Interchangeable Core

interchangeable core, Interchangeable Core

What are Interchangeable Core Locks

Interchangeable core locks provide you flexibility to manage the keyed locks in your facility. An interchangeable core lock has a removable core that houses the key cylinder for lock. These cores are generally compatible with several types of cores offering the flexibility and convenience of being able to swap out cores as needed. You can order most of our commercial door knobs, mortise locks and levers with standard keyway, or with interchangeable core. Some require you to purchase the cores separately.

Interchangeable Core Systems

Interchangeable core locks are very common for rental units, and are a major convenience and a cost saver for landlords and property management companies over the long run.

Also known simply as IC core, it is a lock system that uses special cores, which can be removed with a special key hight a control key. The idea is that when you have an apartment turn over, you can “change the locks” by yourself, and without any special tools or skill. By using the control key, you are able to remove the old cores and install replacement cores. We give you additional cores, so you have sufficient supply to rotate through the property. The cores can also be re-keyed and returned to you. IC cores can be master keyed, and can also use restricted keyways with non-duplicate keys. It is an investment that will absolutely pay off for you in the long run- offering both convenience and cost savings.

SFIC and LFIC provide for quickly changing/re-keying locks by replacing the keyed core. This task can be performed in seconds by a non-technical person. The tool used to do this is a key referred to as the control key. The control key operates and releases a retainer that holds the core inside the lock. After sliding the cores out, the control key is used to insert the new cores.

SFIC and LFIC systems require another piece of hardware so the cost is increased. The increased cost is offset by the convenience and security of changing a lock quickly and the cost savings of not having to pay for an emergency on-site re-key. The core can then be taken to the locksmith shop to be re-keyed and new keys, made ready for the next emergency change.

Generally, standard keyways do not work with SFIC. There are some key systems that are designed to exist in both SFIC and Conventional keyways. The most of commercial keyways are available as LFIC from the manufacturer of that brand of key. Most of commercial manufacturers offer high security and/or restricted keys in both LFIC and SFIC.

interchangeable core, Interchangeable Core
SFIC (Small Format Interchangeable Core) is more universal than LFIC. SFIC cores, and housings, are cross compatible. However, because of the size of the cylinder the keys used must have a lower profile than most commercial keyways. Some manufactures offer a restricted keyway in SFIC.
interchangeable core, Interchangeable Core
LFIC (Large Format Interchangeable Core) are cylinders made by major manufacturers (Schlage, Corbin Russwin, Sargent, Yale, Medeco, etc). It is similar to SFIC, but is manufacturer specific. Each manufacturer has it’s own shape of core and they are not cross-compatible. Most manufacturers make many, if not all, of their keys available in the LFIC configuration. They also generally produce a restricted or High Security type of cylinder in LFIC.

Key System: Standard Core vs. Interchangeable Core

When establishing a key system, one of the first decisions to make is the type of core you want to use. From there, you can go onto deciding on the system type, additional options, policies, and procedures. However, all of that starts with the basics – do you want a standard core or an interchangeable core?

Key System: Types of Cores

Standard Cores

key system, key systems standard core is what you are used to seeing in your home. It’s a small round core inserted into a cylinder that is directly attached to the lock. They are less expensive than interchangeable cores but have a few downsides in comparison.

One of the main reasons people use a key system is to effectively managing rekeys. As it turns out, the biggest downside of standard cores is the time and cost involved with rekeys. Standard cores cannot be rekeyed without disassembling the lock. This means that a locksmith technician has to come on site to physically rekey each lock.

It took two minutes and six seconds to rekey just one lock. Add up the time it takes to rekey all the locks in your facility that would need to be rekeyed, and you’re looking at a hefty bill.

Interchangeable Cores

CoreAn interchangeable core looks like a figure eight and is inserted into a cylinder using a special key called a control key. The best of using interchangeable cores for your key system is that they can easily be rekeyed without a technician.

In order to rekey an interchangeable core, a person needs four things: the control key for the existing core, the new core, the control key for the new core, and new keys. All of this is given by the key system vendor. The rekey process is simple: 1) remove the old core using the corresponding control key, 2) insert the new core using its corresponding control key, and 3) test the new keys in the core and distribute the new keys.

This process is incredibly fast and easy. Think about the savings of this versus having a locksmith technician come out to rekey all of your locks. While interchangeable cores are more costly up front, if you have to rekey your facility they more than pay for themselves in the long run.