Industrial Facilities Adopting Advanced Security for Efficiency Gains
Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 11/15/2011 | Article type: Commercial Markets
The industrial sector was negatively impacted by the economic downturn due to lower consumer spending. Production of automobiles and primary metals dropped 30 percent or more during the recession. The early 2011 earthquake in Japan was no help, as it caused shortages of critical components in various sectors.
These crises emphasize the need of facility managers to have more efficient management practices, which are enabled through the marriage of automation and security. This approach makes for a safer and more productive work environment, yet also has significant cost-saving benefits .
China has the strongest growth in industrial estate development, with fast growth also witnessed in neighboring India and Vietnam. Singapore and Malaysia are also having a healthy number of industrial estate developments, said Patrick Lim, Director of Sales and Marketing for Ademco Far East. “The key difference in most of the current industrial estates is the usage, and thus the value, of the development. There is a shift of focus to higher value use for these industrial estates.”
“We are seeing a 30- to 40-percent increase in security spending in these new industrial estates,” Lim continued. “However, compared to the older industries, the new types of businesses occupying these spaces are in high-tech manufacturing, R&D, energy and high-value services; which are much higher in value.”
Gone are the dirty and messy impressions of these developments, Lim said. “The new industrial estates are built for high-value businesses. Thus the emphasis is on good security and technology to add value to their business.”
Entering the Perimeter
Starting from the very outer rim of an industrial plant, there are several considerations for site access. It depends on whether the site is closed or open. “Closed sites have perimeter fencing that protects the entire site and its estates. The site could also be open, in which case the site can be freely walked around and physical protection is not present until you get to the building,” said Ian Hodgson, Regional MD for North U.K., ADT Fire and Security. “However, both types share similarities in how a design is secured. The design has to be based on two things, pedestrian access and vehicular access, which are approached separately.”
For vehicular access, there are generally several groups. There are the staff members who work in the facility, visitors driving to the site, people in the supply chain bringing in raw materials and, finally, people dispatching the finished goods.
An increasing number of sites are beginning to adopt ALPR to automate vehicular access, Hodgson said. “They can discern which group the vehicle belongs to. The security system grants access rights according to that information and, using information display systems, guide the vehicle to areas within the site. This helps automate traffic control and directional control, reducing the need for human resources.”
For example, there could be an external gate which grants access according to information obtained by the ALPR system. Information boards guide drivers through the most direct route to their destination. There could also be other gates and barriers along the way, which are opened according to the access rights of the vehicle.
Video surveillance that utilizes intelligence is used to monitor workflow and the direction in which people are walking around the site.
“When anomalies occur, there might be a reason to investigate,” Hodgson said. This reduces the number of guards needed to patrol the site. [NextPage]
Heading into the building itself, access to the building is allowed or denied based on a person's credentials. The greatest demands for access control solutions lie in time and attendance management, entry and exit control, and parking facility monitoring, said Jiangong Ding, Industry Director for Hikvision Digital Technology.
Access solution requirements can include almost every variety of readers and credentials on the market, said Kevin McCaughey, VP of Security Solutions, Buildings Business, Schneider Electric. “Specific use cases spell out which readers or credentials are required in a given circumstance.”
The type of access control used within the facility depends on the aperture, Hodgson said. “It depends on whether it's a person or vehicle, for internal or external access, whether access needs to be both ways, person-by- person, or can have many people move through at once.” For example, pedestrian access to the site may be limited by swipe cards and turnstiles, which allows the system to know if a person is on- or off-site. Closer to the building itself, there might be a simple door lock mechanism or another form of turnstile to restrict access to one person at a time. It all depends on the usage of the building.
In addition, more users are migrating towards biometric readers as they become more affordable and reliable. “Tokens can be shared among staff members, while biometric data is much more difficult to pass around,” Hodgson said. “Some clients require biometrics to create a foolproof security system.” While video verification coupled with access control tokens help in this regard, it is a more expensive solution.
The two most common biometric readers in industrial settings are fingerprint and retinal. “Facial recognition is currently still on the more expensive side of biometrics, as it involves a larger area of view using video and other technologies and a database for lookups and comparisons,” Hodgson continued.
“From an affordability perspective, fingerprint readers are preferred. However, technology is constantly changing and improving, and access control solutions that contain data and images of users can be related to by video systems. There are some entrylevel systems of that nature, but that technology is still quite embryonic.”
Furthermore, there is an increased demand for centrally managed access control systems. "In particular, customers who need to control several sites rather than just the one building require a multisite solution that can be distributed geographically and at the same time can be centrally monitored and administered,” said Markus Niederberger, Head of Marketing Support for Fire Safety and Security, Siemens Building Technologies.
Some customers require a fully centralized system management. “Others prefer a mix of centralized and distributed management,” Niederberger said. “Typically, these customers also require system redundancy, a next-to-zeroapplication downtime, the ability to interface to legacy components as well as the integration with their IT and HR systems to optimize the business workflows.” [NextPage]
Keeping an Eye on Processes
The use of video cameras on the production line enables real-time monitoring of the entire production process, Ding said. “It is also possible now to monitor staff members for performance, as well as compliance to regulations and company policy. When something goes wrong, the manager can remotely instruct or alert staff members to ensure problems are resolved quickly.”
Furthermore, video surveillance allows a single person to monitor several locations without having to be physically present, whereas in the past, one supervisor was needed to watch each location, Ding said. This drastically reduces the manpower needed for specialized tasks.
Machine vision cameras can also be utilized to monitor the production line for quality issues. There are two differences between security cameras and machine vision cameras, said Hardy Mehl, Director of IP Business for Basler. “For machine vision, there is a very controlled environment, which means there is stable lighting and the camera looks at very defined objects. The camera or video system does not have to work in challenging light conditions. This is a big difference from the security world, where you always have the sun coming up or shades or reflections, so security cameras are more optimized to changing, dynamic environments.” The other is compression, as all network cameras use compression algorithm such as M-JPEG or H.264. “Typically in the industrial automation world, raw data is transmitted,” Mehl said. “This is a big difference that has implications on which interface to use between the camera and the PC. In the industrial world, you need much higher bandwidth since the data is not compressed. The computer is looking at the image, and you need the absolute best quality in terms of signal-to-noise ratio to calculate and get every little detail.”
Security cameras are different, as every detail is not essential or practical. “You need high-resolution, but typically you need compressed images that are just good enough, and you need lower bandwidth because you store for a long time,” Mehl said. “In the industrial environment, you don't transmit live streams, but rather you shoot images. You make snapshots and you transmit the snapshots in very high frequencies.” The two types of cameras are not interchangeable in most cases, but due to the technological development and market development, there are some applications that overlap. “The performance of network cameras, in some cases, is good enough for industrial purposes,” Mehl said. “For example, they are cheaper or give an advantage. However, in most cases, there are really two different demands on the customer side.”
Bringing Disparate Systems Together
One clear management level trend regarding access control, and security in general, involves manufacturers taking a holistic approach to access control technology, processes and policies to protect their most essential operations. “The need for a global approach is driven by the high level of acquisition activity among manufacturers over the last 10 years and the rise in risk and threat levels these companies face,” McCaughey said. “From a security perspective, acquiring companies also means acquiring their security infrastructure, policies and their risk profile. As the chief security officer, anything more than one security infrastructure and set of security operating policies and processes builds inherent risk into your business. There is more to manage and more potential holes in your security perimeter.”
Adding Video to Access Control
Integrating access control, security management systems and video surveillance creates significant efficiency gains in industrial and manufacturing environments, said Aaron Kuzmeskus, Director of Security Channel Development, Buildings Business, Schneider Electric.
For example, access cards used in combination with visual verification of the cardholder enable quicker throughput of workers without requiring someone to check ID badges, Niederberger said. “This is applicable at the security perimeter of a plant and within the plant itself.”
Video surveillance enables security operations to have eyes on an event, even when they are not physically present. This manifests itself in two ways, Kuzmeskus said. “One is the ability to assess quicker an alarm event or situation, and a safer manner of assessment in areas where dangerous substances or machinery be may be in use.”
Secondarily, video verification at access points can lessen the financial burden of stationing guards at sensitive entry or egress portals or to physically verify that credentials are being used properly, Kuzmeskus continued. While biometrics provides good identification, it can be problematic in areas that require personal protective equipment, such as gloves and face shields.
Integration between access control and video enhances productivity, as it can corroborate staff access records with video footage. A common example of poor productivity is staffers taking frequent smoke breaks while claiming to be carrying out other tasks, Lim said. “Another example I came across is for a sterilization room, where a customer had utilized our system to control. According to company policy, the time needed for staff to be sterilized prior to entering a clean room environment. However, some staff members deliberately shortened their sterilization period. As the staff are all wearing suits, without both records for exit access and video information, it would be difficult to determine which staff members violated company policy.” [NextPage]
Adding Video to Perimeter Protection
Video aids perimeter protection systems in several ways. “Overt video surveillance cameras present an aura of security by deterring potential intruders intent on gaining unauthorized entry to a facility,as they will be aware their actions are being observed and potentially recorded,” Kuzmeskus said.
In addition, thermal cameras can be used to supplement perimeter fences, requiring less cameras yet reducing the number of false positives. With a thermal camera you are able to reach longer distances, reducing the need to place standard cameras on the fence itself, said Ron Petrie, Director of Sales for Vumii. "Thermal imaging provides supplemental support for the security system, covering locations that do not have adequate lighting."
Using the philosophy of “deter, detect, delay, respond,” overt video surveillance cameras present an aura of security, whereas a site without dense surveillance coverage would be an easier target. “This can be leveraged further as a detection method with the addition of simple analytics. A video trip-wire can establish a virtual perimeter beyond a physical fence of property line, creating a greater setback distance, and increasing the available time to respond to a pending event,” Kuzmeskus said. “Video is another key enabler of virtual guard tours, allowing for fewer roving guards, quicker tour times and reduced guard fatigue.”
Cameras with video analytics deployed for perimeter protection solutions can help deter and provide early detection of some potential security breaches, agreed Gary Tan, APAC Head of Systems Solution Group, Bosch Security Systems. “This would reduce or do away the needs for physical patrolling around the perimeter. Depending on the site condition, one common application includes virtual perimeter lines or areas crossing covering a wide geographical area for early detection.”
For some large sites, it is too expensive and inefficient to deploy a great deal of manpower to protect the premises. Thus a good perimeter protection system, combining fence intrusion detection and intelligent video systems, is useful to supplement manpower. More importantly, it is proven that humans are not good at maintaining concentration for prolonged periods of time, Lim said. “We have had a bad experience with a public transport operator who simply refused to employ better systems to protect their transportation depots,” Lim said. “Eventually, disaster struck. Intruders breached their perimeter and vandalized their transport, resulting in public outcry and much embarrassment to the company.”
With VCA built into the cameras, fewer patrols are needed. “The verification of the alarm or event could be assessed and remotely evaluated first without the need to dispatch security personnel,” Tan said. “This increases productivity per staff member and lowers reliance on manpower.”
Perimeter protection and video analytic systems are also especially helpful for remote locations where there is no real need for manpower, Lim said. “One of the services that we provide is to remotely manage access and verify activities with video for customers with remote locations. However in most cases, it is usually a combination of manpower, systems and remote services. By reducing the high dependence on labor, this manpower can be diverted to engage more meaningful tasks. Contrary to the many unfounded fears, this will not lead to fewer jobs, but more meaningful careers.” [NextPage]
Customers Watching Too Much TV
Customers are often introduced to advanced systems through Hollywood productions. This raises their expectations of what a security system can provide.
Some clients ask for fully automated systems, wishing to completely eliminate human factors. “This is not practical with the current level of technology,” Ding said. “Any system will need a management platform that requires humans to maintain and operate. While a security system can greatly reduce a facility's reliance on manpower, humans cannot be entirely replaced.”
Some customers do not understand that manpower is still needed to manage alarms and to evaluate the response; access control and video can only tell you something happened, said Mo Hess, Director, Business Development, Global Security, Buildings Business, Schneider Electric. Another common request is for the ability to control and track who enters the site while not impacting the throughput of people, said.
“However, this would conflict with the initial goal of preventing multiple entries using one card,” Hess said.
“We always try to educate the customers so they can understand the solutions and technologies proposed,” Lim said. “If the customers simply refuse to adopt a more realistic expectation, then we will have to walk away from the business.”
The effects of television shows like “CSI” give users the impression that access control and video can track someone's movements inside a facility with time stamping of the movement, Hess said. “With video, the impression is that you can blow up an image and it will not be pixelated. Also, the ability of ‘facial recognition' to identify individuals is just not there yet.”
Furthermore, because so many add-on products claim to be “plug and play,” customers do not always understand that software changes could still be required in their security system, Hess continued.
Getting the Best Results
The best results are achieved when the consultant or specifier works hand-in-hand with the integrator during both the design process and the deployment to ensure a seamless transformation from the prior system to the new system — one that functions as needed and performs as expected, Kuzmeskus said. Each contributes their expertise: the consultant often has better knowledge of the customer's business objectives, while the integrator generally knows more about the capabilities of the specified components.
Most cases involve some degree of customization to an existing solution. For example, camera positioning often needs to be optimized for the best point of view, Kuzmeskus said. “In addition, dramatic improvements in video quality can lead to camera upgrade requirements. In other cases, a facility may have a perimeter that is adjacent to inaccessible or dangerous terrain, such as a refinery bordering a swamp area containing alligators and poisonous snakes. PTZ or thermal imaging cameras can augment the existing video systems to reduce the number times a guard enters that environment to assess an alarm, or in many cases, remove that dangerous area from a physical guard tour and transition it to a video guard tour.”
The integration between automation and security is always a dilemma, Lim said. “Unless there are real benefits in cost savings or functionality improvements, the integration tends to be cosmetic only.” The next part of our coverage explores efficiency gains enabled by the integration of automation and security.