Air Liquide’s Integrated Concept
Integrator Seneschal has installed a fibre optic LAN and an Inner Range Concept 4000 access control system at Air Liquide Australia’s Sunshine site. Also installed were Eko Tek mobile duress, Sentrol fixed duress, a Gallagher electric fence, access controlled gates, EVAC and plant monitoring, with all sub systems integrated with Concept.
ELECTRONIC security systems are changing. Modern solutions exhibit high levels of integration that place increasing levels of management and control into the hands of users and system operators. Underlying these performance increases is something fundamental to security and safety – an increase in the levels of situational awareness an integrated solution can provide.
No longer do security and facilities managers need to struggle with multiple siloed solutions, each with its own reporting path, management system or workstation, each with its proprietary niggles and requirements. And for a company like Air Liquide Australia, which has special security and safety needs across many large sites, such changes couldn’t come soon enough.
Operating in 80 countries, Air Liquide S.A. supplies gases for industry, health and environmental organisations. Oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen are among the gases the company supplies and it goes without saying that an environment containing these gases needs to be secure, safe and carefully monitored at multiple levels.
At Air Liquide Australia, safety procedures have always been strict. Mobile phones are not permitted on site. Neither is smoking, nor or any hot works permits. But something more was needed – the situational awareness that enhances security and safety through rapid event notification and instant response.
Workers and visitors are still protected by Air Liquide’s comprehensive occupational health and safety framework but now the new electronic security and safety solution is an integral part of the process.
With 15 sites nationally, Air Liquide’s business is significant and its security and safety needs are complex. While the initial project was limited, it wasn’t long before the scope of works at Sunshine in Victoria had expanded to include multiple sites as Air Liquide ramped up its nationwide security and OH&S upgrade process.
From the perspective of Air Liquide, securing its facilities and providing a duty of care to workers and visitors was the key goal during the security upgrade process. A vital aspect of the system was Air Liquide’s insistence it be able to find workers very quickly with accurate location tracking if there was an incident on a site. Air Liquide also wanted to ensure unauthorised personnel were kept out but still provide all the necessary protection for any visitors that walked through.
Air Liquide had previously experienced some minor break-ins on its properties and was committed to stopping these intrusions immediately. Additionally the company was concerned about the possible risk of explosions or gas leaks that might harm unauthorised people attempting to steal gas, and was seeking to mitigate any liability Air Liquide held.
Concerned about its safety and security, Air Liquide reached out to the electronic security industry and Central Security Distribution’s account manager Joshua Mills arranged a meeting between Joan Lake, Air Liquide Australia’s safety and quality manager, and the Seneschal Security team in November 2011.
This meeting was the first step in a year-long process that led first to the completion of the integration at Air Liquide’s Sunshine facility and later to the expansion of that work to cover additional sites across Australia as part of a process that still continues.
In the initial stage, Air Liquide contracted Seneschal to audit its security at the Sunshine facility and once this audit was completed, this contract was extended to putting in place security measures; including fences, gates, access control, intruder detection, mobile patrols, mobile duress monitoring and surveillance.
“All the third party systems are integrated using a mix of hardware or software interfaces via traditional hard-wired interfaces or IP-based high-level interfaces”
The original scope of the first job at Sunshine was very small and was meant to be completed within a few months. But given the complexity of the Sunshine site, it didn’t take long before the scope was widened and additional systems were required to fulfil Air Liquide’s needs.
Initially a lot of wireless equipment was going to be used to cover the distances between the plant and gates, but after further discussions with senior management, Air Liquide’s IT department became involved and fibre optic cabling was run around the Sunshine site by Seneschal to support the Concept system and multiple sub systems.
Leveraging this RFI inert, future-proof and reliable comms path, the end result is a sophisticated and completed integrated security, access control, mobile duress, man-down, lone-worker, plant monitoring and perimeter security solution.
The legacy systems
The first job for Senschal at Sunshine, after establishing Air Liquide’s security requirements, was picking through the legacy systems. Air Liquide’s site had a variety of old intruder detection systems and an access control system. In total there was a mix of about 5 totally separate systems from different manufacturers.
These were not integrated and worst of all, they were individually monitored. In some cases different buildings had multiple small intruder detection systems, some of which were more suited to the domestic market than an industrial plant.
Furthermore, the duress system was not mobile, it was a fixed duress pull-lever installed within each building and pendants that when pressed, raised an alarm. But the monitoring centre viewing the alarm could not tell where a received alarm had come from, nor could it identify the specific wireless repeater that had picked up the initial activation.
On a large site with thousands of gas cylinders and multiple buildings with plant equipment and associate machinery, this became an occupational health and safety nightmare. All that could be done was to assume where a staff member was working at that time of the day by guesswork and to search manually.
Meanwhile, out on the perimeter, the fencing system was basic and not electrified, and Air Liquide had experienced break-ins involving intruders cutting through the chain link fence. The electric gates were very old and had on-going maintenance problems, while the surveillance system was also in need of upgrading.
The new solution
The solution that has been installed by Seneschal at the Sunshine facility is built around Inner Range’s Concept 4000 and Insight Software with Multipath alarm reporting. The Concept solution itself combines intruder detection and access control. There’s access control of the entry gates and all of the main 5 buildings.
Further integrations include the electric fence, which reports to and via Inner Range, electric gates, which are controlled by Inner Range, Sentrol fixed duress, which reports to and via Inner Range and EVAC and plant monitoring, which reports to and via Inner Range.
A Multitone Ekotek solution handles wireless mobile duress, lone worker, and man-down alerting, also reporting to and via Inner Range. There are also Microlatch wireless RF fobs for remote gate access which report to Inner Range. Seneschal also installed an IP CCTV solution but this is not integrated with the overall management solution, though it could be in the future.
With the installation of the fibre network to the Sunshine plant, Seneschal was also able to use CLOE (Concept LAN Over Ethernet) modules to drive Concept access control LAN data over the IP network.
As part of the upgrade, Air Liquide expanded its intruder detection by including the 3 rear buildings that previously had no intruder detection. Getting all the intrusion sensors onto a single control panel was important. It meant all buildings were managed by one centralised intruder detection system, saving on monitoring costs.
An inclusion that was very important for Air Liquide was the Multitone Eko Tek, which works as a wireless man-down, mobile duress and lone worker system. Eko Tek's mobile alarm units contain both Man-Down and Dead-Man features. Man-Down detects if the alarm unit is tilted due to a worker falling down, while Dead-Man periodically alerts a worker to press a button on the alarm unit to show they are well enough to carry out the task.
“The key requirements were perimeter protection, man down, and bringing all individual buildings onto one system,” he says. “All these were resolved fairly easily with a Gallagher fence, the Eco Tek solution and Inner Range’s Concept 4000”
Workers carry pendants or pagers on them and the wireless mesh technology that Eko Tek uses ensures that workers can easily be located as signals pass through Eko Tek repeaters installed around the site. The location accuracy is usually within a few metres, which is satisfactory and is much superior to the old fixed duress system with its pull-down levers.
The lone-worker component works by regularly activating a beeper on a pager, typically every 15 minutes. Whenever the beeper goes off, the worker must press the confirmation button within 30 seconds to acknowledge the warning. If the confirmation button is not pressed within the 30 seconds an alarm will be raised to be displayed on the Insight schematic map and sent to the monitoring station via the Concept 4000.
The man-down component works by having an accelerometer built in to each pager. So if a worker falls down the accelerometer would detect the change of position and then report the alarm via the same way as described above. Initially there were false alarms being reported because as workers bent over to pick-up a box, their movement would set off the alarm. Seneschal was easily able to fix this by incrementing the time-delay in which the accelerometer waited before reporting the alarm.
At Sunshine, all primary Concept functions and sub-systems can be monitored and/or controlled by Insight, the system management software from Inner Range. Schematic Maps are used within Insight that display all the access control doors, intruder detection areas and mobile duress wireless repeaters on a single screen.
According to Seneschal’s Mitch Mijatovic, Air Liquide’s Sunshine site was developed in conjunction with client needs as a test site. The thinking was that if all went well at Sunshine, all other sites nationally would be reviewed one by one. The heart of the integration is a new fibre backbone that was run across the Sunshine site by Seneschal.
“Once the new LAN was run, the Concept system was run in parallel to the existing system,” Mijatovic explains. “We also brought the outbuildings onto the one system using Concept and disconnected the multiple alarm systems in each building and we installed the Eco Tek man-down system and built a high level interface between it and the Concept, as well as installing a new cantilever gate, a Gallagher electric fence and a new IP CCTV system.”
According to Mijatovic, Seneschal chose the Inner Range Concept 4000 because of its capabilities in terms of size and the flexibility of its modular design.
“Also vital at Air Liquide were Concept’s proven integration features with third party systems,” Mijatovic explains. “All the third party systems are integrated using a mix of hardware or software interfaces via traditional hard-wired interfaces or IP-based high-level interfaces.”
Mijatovic says the fibre LAN paved the way to allow for megapixel IP based cameras and a software based NVR, as opposed to the original specification of analogue cameras and traditional DVRs.
“Currently the CCTV system is not interfaced into the Insight system management software but it’s hoped this will be integrated in the future,” Mijatovic says.
While there’s nothing particularly unusual in terms of comms paths, applications or support technologies at Sunshine, there was considerable planning involved in getting the system commissioned and installed. A key demand was ensuring the system worked before the cutover.
“We bench tested and programmed the entire system prior to installation, then we installed the new systems side-by-side with the legacy gear and started cutting across and interfacing devices one by one,” Mijatovic explains.
“The job itself was fairly easy. The only unusual items were the technology employed in the CO2 plant and interfacing those alarms (for gas leaks, etc) into Concept.”
The fact Air Liquide’s multiple sites are run standalone means there’s currently no need for an enterprise solution like Inner Range’s new Integriti but such an upgrade is easily manageable in the future.
“We have had discussions with the client regarding this but as each site runs as a standalone site the client has it under consideration.”
Mijatovic says no issues dominated the installation.
“The key requirements were perimeter protection, man down, and bringing all individual buildings onto one system,” he says. “All these were resolved fairly easily with a Gallagher fence, the Eco Tek solution and Inner Range’s Concept 4000.”
A networked system like this one means there’s co-operation with the IT department and Mijatovic says Seneschal has a great relationship with Air Liquide’s IT department and works closely with them when needed.
“This type of relationship is not necessarily common but has proven to be mutually beneficial as the security and IT related data can use the common fibre optic medium.”
Inner Range was also involved in the installation and gave support whenever required.
“As always Inner Range provided us great support, in particular with the interface for Eko Tek man-down system,” Mijatovic says.
As it became clear the initial installation at Sunshine was a success, Air Liquide’s procurements department got involved and Seneschal was asked to start looking at other sites as part of standardising security solutions nationally. The aim is to create a national standard for Air Liquide Australia that will allow users, such as managers and truck drivers, to traverse sites but use their common access card across each site.
At present the Seneschal team is working on its 4th Air Liquide site with the goal of providing a robust and standardised solution across all the company’s 15 sites nationally. One thing that’s clear is that the integration between the various systems was a key selling point and deciding factor for Air Liquide. From its previous experience it did not want a mix of disparate systems.
Mijatovic says that because of Seneschal’s history of installing integrated systems, the team was confident it could meet all the requirements set out by Air Liquide.
“A particular benefit for Air Liquide is that the new system has saved money by centralising its solution. There are no longer multiple monitored lines servicing disparate alarm systems and we’ve removed the difficulty of servicing a range of out-dated systems.”
According to Mijatovic, the success of the Sunshine installation has really helped the relationship between integrator and end user flourish.
“As a result of the success at Sunshine we are currently looking after 4 Air Liquide Australia sites across 3 states and we are slowly reviewing security services across all the company’s other sites,” he says.
“When this process is completed we’ll be able to provide Air Liquide the most appropriate options, as each of their sites has unique requirements based on size and location.”
Is the end user happy with its new integrated solution?
“Absolutely,” says Mijatovic. “Air Liquide is thrilled with how everything has come together and how easily staff can view its entire security framework from a single graphical user interface using Insight.”
By John Adams & Russell Blake