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HSE upgrades to digital locks from SimonsVoss

HSE upgrades to digital locks from SimonsVoss
SimonsVoss Technologies provides its Digital Locking and Access Control System 3060 to protect HSE’s technical stations and administrative buildings.
Every day, each person in Hamburg consumes 109 litres of drinking-quality water for showering, bathing and washing, converting it into wastewater. This is where HSE, a company operated by HAMBURG WASSER, steps in. To provide quality wastewater disposal and perform the many other tasks that fall to HSE requires not just expertise but modern technology – including giant suckers, waste air treatment systems and storage basins.

Clearly a problem

Security and the protection of the company's sophisticated and valuable equipment takes very high priority. And even with innovative companies like HSE unforeseen incidents such as sabotage, vandalism and theft can happen. This is one instance where a reliable access control system can prevent potential risks. Previously, a mechanical locking system was used to prevent unauthorised access to HSE's administrative buildings and technical stations. But with around 1,300 employees, keys inevitably got lost. This in turn meant higher costs and increased demands on the company's time, as Bernd Martini, a member of HSE's service team, explains: "We were always having to order replacement keys and fit new locks. At a certain point, it just became too complex and too expensive." So towards the end of 1998 HSE decided to look around for a new locking system.

Sounding out alternatives

The task of finding a workable alternative was assigned to a working group in which Martini was involved. The team sifted through the flood of solutions on the market and finally chose three potential suppliers. By the end of 1999, it was clear that the Digital Locking and Access Control System 3060 from Munich-based supplier SimonsVoss Technologies was best suited to HSE's high security and technology standards.

The System 3060 from SimonsVoss is based on the intelligent interaction of digital components: a transponder, today's high-tech 'key', measuring just 42mm across activates digital locking cylinders and Smart Relays at the touch of a button and by radio frequency. This equipment not only enables you to open doors, but also control gates, lifts and machinery.

The flexible allocation of groups and sub-groups makes it easy to adjust individual employees' authorisations, which is extremely useful when it comes to staff relocations, for instance.

Easily navigable

The system software from SimonsVoss enables any number of locks and users to be administered centrally from a PC. Heiko Sellmann, a member of the IT team at HSE, explains how straightforward it is: "It's simple to learn how to program a locking plan. The screen display is so easy to navigate that you can create, expand, delete or modify individual access authorisations in just a few clicks." The flexible allocation of groups and sub-groups makes it easy to adjust individual employees' authorisations, which is extremely useful when it comes to staff relocations, for instance. It is also possible for all access instances to be individually logged. Every time an employee accesses a particular area, this is recorded and can be traced later if necessary. "We've already been able to clear up a number of thefts by other firms using this method," says Martini.

This logging system is made possible by the digital locking cylinder and the Smart Relay: all the relevant information and data is stored in the protected interior of these two network-enabled components.

Quickly done

Another advantage of SimonsVoss technology over other systems is the fact that it is so easy to install, requiring no wiring whatsoever. Because a digital cylinder has exactly the same dimensions as a mechanical cylinder and has its own battery, it can be fitted in all standard DIN doors in a matter of minutes without any structural or technical modifications being required. "Had we chosen another manufacturer we would have had to lay cables, which would have meant much more fitting work," states Martini. The Smart Relay, which works like a kind of key switch, is just as quickly installed. At HSE it was fitted in the outside lighting of the company's premises, an electrical barrier and a gate. Unlike the locking cylinder, the Smart Relay runs off external power, for example through a bell-ringing transformer or low-voltage power supply unit. This functionality further expands the range of possible applications for SimonsVoss technology.

Battening down the hatches

In 2000, HSE Hamburger Stadtentwässerung kick-started the installation of the new Digital Locking and Access Control System from SimonsVoss. Around 1,000 cylinders and five Smart Relays are now in use. In 2004, after all the administrative and office buildings had been successfully equipped, the technical stations got in on the act. Over a project period of just under five years, HSE's 250 pumping stations are gradually being fitted out with new digital cylinders and access logging system. Because pumping stations are generally exposed to wetter conditions than normal buildings, SimonsVoss installed special robust, watertight cylinders. For Martini, it's a constant source of satisfaction: "This not only prevents unauthorised access, it also avoids potential technical faults caused by dampness in the locking cylinder."

Widespread acceptance

The majority of the 1,300-strong 'crew' at HSE, as well as a number of external firms such as the engineers who service the pumping stations, were quickly issued with their own transponders. Everybody had to sign for their new transponder and numbers and names were immediately fed into the digital locking plan. Thanks to its integrated battery the handy digital key can open or close doors or gates up to a million times – just at the touch of a button. When the battery begins to run low, a signal is emitted to warn the user. And if one of these high-tech keys is ever lost, it's not a disaster: it's simply blocked for further use by the system. Job done. The staff have certainly taken the digital technology on board, says Martini: "It enjoys complete acceptance amongst the staff – after all, it's for their own security as much as anything else."

Secure in all weathers

HSE has never regretted its decision to bring SimonsVoss on board. Martini sums up by saying: “We've been working with the SimonsVoss solution for almost six years and we're extremely happy with it." The deciding factor, he says, is that the loss of a 'key' no longer poses a problem: "Now there's no panic surrounding the loss of a 'key'. Before, we were constantly having to order new keys and cylinders and refit them at great expense. With a digital system, all you need to do is block the transponder, the cylinder stays where it is and you just have to reprogram it. "When asked about the cost issue, he explains: "There are nothing but advantages compared with a mechanical system. The investment costs are the only thing that appear rather high at first. As far as we're concerned, the system has already paid for itself and proved itself in practice."

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