|The Emmaus facility at Zoersel originally opened in 1949 to provide psychiatric services|
The access control system at Campus Malle started life in 2000 as a relatively modest installation, covering 24 doors in a single building. Today, it has grown into a system that covers over 400 doors in nine buildings on the multi-hectare Zoersel site, and 54 doors in a building on a separate site 15 km away. After further extensions planned for 2012 have been completed, the installation will expand even further, to 700 doors. The current system is also directly linked to the Emmaus human resources IT system, and to the payment system for on-site catering.
The Emmaus facility at Zoersel was originally opened in 1949 to provide psychiatric services and much of the facility is still dedicated to this function, although a large general hospital, also operated by Emmaus, was moved on the same site in 1986.
In 2000, Siemens was approached to provide an access control system for one of the smaller buildings on the site, where control was needed for 24 doors. The Siemens CerPass system, which has since been superseded, was chosen for this application as, at the time, it offered the best available combination of performance, flexibility and economy. Within a few years, numerous additions had been made to the system to cover new buildings and to accommodate Emmaus’s expanding requirements. In 2007, in view of the rapidly expanding size of the installation, and the plans for further significant growth in the near future, the decision was taken to migrate from CerPass to the Siemens SiPass integrated platform.
This platform offers unrivalled flexibility and can easily handle requirements that range from non-critical to the most critical, and from simple to very complex. It supports a virtually unlimited number of doors and cardholders, it is ideally suited for multi-site applications and its software architecture lends itself to integration with external systems.
Migrating to SiPass integrated was straightforward because the high level of backward compatibility between CerPass and SiPass meant that the existing cabling and much of the existing hardware could be retained and reused. This also meant that the cost of the migration project was modest. Using the advanced features of SiPass integrated, Siemens enhanced the usefulness of the access control system by adding to it an intranet site that can be used by authorised personnel at the facility to find out instantly which doctors are on site and which are not.
A further step in exploiting the flexibility of SiPass integrated was taken in 2008, when the system was linked to the Blox human resources package used by Emmaus so that pictures of the doctors and other key staff are automatically imported. This ensures that the images used on access control cards and displayed on the intranet site are always up to date.
Subsequently additional links were provided, one with the Vanas pharmaceutical prescribing system that controls access to drugs and medications, and one to the Fujitronic back-of-house system used in the restaurant. The link with the restaurant system is used to record the food selected by cardholders so that they can pay later, eliminating the need for payment facilities in the restaurant itself.
Remote site management
In 2009, an interesting challenge arose relating to the access control system on another Emmaus site, 15 km from Zoersel. This system, which had been specified for a new building by the architect and had not been sourced from Siemens, proved to be so unreliable and persistently problematic that the decision was taken to scrap it completely and replace it with a SiPass integrated installation. However, as there was to be no security office at the site, it was also decided that the system would be managed remotely from Zoersel.
Implementation of this system, which covers 54 doors, proved to be straightforward, as did the arrangements for remote management. And, since the SiPass integrated equipment was installed, the problems that were experienced with the original system at that new site have been completely eliminated.
The most recent development, which took place earlier this year, has been the extension of the system to cover a new building on the Zoersel site, which has involved the addition of 152 readers, making the installation the largest SiPass integrated system in Belgium. Early in 2012, a further 240 readers will be added to serve the second phase of the major building project currently in progress on the site. Since the SiPass integrated system has almost unlimited capacity for expansion, however, even after these major additions it will still be able to cope easily with further growth in the user’s requirements in the future.
The Siemens access control systems supplied to the Emmaus Association have had an unblemished record for reliability and performance over the ten years that they have been in use. Their backward compatibility has saved the Association money while enabling it to take full advantage of the latest developments in technology, and the ease with which it has been possible to link the access control installation to external systems has greatly increased its usefulness. Finally, the installation has proved to be flexible and readily extendable, coping easily with everything the Association has asked of it during a decade of rapid expansion and evolution.
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