Medeco Locks

Medeco was founded about half a century ago in 1968. The company has a manufacturing facility located in Salem, Virginia where it manufactures high security products that are used across the world. Their locks are used in a variety of applications and buildings including offices, homes, parking metres, vending machines, military and government installations, among others.

The Medeco customer base is widely varied and includes wholesale and retail security providers, industrial, commercial, institutional, and residential users, as well as original equipment manufacturers. Medeco is a company operating under the ASSA ABLOY Group, which is a leading manufacturer and supplier of locks, locking systems, and other associated products.

Medeco lock

What are the origins of Medeco?

Medeco was originally Mechanical Development Company. It was started by Roy C. Spain and Paul A. Powell in the mid-fifties in a basement in Roanoke County. Mechanical Development Company was originally a tool and die shop, however, it wasn’t until after Spain had designed a new lock and received a patent for it that Medeco started as an actual company.

As a way to promote his new lock, Mr Spain put out an announcement that he would give $50,000 to anyone who was able to pick his lock. No one was able to do it except for a New York detective who did pick the lock once but could not repeat the feat.

The unique working principle created by Mr Spain provided millions of key combinations. It consisted of elevating and rotating pin tumblers and angled key cuts. At the time, this kind of high security could not be matched by anything else. Most forms of attack would be ineffective to disarm the highly resistant lock.

After this, it was only expected that the company would expand quickly and begin to grow exponentially. Medeco is presently located in a 130,000 square foot facility where it has been since the seventies when the facility was opened.

More designs

Under the trade name of Biaxial, Medeco designed a new product in 1985. This new design employed the use of rotating and elevating tumblers to provide high security and key control. Due to the special offset tips on the pins and double cuts on the keys, the lock provided greater master key capability. To make it even more solid, hardened steel inserts were included in the design to make physical attacks ineffective against the lock.

Another landmark design by the company was in 1995 when Medeco launched Keymark. The product was designed specifically for installations that required strong patented key control but did not need features that provided additional drill and pick resistance. Keymark came with an interchangeable core that directly retrofit SFICs (small format interchangeable cores). Later in 2001, the company released another high security product called Medeco 3.

Medeco’s first electronic locks

It wasn’t until the early nineties that the company launched VLS which kicked off their move into making electronic locks. It was an electro-mechanical solution that was used widely in the payphone industry. Later, the company followed that with a controller/contact based product – an EAC solution in Siteline.

Still around the late nineties, the company redesigned the VLS application. It had previously been successful for industrial uses and this time, the company redesigned the application specifically for the parking sector. Later in 2001, the company released their Nextgen product created particularly for vending, parking, and other industrial uses.

Nextgen was followed up in late 2006 with a product called Logic. The new security solution used an ASSA ABLOY technology called CLIQ. In 2007, the company released Hybrid Keys which used iClass and Prox technology.

How are Medeco locks designed?

A Medeco lock is designed for a side-bar to drop as the angled courts of the lock’s key raise and rotate pins within the lock. This then allows the cylinder to drop. The pins can be rotated by the key’s angled cuts because they have a unique chisel tip. They also have a slot among their length which the sidebar drops into the moment the pin rotates to the appropriate orientation.

The pin also has two difference offsets to it due to the off-centre design of the chisel tip, making the keyway highly secure. Theoretically, there are 2,176,782,336 key combinations provided by 2 offsets, 3 rotational positions, 6 heights, and 6 pins. It is due to this flexibility that Biaxial is very attractive to large master-keyed institutions.

What products do Medeco offer?

The Medeco range of products is a wide range that includes deadbolts, rim and mortise cylinders, switch locks, and so on. Medeco Maxum deadbolts are strong and the company’s deadbolt solution includes products with a variety of features such as high security and key control, among others.

For UL437 Physical Security and patented key control, Medeco offers a fine range of eCylinder solutions as well as rim and mortise cylinders. Their key-in-knob cylinders are manufactured to retrofit bored type auxiliary dead latches and deadlocks, padlocks, cylindrical locksets of a lever type, and knob type cylindrical locksets.

They also have LFIC cylinders and SFIC products in their range of products. The LFIC cylinders make it possible for a non-technical person to be able to easily and quickly change the cores using a designated control key. Their range of high security padlocks and cabinet locks are designed to accept both eCylinders and mechanical cylinders.

The company also offers professional design and implementation services such as system deployment and system planning in order to ensure every Medeco Intelligent Key System performs optimally. They offer an SPC Secure Programming and Charging Device for Medeco XT and a stand-alone way to manage several keys within a single location in the form of the T21 Key Management System.

Medeco’s range of high security cam locks come in a 3/4inch diameter locks manufactured with hardened, stainless steel inserts, among other features. They also offer a high security switch lock that is 3/4inches in diameter and offers Medeco’s patented key control and physical security along with a wide range of electrical functions.