Metal fabrication plants are one of the most challenging manufacturing environments. Although highly-controlled, the sites are vibration-heavy with high levels of heat and noise, plus the sheer size of the materials being moved around makes them a complex place for people to work. Security is vital, not just for health and safety, but to protect the high value ingots, finished goods and even waste products that are expelled through the fabrication process.

Combatting crime

In 2006, a Glenrothes-based manufacturing plant in east Scotland became aware of a number of break-ins occurring at its premises. The company produces centrifugal castings, couch and press rolls for the paper and other industries, using various materials including stainless steel, bronze and polycast. The incidents were mainly from an area at the side of the main building where the bags of bronze chippings were collected for waste disposal.

To combat the crimes, the management team concluded that video cameras could act both as a deterrent and enable the police to apprehend the thieves. The company’s IT Manager, Elaine Pattison, contacted John Turner, MD of a highly regarded security installer TCA Systems from nearby Anstruther who visited the Glenrothes site to assess the security requirement.

CCTV camera installation

The initial installation of five analogue cameras and a DVR used a mix of manufacturers to cover the main entrance, exit and yard areas with a short coax conduit cut through the tarmac to reach a high camera point on a perimeter building. Following the installation of the CCTV cameras, the number of theft incidents fell dramatically over the coming months and the project was deemed successful until a very large theft of bronze ingots took place from an area not covered within the original specification.

Security is vital, not just for health and safety, but also to protect the high value ingots, finished goods and even waste products

TCA System’s advice was called upon again and John recommended a significant investment for the management team, creating a hybrid system with the addition of the latest MOBOTIX IP cameras. At that time, IP cameras were gaining market share and as a leading manufacturer, the MOBOTIX 3MP cameras offered many benefits over analogue, particularly the ability to digitally zoom into a scene and the incorporation of loudspeakers into its chassis.

Veracity HIGHWIRE

John was also aware of the recent market launch of Veracity’s HIGHWIRE, the first product within the new Ethernet over Coax class of products pioneered by Veracity. HIGHWIRE is an adaptor that enables installers to utilise legacy coax networks to run the latest IP cameras without the need for costly removal, replacement and refurbishment. The fully-automatic configuration saves the installer time on site, and the 300 metres available on RG59 meant that the original cable conduit could be left intact.

“As the IT Manager, I had some concern back then about how these new IP cameras would affect my existing network” said Elaine, who continues to run the company’s IT Department. “However, John was able to demonstrate the reduced bandwidth that they would operate with and we trusted him to continue with the installation”.

A new 12U cabinet was installed in the IT room to incorporate a Wavestore hybrid NVR and a 16-port switch. A single static analogue camera was replaced with two new MOBOTIX cameras. These used two Ethernet ports of a HIGHWIRE Quad to take the IP feed, via the existing single coax, under the car park to the main building. At the cabinet, the coax connected into a single channel HIGHWIRE and delivered the camera data to the Wavestore NVR via the switch. An additional 7 MOBOTIX IP cameras were installed across the estate, enabling high quality video plus a wider area of coverage.

Immediate benefits

"It’s been great to be able
to rely on Veracity’s products to work away quietly in the background without fault
for so long"

The benefits were immediate. A few days later, an intruder alarm at the site alerted the Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC). With confirmation of a potential incident, the ARC played pre-recorded messages through the built-in loudspeakers on the MOBOTIX cameras which delayed the thieves sufficiently until the local police arrived to apprehend them with the high-value waste they were attempting to steal.

Some ten years later, the Veracity HIGHWIRE products are all still installed in their original locations at the site and have run completely incident-free for close to 90,000 hours. Although other elements of the CCTV network have had occasional maintenance requirements over those years, the HIGHWIRE products have not required any changes since the day they were installed. “It’s been great to be able to rely on Veracity’s products to work away quietly in the background without fault for so long,” said Elaine.

Just as it was with the original models, HIGHWIRE still offers the extreme flexibility and reliability over legacy coax for installers without the need for rip-and-replace.

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