FLIR Systems

Security personnel must be able to quickly detect unauthorised vehicles and individuals at critical infrastructure sites.

Without intrusion detection, entities like electrical substations can be subject to physical attacks. 88 percent of substations experience at least one break-in every year and 10 percent see more than 20 intrusions in the same time frame, according to CIGRE, a global electricity industry organisation.

To safeguard remote substations from external threats, electric utilities are relying on durable thermal cameras for superior monitoring and protection.

Remote substation security

The failure of a key substation caused by a security breach would have a debilitating effect on homeowners, businesses and mission-critical infrastructure.

While physical security is a top priority for utilities, designing, installing and operating a perimeter system requires skill.

Remote location, limited network connectivity, minimal lighting, internal security audits, and compliance with North American Electric Reliability Corporation are some of the challenges that both substation security directors and system integrators face.

Perimeter Intrusion Detection System (PIDS)

Since its arrival on the mainstream security scene a few decades ago, thermal security cameras have quickly become the optimal solution for remote substation perimeter security, due to their ability to monitor perimeters day and night in adverse weather conditions as well as in harsh environments.

Thermal cameras measure the minute differences in heat signatures emitted by objects and people to produce high-contrast images and reliable intrusion detection. They enable security personnel to detect an intruder before they ever reach the perimeter for early intervention.

Sensor quality

FLIR's perimeter cameras offer the widest selection of lenses and detection ranges, adaptable to both large and small deployments As the industry front-runner in advanced thermal technology, FLIR provides the best sensor quality available.

FLIR’s total security solution featuring a diverse suite of perimeter cameras offers the widest selection of lenses and detection ranges, adaptable to both large and small deployments.

FLIR’s track record of success is just one of the reasons why utilities choose FLIR cameras time and again.

Design recommendations

When deploying thermal cameras at substations, there are several factors to consider to optimise performance. Here are some tips from the FLIR experts.

Identify What One Needs to Protect: Assess the substation’s unique needs, define one's threats, and determine which area one needs to monitor.

  • For rural or small substations miles away from the nearest city, position one's cameras so one has a solid view of the outside perimeter. If anyone approaches, one wants to have ample warning.
  • For substations in urban areas that are next to public lands and walkways, it may not be cost-effective to look out as pedestrians can easily generate nuisance alerts. In these scenarios, thermal cameras that survey the interior of the substation may be the better option.


Make the Most of Existing Infrastructure: Thermal cameras must be mounted at a minimum of 12-15 feet above the ground. However, some substation fences are only 6-8 feet tall.

In this case, consider mounting cameras on telephone poles or tower structures. Utilising these existing structures instead of digging new trenches can save one both time and money.

Select the Right Camera for your Application:

  • For small substations that are less than an acre, deploying a couple of FLIR Elara™ FC-Series ID cameras, which feature onboard analytics, along the fence line will often do the trick.
  • For short to mid-range needs, the FLIR Elara FB-Series is a great, economical option.
  • Install a visible camera or a camera that provides both thermal and optical imagers, like FLIR Saros™ DH-390 Dome at the gate, to monitor general traffic.
  • For larger substations (around two acres) that are high-value sites, consider deploying a mix of FLIR FC-Series ID cameras with the FLIR Saros™ DM-Series to cover the fence line.
  • Additionally, mount a pan-tilt camera with both visible and thermal streams, such as the FLIR Elara™ DX-Series or FLIR Triton™ PT-Series, to look around the perimeter for superior monitoring and threat assessment.

Choose the accurate software

As a final consideration, choose the right software to streamline management, operations, and functionality.

  • For large applications where customers need to manage surveillance, access control, radar, and other disparate systems on one platform, consider command and control software.
  • For enterprise-level surveillance operations, a video management system is optimal and for small applications using just a few cameras, a network video recorder is sufficient.

Regardless of the size of the project, partner with an expert team that can help assess, design, installs and program the right system for one's application.

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version Download PDF version

FLIR Systems case studies

FLIR Systems United VMS provides surveillance for Abu Dhabi’s safe city initiative

Abu Dhabi is a major cultural and commercial centre in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), accounting for roughly two-thirds of the UAE’s economy. While oil and natural gas make up a large portion of its GDP, Abu Dhabi has positioned itself as a premiere tourist destination, with major investments in luxury resorts and business hotels. Consequently, public safety is a top priority — and FLIR Systems is playing a critical role in the city’s long-term safe city initiative. Recently,...

FLIR secures New Covent Garden Market with its IP cameras and VMS solution

New Covent Garden Market is the largest wholesale fruit, vegetable, and flower market in the United Kingdom. Redevelopment work launched in 2015 included a new security monitoring system, as well as a migration from analogue security equipment to an IP solution from FLIR Systems. New Covent Garden Market is a phenomenon in London, to say the least. The world-famous wholesale market provides 40 percent of London’s fresh fruit and vegetables eaten outside the home and serves 75 percent of L...

FLIR surveillance cameras and United VMS solution secure Harland and Wolff’s critical sites

As prominent in Belfast’s history as its cranes are on the city’s skyline, it’s hard to imagine Belfast without Harland and Wolff. Once the world’s greatest shipbuilder, Harland and Wolff today has evolved into a company that provides over 150 years of engineering excellence to the maritime, offshore, and renewable energy sectors. The Harland and Wolff facilities on Queen’s Island are now used to maintain some of the world’s largest ocean-going vessels, rangi...

FLIR Systems news

FLIR highlights the applications of thermal technology in security, safety, and equipment protection

The Insights from the Field series features insight from FLIR experts who recommend, deploy, and use thermal imaging technology every day. FLIR discusses the diverse applications of thermal technology in security, safety, and equipment protection for critical infrastructure. Epidemics and pandemics can leave large enterprises that employ and receive thousands of people vulnerable to widespread infection and business interruptions. Without the right entry protocols in place, an employee who has...

Teledyne Technologies Incorporated and FLIR Systems announce their agreement for FLIR’s acquisition through a cash and stock transaction

Teledyne Technologies Incorporated (“Teledyne”) and FLIR Systems, Inc. (“FLIR”) jointly announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Teledyne will acquire FLIR in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $8.0 billion. “FLIR’s commitment to innovation spanning multiple sensing technologies has allowed our company to grow into the multi-billion-dollar company it is today”. Permanent financing Under the terms of th...

FLIR Systems elaborate on the products in their complete thermal firefighting system range

Firefighters depend on a number of technologies to help them in fire situations, search and rescue operations, wildland fires, and scenarios when they are battling hazardous chemical leaks. When entering a structure with a lot of smoke and little to no-visibility, thermal imaging can give sight to help analyse and assess the situation, identify obstacles, and help save lives. FLIR offers a number of solutions for fire departments and their firefighters for all aspects of their jobs. Having the...