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Warehouse Securing

by msecadm4921

Drive anti-clockwise on the M25 between junctions 26 and 25, and you cannot miss the new Sainsbury’s regional distribution centre.

Drive anti-clockwise on the M25 between junctions 26 and 25, and you cannot miss the new Sainsbury’s regional distribution centre, just south of Waltham Cross. More than 700,000 square feet of warehouse on more than 40 acres, Waltham Point has 180 loading bays. Split about 50:50 into ambient and refrigerated areas, it’s a 24-hour, 364 days a year facility. One of three centres to serve Sainsbury’s stores throughout London and the South East, Waltham Point becomes operational in spring 2003.
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Though huge, this is a highly automated distribution facility with about only 300 Sainsbury’s staff on-site at any time. Hundreds of lorry drivers will visit daily, whether employees of Sainsbury’s suppliers or self-employed.
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Developed by Kier Group, the security requirements for Waltham Point were established in the tender specification documents issued by RGCM Limited, the primary contractor for the project. The tender was awarded to Longcross Security, formed less than two years ago and a division of the Longcross Group based in Surrey. On site since May 2002, Longcross will remain there to train staff and monitor the system until after the site is operational. The installation features 102 CCTV cameras positioned around the site including 39 Molynx Videmech external day/night Surcha minidomes, 49 internal colour Surcha minidomes and 13 static Vista colour cameras. The internal domes are positioned within the warehouse while the static cameras are found throughout the reception, catering and offices. Several of the external domes are within sight of housing; to protect the privacy of residents, each of these cameras will use their privacy zone function.
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Fibre optic cables connect all the cameras to six Dedicated Micros Digital Sprite digital video recorders (DVRs) and to a VisiLynx Matrix unit from Molynx Videmech that acts as a multiplexer. These are installed in a ‘back-office’ control room within the site. To comply with the Data Protection Act, the system’s recording capacity allows for the storage on hard disk of up to four weeks’ worth of images. However, each DVR also allows images to be recorded onto CD where appropriate.
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Telemetry control over individual domes is important. Depending on the chosen configuration, images from all of the cameras on site can be sent to one of three security points ‘the entry and exit gatehouses and an internal control room, mid-way inside the building. Four Vista monitors, each of which can display up to 16 cameras, and a Visilynx II keyboard are installed in each of these control rooms for the use of Sainsbury’s own in-house security personnel. The CCTV installation is integrated, via alarm inputs, with the intruder alarm system, also installed by Longcross. This enables, for instance, a camera to pan automatically to wherever an alarm has been activated. Tony Francis, Technical Manager at Longcross, explains that flexibility is the key to the installation: ‘Once the facility is up and running, Sainsbury’s own security staff will wish to have optimum control over the day to day monitoring of the cameras. By ensuring that any camera can be viewed from any monitor, and all the domes can be manipulated from any of the control points, Sainsbury’s can configure the system to suit their changing requirements on a daily basis."
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This CCTV system reflects the size and nature of the facility, besides the priority Sainsbury’s gives to security of its staff and goods. Tony Francis adds: "The longest cable run to a single camera is 1,410 metres. Only fibre optic cabling can transmit a high quality image over such distances without degradation." Similarly, the choice of camera and digital recording solution reflects the size of the project and the company’s focus on the capture and recording of quality images. Andy Mason, Longcross Project Manager for Waltham Point says: "The size of the installation requires the use of a matrix rather than a multiplexer as no multiplexer can handle such a large number of cameras. This inevitably also influenced our choice of camera. It was essential to select a dome compatible with the Visilynx Matrix. With its in-built Visilynx control protocol the Surcha Minidome became the obvious choice.’The Surcha Minidome features privacy zone masking for external cameras and the telemetry function offers full proportional speed at all times regardless of zoom position. This gives the operator maximum control over the dome.
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Visilynx
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Alongside the rows of fibre optic channels in the back office control room sits the Visilynx II Plus Matrix unit capable of supporting up to 256 cameras, 32 keyboards, 1024 alarm inputs and 128 relay outputs. Other features include 99 preset positions per camera, 256 named view combinations of camera and preset position, 64 video preset sequences, 128 timed events and 32 user IDs. Full telemetry control is provided. Andy Mason adds: "Such a list of capabilities hides one the key benefits of the system however. The Visilynx II is renowned for its scalability but it is the user friendly nature of the operator keyboard that wins over customers." One example is the ability to select individual cameras, views (a combination of individual camera and pre-set view) or zones (groups of up to eight cameras) at the keyboard using menus of text descriptions. This eliminates the need for the operator to remember numbers and their meanings or for the control room to feature lists of camera descriptions taped to the operator’s desk. Two video loss boxes with a capacity of 16 cameras each and a UPS system capable of supporting the whole CCTV system in the case of power failure complete the installation.
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Completing the Picture
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With a project management task of this scale, using a single equipment supplier could avoid fragmented deliveries. Longcross Security chose Norbain SD to supply all the CCTV equipment. Tony Francis says: ‘We regularly use Norbain. For projects that last weeks and months rather than days, ordering all the equipment one needs is simply out of the question. Norbain’s next day delivery policy has helped enormously as I’ve sought to manage this project as efficiently and economically as possible.’

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