Turning on a light bulb or watching television is something the population of the UK take for granted. Whether relaxing at home, taking advantage of the latest consumer gadget, or hard at work in the office, we are all responsible for the consumption of ever larger amounts of electrical power, often with little thought to its source of generation.
Centrica's Kings Lynn power station is one such source. Its modern gas turbine and triple pressure heat recovery steam generator feeds 325 mega watts of power into the UK national grid, supplying the needs of commercial and domestic consumption. After a 3-year build period, the station's operation began in December 1997 under TXU management. The facility was subsequently acquired by British Gas group Centrica in October of 2001.
Since the plant opened, it has been protected by a mix of security measures, including a basic CCTV system. However, due to the number of years the original system had been in service and resultant wear and tear, Centrica management decided to embark on a comprehensive overhaul of the installation. Jason Buck, Manager at Kings Lynn, drew up a document detailing how the new system would be used and invited several companies to tender for the project.
After close scrutiny, Jason chose Panasonic Premier Integrator Reflex Systems of South Yorkshire who, as he explains, "Were commissioned on the basis of a comprehensive and competitive tender bid." During the tender process, Steve Ward, Technical Projects Director at Reflex, liaised heavily with Jason to qualify his expectations of the new surveillance system, and subsequently specified a Panasonic based CCTV solution to fulfil the varied needs of the power station.
Reflex's surveillance solution commenced service in May 2006. Following a comprehensive site audit, Reflex installed Panasonic WV-CW860 dome cameras located to provide maximum external scene coverage, covering key, and potentially sensitive areas of the plant, including the gas and steam generating building, car park, water demineralization plant, water pumping station, auxiliary cooling tower, workshop buildings, gas storage area and gates to the compounded site. Steve Ward explains, "Right from our initial site surveys it was clear that Jason and his team required crystal clear images of the site, day and night. Although they had not experienced any specific problems, they were acutely aware of the sensitivity of the site to trespassers, both from a security and health and safety perspective.
"We installed Panasonic WV-CW860 dome cameras to allow them to take full advantage of its 22x zoom lens, high-speed panning and Super Dynamic II technology. The dome unit employs a day/night-switching mode allied to an extremely capable 510 TV lines resolution, allowing Centrica staff effective visual monitoring to pinpoint and identify individuals even in very low-light conditions."
Supplementing the fully functional PTZ positions are 18 Panasonic WV-CP480 Super DIII fixed cameras. Contained in its own weatherproof housing, the WV-CP480 employs Panasonic's unique Super Dynamic technology to provide Auto Back Focus (ABF) and automatic colour, and black and white switching, along with 128x Dynamic Range correction, for fast, accurate reactions to contrast changes in any viewed scene - a worthy feature among the varied and constantly changing light conditions around the industrial structures at the Kings Lynn facility.
Providing comprehensive surveillance coverage of the perimeter of the site, the system also provides important visual identification of individuals using the access-controlled turnstiles within the plant's fence line. Thanks to Reflex's efficient and economical camera layout, operators' surveillance capability from the cameras extends beyond the boundaries of the Kings Lynn site to include the surrounding land and its arterial roadways.
Both Panasonic WV-CW860 dome, and WV-CP480 cameras are also deployed within the interior of the power station. Monitoring the gas and steam turbine room, the cameras afford control room operators extensive process control information and visual verification of issues raised by the station's control equipment. Will Hopkins, Operation Technician, comments, "Using the Panasonic surveillance technology we can visually monitor any part of the site without leaving the control room. This improves the efficiency of our staffing operation and has proved a real asset in our health and safety monitoring."
Images from the cameras are transmitted to two control points. The first is located in the main reception area within the administration building. From here, reception staff can monitor visitors as they approach the facility's main gate, visually verifying expected visitors and their vehicles, and assisting with any general enquiries. If necessary, visitors can be tracked from the moment they enter through the front gate, right up to their arrival in front of the reception area.
The second control point is housed within the control room building and is integrated with the main power station control console, allowing Centrica staff complete surveillance over the site in liaison with general plant control. Images from the system's cameras are transmitted to Panasonic WJ-HD316A 16-channel digital video recorders, programmed to record 120 images per second, the playback quality of which permits operators to review crystal clear images of the facility if and when necessary. Panasonic WV-CU650CJ/B system controllers afford video playback and review whilst managing the system's WJ-SX150A camera switching matrix. Will Hopkins comments, "The CCTV operators use the control equipment in different ways. Panasonic's ambidextrous and intuitive joystick design allows all of our operators to be instantly ‘at home' with the system control functionality."
Any incidents occurring during the production procedure can be directly investigated from the control room, Will Hopkins explains, "We can verify any alarm within the facility using the Panasonic surveillance technology, from a perimeter detection, to production issues."
"The surveillance system has been extremely useful during our scheduled outage periods," Will continues. "Every power supplier has a designated offline period for maintenance and during these periods we can have a large amount of third party contractors onsite. With the new surveillance technology at our fingertips we can ensure health and safety procedures are adhered to at all times and check on service progress, in respect to human and vehicular traffic around the site. We can even observe the works progress right down to individual engineer level."
Reflex Systems have provided Centrica's Kings Lynn power station with a flexible surveillance solution that is not only integrated with the access control system but actively complements the mix of other on-site security measures. The Panasonic CCTV system has proved to be a pivotal instrument providing an effective site management and health and safety tool.