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What Is a Master Key System?

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The operation of master key systems may be of interest to business owners, landlords, and commercial property managers. When it comes to granting access and managing security on a property with several doors, responsibilities, and personnel, it can be tough to strike a balance.

Here is all the information you need regarding master key installation and how it can benefit your business:

How Does a Master Key System Work?

A master key system is a design for securing a structure. Similar to an architect’s blueprint, it translates a concept to both allow and restrict property access. Any system offering several “access levels” must be customized to meet the security requirements of the building (or group of buildings) in which it is placed.

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Using time-honored symbols and abbreviations, such as MK for Master Key and GGM for a Great Grand Master key, a diagram resembling a genealogical family tree or a corporation’s organizational structure is created to indicate which keys will operate which lock, or group of locks. Similar to a building’s design, this diagram is used to illustrate how the system will be utilized. After approval of this keying scheme, key codes are recorded, cylinders are keyed, and keys are cut. Prior to ordering the locks, cylinders, and keys from the factory, the plan is typically altered numerous times without affecting the final price.

A master key system refers to a group of locks and the keys that control them that are hierarchically related, with one key at the ‘top’ that fits into a large number of locks and many keys at the ‘bottom’ that may only fit one lock. Less master key levels increase system security. Planning ahead is crucial.

Why would a business want to implement a master key system? 

There are numerous reasons for this, but the most important is greater security due to access control and restriction. The secondary factor is practicality. Have you ever observed a maintenance worker wearing a belt with a large key ring? When one key opens multiple doors, a well-designed master key system decreases the number of keys necessary.

In a master key system, specific keys can open a predetermined number of doors. In addition, a named key can operate several sorts of locks (such as door locks, cabinet locks, padlocks, etc.) so long as the cylinder within is of the same model.

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Within the context of a master key system, a master key is a key that may be used to access a number of interconnected locks. A primary school, for instance, may have a master key that unlocks all classroom doors. Each classroom door would be opened with a key that would only unlock that specific classroom door. However, that classroom key may also unlock the classroom’s closet. In other words, if the locks are keyed alike, a single key can unlock several locks (KA). Suppose this elementary school is part of a district having a single master key system for several school buildings. In that case, there may be a Great Grand Master key that could be assigned (and cut) to unlock the exterior doors as well as all classroom and closet doors.

The top-level key, referred to as the Great Grand Master on the accompanying chart, can open all doors in this example security system, while each lock also has its own unique key. Thus, master key systems might be organized according to departmental or other functional groupings in order to facilitate supervisory or emergency access. The next level, known as the Grand Master key, is restricted to specific doors, and so on. Typically, the initial level, or Change Key, only unlocks one door or chamber.

Four of the several criteria considered when designing a system are as follows:

  • the brand or manufacturer of the locks and keys (the most significant factor in determining the level of security);
  • number of locks in the system;
  • who is in charge of key distribution; and
  • positions of the doorways

A master key is any key that activates two or more unique locks. A master key will appear identical to all other keys in a master key scheme. It will have the same dimensions and basic form. Unless branded with identifying alphanumeric characters such as “GGM” or “GM” or “A,” only the cuts will distinguish it. A master key may be replicated in the same manner as any other key if the appropriate authorization and key blank are present.

However, for a master key to function, the lock cylinders must have “master pins.” When the master pins align, the key and lock are free to rotate. According to the codes assigned to a lock cylinder, color-coded, size- and shape-specific pins are put into the cylinder.

How Does It Function?

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The most popular type of lock, pin tumbler locks operate using a key and driver pins within a cylinder. When a key is inserted into the key plug, the pins are lifted to a certain height, known as the shear line, allowing the lock to be opened. Master key locks contain two shear lines: one for change keys or sub-master keys, which only unlock certain doors, and one for master keys, which open all doors.

Although the master key is typically the highest-ranking key in the system, firms may occasionally employ grand-master or great-grand-master keys that can unlock numerous master key systems.

Advantages of Utilizing a Master Key System

Master key systems provide numerous advantages for ease, control, and security. They enable controlled access, allowing you to offer personnel keys to only certain doors while retaining access to all others. Master keys also eliminate the need to carry hefty key rings and identify which key opens which door; you’ll just need a single key for everything.

Investing in a master key system will improve the safety, security, and manageability of your company or property.

Install a Master Key System With YH Lock & Security

If you’re ready to implement a master key system, rely on YH Lock & Security to provide the service and technology you require. Providing top-notch locksmith and key services in Las Vegas. Contact us today. 

YH Lock & Security 6445 W Sunset Rd Unit #168 Las Vegas, NV 89118