A master key system consists of a number of cylinders/locks that allow different groups or individual key holders to gain access to all or individual defined areas of a building(s). The key itself is nothing special or different, but rather the locks they fit into. These master-keyed locks are designed to open with different keys, one which is specific to each lock and cannot operate any of the others in the set – the master key, which opens all the locks in the set.
These locks that have master keys have a second set of the mechanisms used to operate them that is identical to all of the others in the set of locks. Most locks are based on a fairly similar concept. The most widely used lock design is the cylinder lock. With this design, the key turns the cylinder, which turns an attached cam. When the cylinder is turned one way, the cam pulls in on the bolt and the door can be opened. When the cylinder is turned the opposite way, the cam releases the bolt and a spring snaps it into place so the door can’t be opened.
There are quite a few benefits in using master key systems, but the most obvious one is that access can be controlled across a building allowing appropriate people access to defined parts of the building. With a master key, it is possible to define exactly who has access to which areas and it is easy for use, as only one key is needed for all relevant doors.
We do basic mastering systems inhouse. A whole set of cylinders and even padlocks can be mastered which makes it very convenient for a manager or owner in a business, where one key fits all.
This works particularly well in hotels and guesthouses and makes the managers life a lot easier. It is also possible to have a sub-master or a few sub-masters which would mean that a few doors are opened by the sub-master and a few others by a different sub-master key. However, the grand-master gave access to all areas. For obvious reasons it is important that strict control is administered over the grand-master key.
High security keys can also be mastered which put the owner/manager in total control of all locks with a single key which could not be duplicated without the right authorization. Only selected few has access to the controlled blanks and therefore you have to have it cut where you bought the key.
Keyed Alike keys are exactly what it says – a set of locks, padlocks or cylinders that all can be opened with one key, similar to a master key system. However, in this case there is only one key that opens them all and there are no industrial keys for each lock.