Cylinders and cores are essential to a security system and access control. Cylinders and cores are often thought of as the same but they are slightly different. A Cylinder is a completed unit that encapsulates a lock and its core, composed of a shell, plug, tumblers, springs, plug retainer, and a spring cover. The core is only the inner portion of the cylinder, forming the key section on a lock. When a key is inserted into the core and turned, it will unlock or lock the hardware.
Cylinders come in three types; conventional cylinders, rim cylinders, and mortise cylinders. Conventional cylinders will oftentimes require the lock to be disassembled or broken down in order to be changed. Conventional cylinders are also known and referred to as key-in-lever or key-in-knob locks. Mortise cylinders are threaded and will be screwed into the locking mechanism. Rim cylinders are typically used on an exit device.
There are two types of cores; removable cores and interchangeable cores. Removable cores can be taken out of the locking mechanism to be rekeyed without dismantling the whole lock. An interchangeable core can come in a small format interchangeable core or a large format interchangeable core. Interchangeable cores can have a control key or master key and can be a great key system for larger places that need locks changed quickly and easily.
The lock, cylinder, and keys are all a part of the door hardware and should be the same finish as the rest of your hardware. Finishes can come in satin chrome, polished brass, bronze, and many other finishes. The master key system is an important part of security. High security places will need better locks and can even utilize electrified locks. The cylinders and cores provide added security. You may need additional information before determining which of the numerous applications will be best for access control.