Efficiency Gains Achieved Through Integration

Efficiency Gains Achieved Through Integration

Electronic security systems are used primarily to protect the facility, goods, equipment and intellectual property from theft and vandalism. However, they are also increasingly utilized to help businesses improve efficiency. Security systems are now capable of providing improvements in safety, productivity and cost control.

Current video analytics can detect potential hazards, such as water spills or safety helmets not worn, thus reducing health and safety accidents. “Video analytics can reduce the need for human intervention or monitoring,” said Markus Niederberger, Head of Marketing Support for Fire Safety and Security, Siemens Building Technologies. Examples of applications include thermal imaging, measuring the speed of conveyor belts or examining attributes such as the size and number of items on the conveyor belt.

Another application is presence verification. This ensures staff safety for processes that require the complete evacuation of an area as explained above. Goods can also be protected through intelligent video analysis. For example, video analysis can detect unauthorized removal of an item from a conveyor belt, or alert if items get blocked on the conveyor belt.

Integration into Industrial Controls
“Efficiency and productivity gains can be realized by integrating access control with plant automation software,” said Kevin McCaughey, VP of Security Solutions, Buildings Business, Schneider Electric. “In one example, a customer used access control to ensure the right number of people with the right qualifications were present on a manufacturing or assembly line, prior to start up of the line.”

This integration benefits manufacturing in several ways. First, starting a manufacturing or assembly line without the right number of qualified personnel at work stations can result in injury, product defects, manufacturing inefficiencies, reduced customer satisfaction and legal liability, McCaughey said.

Using access control this way can also be a management tool, McCaughey said. It can help plant managers spot personnel problems in a routine way on certain lines. With this information, plant managers can address and resolve such problems. This information could illuminate problems with individual line workers or line managers.

Business-security efficiency occurs more often through integration with IP networks, Niederberger said. “There is logical identity management to control login to production software, calibration equipment and programs, production scheduling programs, equipment presets, and the like.”

In addition, authentication to the manufacturing execution system (MES) can use the same token as the physical access control system, with biometrics providing a dual-factor authentication. “Authentication using a badge and/or biometrics reduces the number of logins and increases the speed,” Niederberger continued. “It also cuts administration costs to manage blocked accounts due to invalid passwords attempts. Security can be further increased by linking logical and physical access control. In other words, a worker can only log in to the MES after accessing the zone using physical access control first.”

The added digital authentication and tracking capabilities this integration provides delivers additional benefits for compliance and safety, enabling tampering or errors to be fully tracked back to the relevant operators. The provision of meaningful statistics can help identify those workers who need retraining, or bring wider issues to light, with a view to reducing manufacturing defects.

Furthermore, the integration of access control with other business systems generates synergies, Niederberger added. Not only does integration simplify the management of cards, tokens and credentials, it also simplifies other nonsecurity related business processes, such as reduced reliance on manpower, prevention of loss and increased productivity. 

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