Euro Cylinder Locks Explained
A Euro Cylinder lock, or ‘pin tumbler lock’ (as it was originally known when patented in 1805), is used primarily as a locking medium to operate a lock case. Euro Cylinder locks are today’s most popular locking system amongst locksmiths and architectural ironmongers.
Modern Euro Cylinders feature anti-drill, anti-bump, anti-pick and anti-snap security measures, making them perfect for a range of locations including; homes, schools, academies, care homes and hospitals to name just a few!
How a Euro Cylinder Lock Works
The Euro Cylinder is located through the lock case and secured by a fixing screw through the face of the lock case. The key rotates a cam which in turn drives the deadbolt in the lock case into a prepared keep in the frame of the door, thus securing the door in place.
Standard Differ Euro Cylinders
The ‘standard differ’ Euro Cylinder is the most common cylinder lock. It’s widely available from DIY stores, specialist retailers and locksmiths. Master Key Systems stock a wide range of Euro Profile and Oval Profile cylinder locks, or as they are sometimes called; ‘door lock barrels.
What Does Keyed to Differ Mean?
When a lock is made to ‘differ’ it means that every cylinder has a different key, and so one cylinder’s key will not operate another. The Oval Profile, or British Oval Profile, works on exactly the same principle as the Euro Cylinder lock but instead features an oval shape rather than a euro profile shape.
What Does Keyed Alike Mean?
When a lock is ‘keyed alike’ it means that the lock is identical to another (or many) thus meaning one key will operate all locks that are ‘keyed alike’. This is Different to a Master Keyed System, whereby each door may have its unique key, but a ‘master key’ may still operate differed locks. Keyed alike groups are quite common in larger Master Key Systems typically for Risers or communal doors.
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The Security of Modern Locking Systems
The latest level of cylinder security is the British Standard Kite Mark TS* cylinders rated 1-3 star. 1-star being the basic level and 3-stars being the highest level (at the time of reporting, 2020). A 3-star cylinder now offers; Anti Drill, Anti Pick, Anti Bump and Anti Snap security measures. This does not, however, guarantee key security as some of the manufacturers have made their Kite Marked Euro Profile cylinders on a standard keyway where key blanks are available at key bars and locksmiths.
Increased security has been achieved through recognising the need for restricted key types, making them unavailable to distributors and key cutting establishments. Some manufacturers like Master Key Systems have achieved this by patent protecting the key and cylinder, combining the patent features between the key and the Euro Cylinder.
Euro Cylinders that are manufactured to the BSI specifications will often feature engravings on the face of the cylinder.
Euro Cylinders Can Vary in Length
The Euro Profile Cylinder, or, Euro Lock Barrel as it is sometimes referred, is available in a variety of lengths. Single or half Euro Cylinder locks typically range from 40mm to 50mm, whilst Euro Cylinders range from 60mm up to 120mm as standard, equal lengths from the central cam.
For example, an 80mm length standard Euro Profile Cylinder lock will measure 40mm either side of the operating cam.
With the advent of PVCu doors; unequal or offset Euro Cylinder locks have become the norm. Sizes vary from 70mm up to 120mm.
For example, an 85mm lock will measure 40mm from one side of the cam and 45mm from the other side.
Thumb Turn Designs
Some Euro Cylinder Locks feature ‘thumb turns’ or ‘knobs’, meaning that a key is not required to operate the lock from the inside the property, this is particularly popular with fire authorities as they deem thumb-turn locks safer to use on fire exits.
A large variety of thumb turns have been developed over the years to allow them for use in a diverse range of commercial and domestic buildings where the users have limited mobility or conditions such as Arthritis. Here at Master Key Systems, we’ve developed a range of cylinders including a DDA-standard disabled thumb turn that fits both euro profile Cylinders and oval profile cylinders.
How the Euro Cylinder Has Developed Over the Years
One of the first developments made to the ‘pin tumbler lock’ was the introduction of anti-drill locks. Designed to prevent criminals from drilling into the ‘core’, or, ‘plug’ of the Euro Cylinder. It also prevented drilling below the plug into the body of the Euro Cylinder, where damage could be done to the spring drivers and operating pins.
Just like in modern times, people would accidentally lose their keys, and so locksmiths were required to pick doors open for their customers. The criminal fraternity soon spied an opportunity to break into properties by picking Euro Cylinders, and so new measures had to be taken. Anti-pick locks were developed and soon became the norm.
Many key types have been designed for use with Euro Profile cylinder locks, mostly created by manufacturers attempting to set trends with patented designs. However, designs that weren’t protected by patents were ultimately copied and an industry was created supplying key bars and locksmiths with key blanks. As the demand for euro cylinders grew, they became more readily available.
Keen to be one step ahead of criminals looking to exploit weak locking systems, the industry introduced British Standards to encourage manufacturers of Euro Cylinder Locks to improve not only their reliability, but also its actual security level. In common with responsible manufacturers, Master Key Systems secured BSEN 1303 2005 on its range of Euro Profile Cylinders.
The BSEN 1303 2005 standard ensures minimum levels of reliability and degrees of security depending on the standard achieved during testing. This was to be the start of a new era for Euro Profile Cylinder Locks. A new standard was created to offer the many users of Euro cylinders a wider choice depending on the application i.e. low-level risk to high-level risk of break in.