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Whether reversible key locking systems, locking plans or pressure cylinders, this section provides at-a-glance explanations of all the important topics.

Alarm key system

The alarm key system is a technology that allows a user to operate certain double cylinders, even if a key is inserted in the keyway from the other side.

Annular core holders

Annular core holders are brass or steel clamps that act as connecting elements between the inner and outer core, including the coupling.

Armoured ring

The armoured ring is a steel ring fitted to the cylinder body, which prevents pulling of the cylinder housing by means of a detent on the rear side of the security fitting (this provides push-through protection at the same time).

Asymmetric cylinder

This refers to locking cylinders whose inner and outer sides have different base lengths.

Ball deflection pin

This is a special technique for deflecting a locking ball built into key into a manipulation-protection deflection chamber in the cylinder.


Bundesverband der Hersteller und Einrichterfirmen für Sicherheitssysteme e.V. (Federal Association of Manufacturers and Installers of Security Systems) based in Dittweiler, Germany.

Brass key

A brass key is a cylinder key made of a copper and zinc alloy.


Comité Européenne de Normalisation, European Committee for Standardization, based in Brussels, Belgium.

Central locking system

A central locking system is a locking system, in which several different, individual keys together, or partly, lock one or more central locking cylinders.

Conventional locking systems

This designation generally refers to locking systems with angular milled key cutting.

Core head groove

The core head groove is a milled edge on the cylinder core head for receiving the bow to improve torque transfer.

Coupling technology – normal version

Standard coupling technology is a technology that only allows the double cylinder to be closed alternately using the authorised key.

Cylinder extension

This refers to the gradual adjustment of the cylinder length to the respective door thickness in combination with the door furniture.

Decoding protection

Decoding protection refers to the degree of difficulty in ascertaining the tumbler locking codes in a locking cylinder surreptitiously, using suitable tools but without using undue force, in order to cut a duplicate key in accordance with the dimensions which have been revealed.

Deposit box or locker locks

These are special locks for receiving coins or plastic chips that allow locking with a key when inserted. On unlocking with the key, the coin or plastic chip is released.


German Institute for Standardization, based in Berlin, Germany.

Disk tumblers

Disk tumblers are disk-shaped, typically unsprung tumblers.

Double-sided locking

This refers to a technique that allows all authorised key holders to operate a double cylinder even if a key is inserted in the keyway from the other side.

Drill hole recesses

Drill hole recesses are circular millings in the keys that guide and control the lifting movements of the pin tumblers in the cylinder.

Drop-shaped pin tumblers

These are used by the leading side edge to stabilise the lift path.

Dumbbell head pins

This is the term for dumbbell-shaped core pins that make picking and pushing into the keyway with a copied key more difficult by tipping to the side.

Frustoconical pin heads

These are used to fine-tune the locking precision.

Gable roof-shaped pin heads

These are used to optimise the pin positions in the locking cylinder.

General master key system

The general master key system consists of several master key systems. The general master key gives a person access to all rooms at any time. Several other people can possess different superordinate master group keys or superordinate group keys that lock specific door sections in the overall system.

Half-knob cylinders

These are locking cylinders that only have one locking side. Available in all housing profile variants.

Identification card

An identification card is the card belong to the owner of single cylinders as a credential for ordering spare parts; the order can only be made by the specialist retailer.


International Standardisation Organisation, based in Geneva, Switzerland.

Key blanks

Key blanks are uncut and undrilled keys that are equipped with the basic profile.

Key bore

Key bores are mainly used in reversible key systems on both flat sides of the key, the number and drill-down depth match the tumblers (often also the profile control pins) in the corresponding lock cylinder.

Key copying protection

Key copying protection refers to the degree of difficulty of operating the lock cylinder with a key other than the associated key.

Key cuts

Key cuts are typically notches on the narrow side of the key whose numbers and incision depths match the tumblers of the corresponding locking cylinder.

Key removal position

This refers to the position of the cylinder core, in which the key can be removed.


The keyway is the opening in the lock cylinder core for receiving the key.

Keyway mouth

This is the funnel-shaped chamfer on the cylinder core head for easy insertion of the key into the cylinder core.

Lock cam

The cam is the part of the cylinder that is actuated by turning the key, the tumblers and the bolt mechanism of the lock; the lock cam may possibly operate other functional elements, such as electrical switches in elevators.

Lock picking protection

Lock picking protection refers to the degree of difficulty involved in non-violently overcoming the locking members in a lock cylinder with non-destructive tools and without knowledge of the associated key.

Locking bars

Locking bars are axial bars embedded in the cylinder core that are operated by a special embodiment of the pin tumblers and permit the correct key to release the rotation of the cylinder core.

Locking cylinders

A locking cylinder is a component that is typically designed for installation in specially prepared locks. When the key is turned, the cam in the locking cylinder moves the tumblers in the lock, the deadbolt and possibly also the trip.

Locking disks

Locking disks are semi-circular, typically spring-loaded disks in the cylinder core which are actuated by special lateral grooves in the key.

Locking option

The locking option is a specified arrangement of key cuts or key bores for a particular locking cylinder assembly.

Locking plan

The locking plan covers all the positions of a master locking system, typically: Room designation, key number, system type designation, lock cylinder lengths, lock cylinder colours, functional scheme key/cylinder, number of locking cylinders and keys.

Master key system

A master key system is a system in which a master key can lock all of the, typically different, locking cylinders that occur in the locking system.

Mushroom head pins

This is the term for mushroom-shaped core pins that make picking and pushing into the keyway with a copied key more difficult by tipping to the side.

New building key (measuring key)

A new building key is a measuring and binding tool, which on the one hand determines the length of the cylinder, and on the other can operate the lock without a cylinder being installed.

Nickel silver keys

This is a wear-resistant cylinder key made from a copper, nickel, lead and zinc alloy.

Oval cylinder (double cylinder)

Oval cylinders as double cylinders are two-piece locking cylinders (with inside and outside housings) fastened together by connecting rods and featuring an oval housing profile.

Oval cylinder deadbolt locks

These are one-piece locking cylinders with a built-in rotary latch (various lengths), which are actuated by a toothed gear. They do not require a separate lock case.


This is the term for locks with shackles or bolts for closing, e.g., doors, shutters, containers with corresponding eyelets for receiving the shackle or bolt.

Paracentric profile

This is the term for key profiles where the profile grooves touch or cross the central axis of the key at least twice.

Partner key

Partner keys are two-part keys that must both be inserted into the keyways for unlocking or locking. (Two-person controlled locking).

Patent protection

Patent protection is an intellectual property right of the owner of the patent that provides protection against economic exploitation of the owner's invention a third party during the patent term. The patent term is 20 years in Europe, starting on patent application.

Pin tumblers

A pin tumbler is a tumbler, consisting of a core pin, a housing pin and a pin-tumbler spring, that only allows the cylinder core to rotate in the cylinder housing if key associated with the locking cylinder is inserted, and displaces the core pins and housing pins so that the pins release the separation plane between the core and the housing.

Plate tumblers

Plate tumblers are spring-loaded, single-piece, plate-shaped tumblers.

Pressure cylinder

This refers to small round or oval cylinder, but also to profile half-knob cylinders, whose locking pin is engaged by pushing in the cylinder, and can only be released using a key.

Profile cylinder

Profile cylinders are single-piece lock cylinders with standardised profile that are typically firmly screwed onto the lock case by a face plate screw.

Protection against drilling (mechanical)

Mechanical protection against drilling is a technical means of defence against attacks by drilling. For instance: Steel body, tungsten carbide body inserted in the cylinder core and the cylinder housing.

Reversible key locking system

These are typically systems whose keys are symmetrically bored on both sides, thus allowing key insertion in two key positions. A distinction is made between locking systems with vertical and horizontal keyways.

Round cylinder (double cylinder)

Round cylinders as double cylinders are two-piece locking cylinders (with inside and outside housings) fastened together by connecting rods and featuring a round housing profile.

Round cylinders with male thread

Round cylinders with male thread are half-cylinders which are bolted into a special lock with their external thread.

Run-up and lift-off surfaces

Run-up and lift-off surfaces on the key optimise the lifting movements of all pin tumblers in the cylinder by controlling and actuating the movements.

Security identity card

This is the ID belonging to the owner of a locking system or coded individual lock. It serves as a credential for ordering spare parts from the manufacturer.

Semi-ideal line

This is a key manufacturing technology that optimises key insertion.

Separation planes (lines)

A separation plane or line is defined as the plane between the cylinder core and cylinder housing that only allows the cylinder core to rotate in the cylinder housing if the associated key is inserted, and the tumblers are thus correctly aligned.

Steel key

This is a cylinder key made of steel typically with a nickel-plated surface.

Step increment

The step increment is the smallest nominal dimensional difference between different key cuts or key bores.

Structure pins

Structure pins are locking members used in addition to the pin tumblers that to the additional isolation levels necessary for the locking function.

Swiss cylinders

Swiss cylinders are single-piece round cylinders with a round housing and mounting bosses on the lower housing part for receiving the fastening screw, e.g., the face plate screw.

Trademark protection

Trademark protection refers to civil and criminal protection of registered trademarks. The protection lasts for 10 years and can be renewed for another 10 years.


Tumblers are the locking members in the locking cylinder.

Utility-model patent protection

Utility-model patent protection is an intellectual property right of the owner of the utility model that provides protection against economic exploitation by a third party during the product life. The utility model is required for technological innovations relating to work equipment, utensils, that represent an advancement in the state of the art of the design, application, or marketing. The utility-model patent protection period is 3 years and can be extended for three years.

Wobble pin

This is the term for loose, mushroom-shaped pins embedded in the core pin that make picking and pushing into the keyway with a copied key more difficult by tipping to the side.


Verband der Schadensversicherer e.V. (Association of Property Insurers) based in Cologne, Germany. Private association to which most property insurers belong.