more effort being placed on the security of Trailers and Containers.  New style locks have RFID built in.  Electronic locks are being deployed.  Tracking tags are getting additional electronic tracking capability.  GPS devices are being used.

No matter what is being used, the rear trailer door should be locked and the trailer should be secured from moving unless authorized.

Locking Systems International is an Authorized Service Center and Manufacturer and all types of locks including Cargo Locks.

 

CobraLock Padlocks … You Choose Your Security Level

Not all locks are created equal and that holds true for CobraLock Padlocks. You can purchase padlocks from $1.50 all the way up to $150.00 per padlock. So what is the difference?   In the example above the padlocks will range from mechanical to electronic and from small to large padlocks.

Choosing Cobra PadlocksThere are many other considerations when choosing a padlock such as; what is the padlock size, how large is the shackle, what material is the padlock body and shackle made of, and what type of lock cylinder does the padlock have. The first three concern the physical security of the padlock. The last item, the lock cylinder, is one of the most important yet one of the most overlooked.

If the lock cylinder is not secure it could be subject to picking, pulling or other forms of attack. CobraLock has come up with a very unique and patented padlock that allows the user to choose their level of security.  This was accomplished by manufacturing a padlock body that accepts standard lock cylinders.  As the security level of the lock cylinder increases so does the price of the padlock.

Lock Cylinders:

User-Changeable CobraLock Padlocks

Hardened Security

Some of the lock cylinders that the CobraLock Padlock accepts are Cobra7, CobraMatic7, Abloy and Medeco Lock Cylinders.  All of these are protected by U.S. Patents and when combined with the CobraLock Padlock the complete Padlock becomes patented.

When choosing a padlock lock cylinder consider the following:

  • Where will the padlock be used (the shed in your backyard or the back of a delivery truck)?
  • What will the padlock secure (lawn equipment or a truck full of electronics)?
  • Will the padlock be indoors or outdoors?
  • Type of “Key Control” that you require?

When buying padlocks you should consider the following:

  • Where will the padlock be used (indoors or outdoors)?
  • What size should the padlock be?
  • What should the padlock body and shackle be made of?
  • What size (length and diameter) should the shackle be?
  • What type of lock cylinder should be used?

Changeable CobraLock PadlocksWhen you walk into the “Big Box Stores” to purchase a padlock you will be given a wide choice of different size padlocks.  You will be able to go through the list above and find a padlock to meet your needs, that is everything except the most important, the lock cylinder.  You will have a limited choice of different key codes (lock cylinders) to choose.  There is a very good chance that many people will have the same key to open the brand new padlock you just purchased.

So remember, when purchasing a padlock, think about the lock cylinder, without YOU controlling the key codes you can’t control your security. The CobraLock Padlocks provide a unique way for you to control your security.

For additional information about CobraLock Padlocks contact Locking Systems International.