Protect remote sites with volumetric thermal detectors

Issue 7 2023 Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection

Remote sites have always been more vulnerable to opportunistic intrusion, but over the last two years in particular, sites such as solar farms or industrial parks have become more common targets for criminals. Instances of solar farm theft, for instance, have risen dramatically, correlating with both the rising costs of compound metals and the increased number of solar farms across the EMEA region. Similarly, theft in warehouse and logistic facilities increased, accounting for more than 2300 European cargo and theft incidents in 2022.

The challenges of protecting remote sites

The fact that a large number of these sites are located in isolated areas typically means that security is monitored and managed remotely, and the use of video surveillance is essential to confirm if an alert is real. Beyond visual verification, the biggest challenge faced by remote security teams is to reliably detect any intrusions as early as possible in order to take the appropriate response and deter theft or damage to the premises.

Commonly, remote sites can be prone to environmental conditions such as uneven terrain, lack of lighting, vegetation, changing weather and temperatures. To add to the complexity, typically, the perimeter of these facilities is large and has many different zones to protect, each with its own characteristics. All of these elements can be challenging for some technologies and can increase the chances of nuisance alarms or, even worse – missed alarms. Nuisance alarms can be extremely costly, dispatching response teams to remote sites for verification of non-genuine intrusions.

Equally important is the eroded trust in the system, which is a natural outcome when guards are repeatedly attending false alarms. However, there is no question that missed alarms can be significantly more costly; the loss of assets or damage to facilities is not only costly in itself, but it also impacts operational continuity, leaving businesses facing the challenge of lost revenues or even periods of being non-operational.

What are volumetric thermal detectors?

Volumetric thermal detectors, also known as thermal motion detectors or passive infrared (PIR) volumetric sensors, are used to detect motion and changes in temperature within a defined area. They work by capturing the infrared radiation emitted by objects and analysing the temperature variations to identify movement and human presence. This allows them to accurately differentiate between a human presence and environmental factors that can trigger false alarms, such as moving foliage or changes in weather and ambient temperature.

As they rely on detecting heat signatures rather than visible light, volumetric thermal detectors, such as OPTEX’s REDWALL SIP series, function effectively in low light or even complete darkness. This makes them a perfect solution for areas which do not have thorough illumination, or which are subject to challenging environmental conditions, including fog, smoke, or harsh weather, where other technologies might be limited. This reliable detection capability's main benefit is providing the surveillance system with the intelligence to filter out the main causes of false alarms and, more importantly, to avoid any missed genuine alarms.

OPTEX REDWALL SIP sensors have been deployed across thousands of remote sites in Europe, where they contribute to creating a more reliable and efficient surveillance system. REDWALL SIP integrates with IP video, LED security lighting, audio and other security equipment and contributes with its reliable detection to ensure there are no missed alarms.

One of the key challenges when protecting remote sites is maintenance; the fact that REDWALL SIP sensors can automatically adjust to the environment and the unevenness of the terrain is a support to the security team and means they do not have to physically attend the site to change the settings of the sensor. It is also a robust and durable device which ensures a long product life and cost-effective solution.

Volumetric thermal detectors also provide a wide coverage area, typically covering a longer range compared to traditional short-range PIR sensors. OPTEX REDWALL series includes a wide range of sensors offering wide areas up to 30 x 50 m or corridor detection areas up to 100 m.

It provides uniform detection in the whole protection area, which is achieved thanks to different sensors housed in the same device – for far, near, and creep zones. The different zones allow PTZ cameras to track intruders across zones and also provide the possibility of having independent alarm outputs, as well as the implementation of detection logic. The logical configuration of detection means that you can combine two zones to know in which direction the intruder is moving and whether it should trigger the alarm. In addition, the creep zone below the sensor allows self-protection in case of vandalism against the equipment.

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