Security Systems IntegrationRetrofit at Lexmark International blends fire and security sys
Security Systems IntegrationRetrofit at Lexmark International blends fire and security systems to handle 20,000 daily transactions.

Dec 1, 1998 12:00 PM
AC&SSI Staff

Single-seat control benefits printer manufacturerLexmark International Inc. needed a change. Its world headquarters, a 31-building, 450-acre research and manufacturing campus in Lexington, Ky., was burdened with outdated, stand-alone card access and CCTV systems. The inkjet and laser printer manufacturer - with worldwide sales of $2.5 billion in 1997 - wanted a flexible system powerful enough to handle 15,000 to 20,000 daily transactions. And the company wanted single-seat control of access, CCTV, video badging and fire detection.Lexmark chose the Simplex NT 3400 Security Management Information System. The system, which uses a Simplex Intelligent System Controller, has 70 nodes, more than 500 readers and 400 unique access codes. At Lexmark, more than 6,000 cardholders come and go each workday, using HID proximity cards and readers. One hundred and sixty-seven closed-circuit video cameras (from Philips Burle, Sony and Panasonic) feed into the security control center. Dedicated Micros multiplexers housed in Atlas Soundolier racks handle video recorded on Mitsubishi VCRs. Four remote workstations, a primary and a redundant file server and two video badging stations round out the system, which can process up to 50,000 transactions a day.The security system is integrated with a 30-node Simplex 4120 Fire Detection Network. The difference in Lexmark's security capabilities since the retrofit is "like night and day," says John Kidd, manager of corporate security. "We've greatly enhanced corporate security, and can respond faster and better than ever before," he says. "The improvements we've made have also boosted morale."

A global providerFormed in 1991 when the investment firm of Clayton, Dubilier and Rice Inc. acquired the information products business of IBM, Lexmark has made a successful transition to an independent company with its own line of Lexmark-branded products. Today, Lexmark sells printers, printer cartridges and associated supplies in nearly 150 countries.In 1996, Lexmark formed a security system selection committee. The looming year 2000 compliance problem and security risks associated with the company's worldwide expansion prompted a security system overhaul. The selection committee included representation from a number of cross-functional departments and organizations - corporate security, facilities engineering, information systems, fire protection and site operations.The selection committee laid out broad system specifications and invited providers to submit proposals. "We basically developed the parameters of what we needed," says Kidd. The information systems contingent ensured the solution was compatible with existing systems and with the Lexmark information network infrastructure. In selecting a security system, the committee considered the following factors:- Integration: Lexmark wanted an integrated system. The selection committee sought a system that could monitor security, fire and other building systems activity from a single workstation. In the event of a fire alarm, for example, Lexmark wanted to be able to focus a video camera on its point of origin.- Remote monitoring: Lexmark sought the ability to monitor remote sites from the Lexington headquarters, including manufacturing centers in Boulder, Colo.; Rosyth, Scotland; Juarez, Mexico; Orleans, France; and Sydney, Australia. - Customized management: Lexmark wanted more management report capabilities and the ability to import photos and tagged image file format (TIFF) files into the system.- Expandability: Kidd says, "Because of the size of our site and the number of codes we use to control access, we needed a powerful system."- Microsoft Windows NT operating system: Lexmark wanted a Windows NT-compatible system, in part, because the printer company had experience with the operating platform in information systems, maintenance and other facets of its business.- A local relationship: Lexmark was swayed by a strong relationship with Simplex's local office in Lexington. Simplex has supplemented the work of the Lexington branch with other company resources - consultation, manufacturing, engineering, systems design and programming, automated CAD drawings, installation, project management, customized training and ongoing support.

Multi-tasking capabilitiesThrough its ability to connect multiple workstations and intelligent system controllers on a single network, the security system enables an organization to monitor and control thousands of security and safety devices. If a problem is detected, the system reports the presence of an alarm condition and provides operators with appropriate instructions. Events are archived and the system uses the data to generate detailed security activity reports.The system supports more than 50,000 cardholders and up to 1,176 badge readers. Almost without exception, access at the Lexmark facility is controlled by badge readers - there's a reader on practically every door.The Lexmark system functions with a 70-node Intelligent System Controller network. The controller is a powerful distributed processing system with a modular design that enhances the operation of the NT 3400. Each controller can both monitor and control devices such as card readers, automatic locks, motion sensors and other security and safety devices.With the installation of the 4120 Fire Alarm Network Integration Module, the security system will be able to receive, annunciate, print and log fire events. This feature provides a single point of annunciation, centralized historical logging and the ability to disseminate critical information to key personnel at networked workstations. Older fire alarm systems that are scheduled for replacement also connect to the system.

Lots of unique access levelsWith space at Lexmark increasingly devoted to research and product development, the site requires a number of access levels, including maximum protection for sensitive areas. "We have people who move from building to building, so we need a lot of different access levels," Kidd says.The system has more than 400 access levels, and some cardholders have as many as 50. In a research area, for example, there might be a dozen separate labs, each with a proximity reader on the door. The area manager would have access to all 12 rooms, but other personnel who work in the area might have access to a limited number of rooms. Access restrictions are accomplished through access codes. The system needed the flexibility to change card access levels, since workers often change jobs.Programming the system to meet Lexmark's application-specific requirements was one of the major challenges of the project, says Simplex's Danny Calia.

A remodeled security control centerIn conjunction with the security system installation, Lexmark and Simplex worked together to redesign the security control center, improving the efficiency and flexibility of the space and freeing up additional network capacity. The control center now features a video badging station and a state-of-the-art workstation with multiple screens for monitoring activity. The 167 closed-circuit cameras connect to the control center; officers get real-time views from any camera. Most of the cameras are focused on exterior doors from inside. The rest, about 20 percent, are exterior cameras.There are two other workstations in the control room for fire alarm and card access system graphic maps. A remote workstation also has been installed upstairs in the security department, giving management personnel access to the same information, screens and images available at the control center. Another workstation is located in the main visitor lobby.The control center also includes two Winsted racks containing VCRs that record camera activity and accompanying screens. Sixteen cameras feed into the recorders. Each day, a tape is produced that contains all camera activity for the previous 24-hours.

A major undertakingThe design, installation and ongoing implementation, service and support of the Lexmark solution has been a major undertaking that Kidd says has gone well, especially considering the size and complexity. "We anticipated that with a system this large there would be issues and stumbling blocks to work out along the way," Kidd says. "You don't undertake a project of this type without a few glitches."There have been a few glitches, but Kidd says they have been virtually invisible to the people who work at the site. "Their major concern is, 'Can I get in when I walk up to the reader with my badge?' And we've really had no problems along those lines," Kidd says.

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