Disc Tumbler Locks

What are disc tumbler locks?

Disc tumbler locks are a distinct form of locking systems that are mostly confused with wafer tumbler locks. A typical disc tumbler lock works with a mechanism that comprises of rotating detainer discs, washers and a sidebar. In most widely used designs, the locking bolt is actuated when the properly rotated discs contact the sidebar component.

These kind of tumbler locks are operated by uniquely cut keys. When the key is inserted into the lock, it rotates the detainer discs of the lock to line with the slots in order to enable the sidebar fall into the slots and open or lock the lock.

The mechanism of a disc tumbler lock is designed to operate without springs, unlike the wafer tumbler locks. This feature makes it a more suitable locking system for tough and severe conditions, that is why they are prevalently used in out of door locations like public service establishments and buildings, railroads, and security sensitive installations.

What is the history of disc tumbler locks?

In 1907, young Emil Henriksson, a precision mechanic in Finland, discovered that the mechanism of the rotating detainer discs housed in a cylinder can be practicably applied to locks, when he was fixing a register. He pursued this discovery and in 1919, the disc tumbler lock was invented, and patented as Henriksson’s Patent Lock.

The company, Ab Lukko Oy, now known simply as Abloy, was founded in 1919 to industrially produce the lock for the mass public. In 1921, Henriksson decided to sell his patent rights to Abloy. He continued in the company for a number of years to see to the improvements of the lock.

The Abloy lock, as it was prominently called in Finland, was widely utilised in the country, even until this day. The lock has seen modifications throughout history and in 1978, Abloy introduced an electric version of lock for the printing works of the Bank of Finland. In the following years, more steps would be taken to manufacture electromechanical locks.

However, in more recent times, big brands like Kryptonite,  ABUS and others have since joined in the production of disc tumbler locks because of the widespread adoption of the locks.

How is a disc tumbler lock designed?

The main constituents of a standard Abloy lock includes a semi-cylindrical key with notches and detainer discs with holes spanning to a 3/4 circle of 270 degrees from a semicircle of 180 degrees. To open the lock, the key is rotated 90 degrees after insertion, the notches are geared to an angle to correspond angles in the holes of the discs that are complementary. A rotation to the right angle matches any misalignment of the slots. The movement of the cylinder of the lock is blocked to turn beyond 90 degrees by an edge in the casing and a sidebar inside a hole in the cylinder of the lock that is around the discs.

The mechanism of the lock makes it easy to create multiple keys for a single lock. Circular-holed blank discs are utilised and only the notches shared by keys can be implemented in the mechanism.

How does the disc tumbler lock work?

The ratio of the hole of a disc tumbler lock to its key is normally 3 to 2. For example, if a hole is sized at 240 degrees, the key has to be 150 degrees and if the key is at 180 degrees, the hole must be 270 degrees in order to enable the both to work well together.

When the appropriate lock key is inserted into the lock and rotated, notches in the perimeter will line up due to the rotation of the discs that was initiated by the key. This action enables a sidebar from the cylinder to fall into the groove created by the notches that are lined up, so that the cylinder can be rotated to open the lock without obstruction. The lock won’t unlock if a wrong key is used because, with a wrong notch or notches, the corresponding number of discs will turn to the wrong angle and alignment cannot be achieved.

To re-lock, the key is rotated to the opposite direction returning the sidebar into the cylinder from the groove, to enable the key take the discs back to their former position.

What level of security do disc tumbler locks offer?

The rigid nature of disc tumbler locks make them extremely difficult to pick compared to other lock systems, especially the pin tumbler locks. They cannot be bumped and as such, intruders may have to turn to advanced methods which are more tasking in order to breach them.

To disable the mechanism of the lock, the side-bar will need to be destroyed by drilling into lock, but this can be combated by installing anti-drilling plates.

Without the use of springs, the lock is also well protected against severe weather situations and is not susceptible to rust and damp weather hazards.

Disc-tumbler locks are often branded as high-security locks, they can be effectively used in cam locks to protect file cabinets, money drawers, lock boxes and tool boxes because of the rigidity that they posses.

Also, high-end disc tumbler locks come with an added mechanism called false gates that deceive intruders into thinking they might have picked the lock when they haven’t.

Cheaper disc tumbler locks, however, can be easily bypassed by inserting a torquing device such as a screwdriver to pop off the lock’s retainer and remove the inner components.

More detailed information about the disc tumbler locks an the suitable applications of the different ranges in the market today can be gotten from Toplocksmiths.

What is the price of disc tumbler locks?

The cost of disc tumbler locks vary according to quality, model and materials employed in manufacturing the lock type in particular. The place to be secured is also a huge factor that determines the kind of lock to be used. Personal choice could also weigh in.

For disc tumbler locks, prices go high with regards to the more advanced lock types like the ones with false gates for example, and of course, another factor is the source of purchase.

To make the best buys when it comes to disc tumbler locks, the fair prices on offer from Toplocksmiths will prove to be the best choice.

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