How Do Industrial Locks Work?

How Do Industrial Locks Work?

07 Aug 2019

Industrial locks are used across many industries and provide excellent security for a whole host of security applications, from safes to sports lockers. Each lock type will have its own operating mechanism, some of which we’ll explore in this article. 

Disc tumbler lock

Disc tumbler locks, like our disc tumbler cam locks, are generally used for applications such as:

  • Metal and wooden furniture
  • Personal storage (e.g. lockers)
  • Display equipment

The following diagrams show how the mechanism of an industrial disc tumbler lock operates:

Without a key in the lock, the wafers (red) are pushed down by springs. The wafers nestle into a groove in the lower part of the housing (green) preventing the cylinder or barrel (yellow) from rotating.




When the correct key is inserted, the wafers or tumblers (red) that reside in the cylinder are raised up out of the groove in the housing (green).





With the wafers unobstructed, the key, wafers, and plug (yellow) can rotate.





Radial pin tumbler (RPT) lock

Radial pin tumbler (RPT) locks are considered to be more resistant to lock picking than the disc tumbler variant. This makes them ideal for industrial locking applications such as:

  • Campers, trailers and motohome security
  • Automotive aftermarket (for insurance purposes)
  • Vending and slot machines

The following diagram illustrates how a radial pin tumbler lock works:

The key pins (red) and driver pins (blue) are pushed towards the front of the lock, preventing the plug (yellow) from rotating. The tubular key has several half-cylinder indentations which align with the pins.



The protrusion on top of the key fits into the rectangular recess in the lock, causing the indentations to align with the pins. When the key is inserted, the gaps between the key pins (red) and driver pins (blue) align with the shear plane separating the plug (yellow) from the outer casing (green).



With the pins correctly aligned, the lock may turn.



Lever lock

For an even higher level of security suitable for a broad range of industries, a lever lock may be the solution. 

Opposed to tumblers, a lever lock uses a set of levers which stops the locking bolt from moving. When a key is inserted, the levers are lifted, freeing the bolt and allowing it to be operated. Lever locks are available with a varying number of levers but generally, the higher the number of levers, the more secure the lock.

Applications of this type of industrial lock include:

  • High security metal furniture
  • Safe manufacturing
  • Cash management systems (cash registers)
  • PC security

Electronic kit lock

Electronic kit locks are generally used for industrial applications such as:

  • Metal and wooden furniture
  • Personal storage (e.g. lockers)

The unit is normally battery powered and stores a number of codes. To open the unit the user types a code into a keypad. The code is compared to the internally stored codes and, if the entered code is correct, the unit unlocks.

The unit may close automatically after a short period (retaining the original code) or it may stay open (cancelling its code). In the latter case, a code is typed in to the unit in order to lock it. The same code must then be used to open it.

A stored master code can be used to re-program the unit so that its operating mode is changed. Or the master code may be used simply to open the unit in the event that the user code has been forgotten.

Unique to our electronic kit locks, you can use our steel override key to bypass the go keyless code lock feature when immediate supervisory access is necessary.

Radio frequency identification (RFID) lock

A radio frequency identification (RFID) lock is a keyless door lock that provides contactless entry. This type of electronic kit lock uses a radio wave frequency to transmit a signal from the card key to the reader in the lock. This allows the user to hold the key card within a certain range of the lock, and easily open the door. 

Benefits include ease of use for all authorised personnel and increased security.

Typical areas of application for this type of lock include:

  • Educational institutions
  • Governement and public venues
  • Healthcare facilities
  • Corporate and industrial facilities

Mechanical combination lock

Lowe & Fletcher have been designing and manufacturing mechanical combination locks for different industries for many years. These locks use several rotating discs which must be turned to specific numbers in a specific order for the lock to release. 

The discs have notches cut into the inside which are hooked by the teeth of a pin, which secures the lock. When the teeth line up to the notches on the discs, the lock can open.

Although this type of lock is keyless, a lot of mechanical combination locks offer a key override in the event that the code is forgotten.  

Lowe & Fletcher supplies a wide range of locks that are fit for purpose across many industries. Inquire about our industrial lock options today, and a member of our team can advise you on the best solution for your requirements! 


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