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Industrial Facilities Adopting Advanced Security for Efficiency Gains

Source: a&s International | Date: 11/15/2011

Related tags: Industrial, access control, ALPR

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.

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