Factories lie at the core of the manufacturing industry and are often targeted by opportunist criminals for several reasons that include:
High-value raw materials, equipment, and machinery inside them, Their remote location, Their large size making it difficult to maintain complete visibility throughout the site, and The absence of factory security systems.
Crime against the manufacturing industry has always been an issue, disrupting not just the day-to-day factory operations but also adversely affecting their output and contribution to the economy.
Thankfully, there are simple measures that you can take to minimise the security threats while also protecting your property, assets, and people. Read on to find out all about factory security systems and why they are so important:
IMPORTANCE OF FACTORY SECURITY SYSTEMS
All factory owners, despite the size of their facility and the complexity of the operations, need to work towards providing a safe environment for their workers along with maximising production.
Factory security systems encompass a wide range of standalone or integrated solutions that not only help them protect the external areas of the site against break-ins and intrusions but also help keep a check on the internal manufacturing processes and production lines.
These security systems include CCTV surveillance systems, access control systems, and alarm systems, that help in:
Securing the factory against intrusions and break-ins, Controlling staff and visitor access, Monitoring all areas of the factory, Identifying the vehicles on site, Auditing employee performance, attendance, and timekeeping, Identifying individuals in protected or restricted areas of the factory, Monitoring the functionality and performance of equipment and machinery, Monitoring production rates and quality, Reducing human reliance on minimising production errors and site security, Ensuring the compliance of health and safety regulations, and Ensuring all the factory workers are following the correct safety and security procedures.
CCTV SURVEILLANCE SYSTEMS FOR FACTORIES
With the rise in popularity of CCTV cameras, they are becoming a common sight in businesses all around the world including factories and manufacturing plants.
They have been leading the way as a security, safety, management, and quality control tool and have become indispensable to countless businesses all over the UK.
CCTV (Closed-Circuit Television) cameras have a wide variety of uses in factories that include end-to-end security of the property and its assets, the safety of the employees and visitors, monitoring the manufacturing process, and optimising the operations.
One of the most effective security systems out there, CCTV cameras provide great end-to-end security by not just deterring potential criminals from targeting the factory but also helping identify the culprit and bringing the guilty person(s) to justice.
What makes them such an effective deterrent is their ability to record and capture images in the form of CCTV footage, which can be used as legitimate evidence in the court of law.
In short, if installed and positioned properly, nothing can escape the CCTV’s eye and the constant surveillance can be extremely useful in minimising both external and internal threats.
Given the nature of the environment in manufacturing facilities such as factories, there is an increased likelihood of accidents in the workplace which, if not minimised, may tarnish the business’s reputation and result in huge costs.
With video surveillance, you may not just prevent accidents and incidents from happening in the first place but may also help reduce their cost.
Similar to being a deterrent to thieves and criminals, CCTV cameras ensure that all the factory workers and employees adhere to the safety and security guidelines.
They use the power of “someone always watching over them” to encourage safe working practices that automatically reduce the number of accidents and injuries, most of which are caused by human error and negligence.
Other than that, video surveillance footage can be used to investigate the cause for the accident or injury and to help identify whether the responsibility lies with the factory employers or the employees.
It may also allow the management to rectify the issue and prevent such incidents from taking place and reducing potential costs in the future.
MONITORING PRODUCTION AND OPERATIONS
Factories rely on maximised production and efficiency and failure in any of those aspects may have a serious effect on the output leading to reductions in profitability.
Video surveillance can be extremely useful in monitoring the overall production process and to study the flow of the people and operations throughout the factory.
Video analytics may be used to highlight areas of improvement where small adjustments may lead to bigger improvements in productivity and efficiency, such as reducing the number of employees working together in a single area.
Advanced technological features such as thermal imaging may be used to highlight potential issues, such as the equipment overheating, so that proactive action may be taken to rectify the issue before it becomes a hazard in addition to being used as a great quality control method.
It is always best to have the CCTV cameras professionally installed so that the optimal positioning is chosen and the best field of view set.
The ideal places to install a CCTV camera in a factory setup include all the entrances and exits, the production floor, storage areas, shipping/receiving zones, and along the perimeter of the factory.
There are many different types of CCTV cameras available in the market with some of the most popular ones including:
Bullet CCTV camerasDome CCTV camerasPTZ CCTV camerasC-mount CCTV camerasDay/night CCTV camerasHD CCTV camerasWireless CCTV cameras
If you wish to get a security camera that can monitor a large area from a single point, which is usually the case in factories, you need to invest in a PTZ (Pan/Tilt/Zoom) camera.
PTZ cameras have the ability to adjust their lens allowing you to monitor an area from different angles and perspectives. You may also zoom in to certain things to get a closer view.
Other advanced and very useful features include sensors, night vision, one-way or two-way communication, notification alerts, and professional monitoring.
Professional remote monitoring is an extremely useful feature that adds an extra level of security to the surveillance cameras by making sure that the systems are always, regardless of the time of day, being monitored by experts at an external monitoring centre.
As soon as any suspicious activity is detected, an alarm is sent to the monitoring centre, along with live footage from the site, where the highly trained professionals respond to it by checking and verifying it and contacting the relevant people immediately, including the factory owners, managers, key holders, and most importantly, the necessary emergency services, as needed.
It is important to note here that while CCTV cameras are widely used across a variety of applications and have numerous benefits in terms of safety, security, management, and quality control, there are certain laws and legal requirements that all CCTV users and operators must adhere to.
The rights of those being monitored must be prioritised, making sure to not infringe on their privacy and respecting their rights in relation to the recorded footage.
To avoid legal issues, it is best to make the use of CCTV cameras as transparent as possible by consulting with the employees beforehand and explaining to them why the surveillance systems are being introduced, how and where they will be monitored, how the recorded footage will be used, how long it will be retained, and how their privacy will be protected.
It is also a good idea to put up clear signage around the site stating that it is under CCTV surveillance so that all the visitors are also made aware of the situation along with scaring away potential criminals.
ACCESS CONTROL SYSTEMS FOR FACTORIES
Failing to secure your premises against unauthorised access may result in theft, anti-social behaviour, and accidents that can harm the people inside and disrupt the flow of operations.
Unauthorised access is when an employee or member of the public enters an area that is off-limits to them. It can be done using various means such as entering through an unlocked door, using stolen keys, breaking down a weak door, tailgating, or convincing an authorised party to allow access.
Regardless of the way that it is done, it can wreak havoc on a business and its productivity and in the case of factories, which are usually large in size, intrusions can easily go undetected until after the damage has been done.
Manufacturers and factory owners need a viable solution to control and manage access across the site without having to rely on keys that can easily get lost, stolen, or copied.
Access control systems are keyless entry system that use a variety of authentication methods to grant or deny access into a property or specific area inside the property. Some of the most common authentication methods include access cards, codes, key fobs, biometrics, and smart access.
Access control systems help you manage and control access along with offering many other benefits that include:
DETECTING AND PREVENTING INTRUSIONS
Intruders can appear in any form – workers, employees, visitors, and strangers – and since factories have a multitude of individuals coming in and going out of the premises all day, it makes it extremely important for factory owners and managers to implement an effective access control system to not only detect intrusions but also prevent them from happening in the first place.
CONTROLLING WHO HAS ACCESS TO THE SITE
Factory owners face the challenge of having to manage and control access for many employees and visitors within the premises, all of whom have specific access privileges for certain areas of the factory.
For example, the owners and managers would be allowed to access all areas of the factory while the workers would have limited access privileges with permission to enter areas only where their job requires them to be.
Access control systems can be used to customise access permissions according to each individual’s needs, allowing the factory owners and managers to control who uses which door of the factory and at what time of the day or night.
FACTORY AND EQUIPMENT SAFETY
Factories, especially ones working in hazardous environments and with dangerous equipment and machinery, need to ensure that only trained and authorised individuals are allowed access into the main production area to prevent accidents and injuries from happening.
DETERRING CRIMINAL ACTIVITY AND THEFT
As is with all commercial properties, factories and manufacturing plants are also faced with the continuous challenge of having to deal with crime and security threats that include theft, intrusions, vandalism, and even arson.
With the right access control systems, it becomes possible to detect and prevent criminal activity thanks to the tracking feature that comes with them, in addition to making it more difficult for criminals to bypass the systems due to a high level of control and features such as two-factor authentication.
HISTORY LOGGING AND REPORTS
With modern access control systems, it is possible to track the access of individuals and record every time access is granted or denied to them.
These detailed reports accurately state the information of the user, determined by the authentication credentials being used, along with the time and place that the access was requested.
This gives the factory owners and managers much more in terms of control and can be extremely useful in the event of security breaches where the audit trails can be used to determine who to hold accountable.
ELIMINATING THE NEED FOR KEYS
Modern problems require modern solutions, and even though traditional keys have been used to control unauthorised access for centuries, they come with their fair share of drawbacks.
For starters, key management becomes a hassle especially for large properties such as factories and manufacturing facilities. They are very likely to get lost or stolen, forcing the owners to rekey or replace the locks to ensure that safety and security aren’t compromised.
Using traditional keys can also be risky since they have the potential to be easily copied, as compared to access control systems that are not only efficient, practical, and easy to use, but also safer and much more secure.
SECURITY ALARM SYSTEMS FOR FACTORIES
Alarm systems are crucial for safety and security around the factory and are used to detect deviations and alert the people in charge for them to take the relevant action.
They can be used to raise alerts when an abnormal condition arises, such as the machines and equipment overheating or an intruder gaining access into the factory.
Security and safety alarms are equipped with different types of sensors that are used to detect unusual activity around the site. These may include motion sensors, glass-break detectors, passive infrared (PIR) sensors, vibration detectors, smoke sensors, or a combination of two or more sensors.
In addition to providing alerts for intrusions and unauthorised access, alarm systems can also be used to detect fires which are very likely in factories and manufacturing plants, especially ones dealing with hazardous materials.
The best type of sensors may be chosen after carefully assessing the risks and determining what exactly you wish to be alerted for, and they must be placed carefully so that even the slightest bit of deviations is picked up by the system.
For example, to prevent intrusions and break-ins, you must place the appropriate sensors, preferably PIR sensors, on all the entrances and along the perimeter of the factory.
Security alarms come in two main variants: monitored and unmonitored alarms. Unmonitored systems are also called bells-only alarms that, upon detecting any unusual activity, sound a loud siren-like alarm, often accompanied by flashing lights, and rely on someone nearby to respond to them.
These are not ideal for factories located in isolated areas and for detecting intrusions and deviations during the night when the factory is empty and completely unoccupied.
Monitored alarm systems come in two forms – one where the system automatically contacts the owners, managers, or whoever is in charge, in the event of an alarm trigger, which can be done via phone call, SMS, or push notifications sent to your phone, and the second one where the system is monitored by professionals at an alarm receiving centre where the alarm is first checked, verified, and the relevant persons and authorities called right away.