classic | mobile
Follow us on:
Follow us on Facebook  Share via Twitter  Share via LinkedIn

Hi-Tech Security Solutions Business Directory

Tube and Pipe keeps growing
October 2005, Access Control & Identity Management

Project scope

To control the access and monitor time and attendance of 600 users at Macsteel Tube and Pipe, using one enrolment station, 17 biometric readers at the main factory and two at remote sites, and eight turnstiles.

The history

This company has experienced tremendous growth and at each stage Timewatch Systems was able to expand the original card-based access and time management system to meet the new demands. Eventually a Keymaster controller and software was added using the existing readers, to provide improved control. Recently, more and more problems were occurring with communication links, many of which were lengthened with factory expansion. RS485 lines were very long and communications became unstable. The electrical noise from the large machinery and welding was probably causing most problems. At the same time the readers were ageing and the card technology in use was becoming obsolete.

The company had a few requirements that were only partly being met:

1. The access control was to be as secure as possible.

2. The clocking data had to be reliable and loopholes had to be eliminated.

3. The time workers spent in change rooms had to be monitored.

If changes were made, they wanted to avoid having to learn new systems and to recapture all employee data.

The solution

The communications network needed to be upgraded. All card readers were replaced with Sagem fingerprint readers linked via LAN to the controlling PC.

The Keymaster access control system was retained, adding door controllers where necessary. The existing Clockwatch time and attendance programme was known and worked well so that was also retained.

A new program (CWEXPORT) was used to combine data from the Keymaster database and Sagem data from remote readers. Readers were added at two remote sites.

Obstacles and concerns

Concern was expressed regarding the dirty environment and that the rough work damages workers' fingerprints. Speed of access was thought to be slow compared to card-based systems. Employee resistance was considered.

Tenders, specs and implementation

The proposal was made by the suppliers of the existing system, due to the problems of the ageing and over-extended system. The number of upgrades over the years resulted in a situation that was becoming less and less reliable. They also pointed out that other companies in the group were successfully introducing fingerprint readers and the technology we had was becoming obsolete. For us it would reduce the cost and effort needed in issuing and replacing cards, and give us the controls that were lacking in the card-based system. Due to our experience of many years of good service, and that the proposals were cost effective and our needs were well understood, the upgrade project was awarded to them.

The results

A dramatic improvement has been made in the stability of the core access control system. The use of fingerprints has simplified the whole management process and has resulted in a genuinely secure system with few loopholes. There were a few people with problematic prints, but after recapturing the images with assistance from the suppliers, all employees are successfully registering at a surprisingly fast pace. (One employee whose prints have deteriorated is being investigated.)

The other big impact has been in time saved with corrections. Somehow with the card-based system there were often missing clockings which meant much extra work investigating and correcting each omission. This problem has been virtually eliminated. Vanessa Sanders adds, "The remote readers that were added are a huge advantage, as we can now control their clockings from HR and ensure consistency."

Fact file

Key service providers, products and solutions:

System integrator and product suppliers: Timewatch Systems, Dani Taback, 011 640 1850,

Biometric products: Ideco Technologies, Gary Jones, 011 840 7800,

Software: Clockwatch Distribution, June Jawitz, 011 485 2912,

Macsteel Tube and Pipe, Vanessa Sanders, 011 897 2100

Supplied By: Itatec
Tel: +27 11 264 0530
Fax: 086 665 5566
  Share via Twitter   Share via LinkedIn      

Further reading:

  • The changing world of access
    November 2015, neaMetrics, Powell Tronics, Impro Technologies, Access Control & Identity Management
    Hi-Tech Security Solutions asked a few people who should be in the know for their take on the future of the access control market.
  • The future is here
    November 2015, Suprema, Access Control & Identity Management
    Evolutions in the field of mobile, Internet of Things and cloud computing as well as integration of such technologies have led a shift towards a new technology paradigm.
  • Protecting the Wiegand protocol from attack
    November 2015, Access Control & Identity Management, Information Security
    In these attacks, a credential’s identifier is cloned, or captured, and is then retransmitted via a small electronic device to grant unauthorised access to an office or other facility.
  • Start with risk, not technology
    November 2015, Access Control & Identity Management, Security Services & Risk Management
    This article looks to avoid the usual technological rhetoric approach and provide end users with a list of performance-based requirements that will leave the responsibility of providing the correct access solution with the system provider.
  • Global identity concerns
    November 2015, Access Control & Identity Management
    Sanjay Dharwadker applies many years of experience in the security field to ask if security is a cultural and civilisational construct?
  • From drawbridge to biometrics
    November 2015, Access Control & Identity Management
    The access control industry may just be a lot older than we believe.
  • Global access control standards
    November 2015, Access Control & Identity Management
    ONVIF publishes release candidate for Profile A, enabling advanced access control configuration.
  • Why integrate physical and logical security?
    November 2015, Access Control & Identity Management, Enterprise Solutions
    Despite the fact that physical and logical security depend on each other, it is surprising to find that a number of companies still treat them as separate systems.
  • Increasing protection through multi-factor authentication
    November 2015, Virdi Distribution SA, Reditron, Elvey Security Technologies, Access Control & Identity Management
    Hi-Tech Security Solutions asks how necessary and successful mutli-factor authentication is at improving security.
  • Multi-factor improves security and convenience
    November 2015, HID Global, Access Control & Identity Management
    An effective strong authentication solution must be able to add security without adding significant costs or complexity.
  • A reader alone doesn’t cut it anymore
    November 2015, Suprema, ZKTeco, Access Control & Identity Management
    Hi-Tech Security Solutions asked ZKTeco and Suprema how the functionality of ­readers is expanding to integrate more business functionality than merely access control.
  • Faster, easier, cheaper and more reliable than ever
    November 2015, iPulse Systems, Suprema, Virdi Distribution SA, ZKTeco, Morpho South Africa, This Week's Editor's Pick, Access Control & Identity Management
    To find out more about the state of biometrics and for a glimpse into the near future, Hi-Tech Security Solutions asked a few experts for their take on this thriving industry.

Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd
1st Floor, Stabilitas House
265 Kent Ave, Randburg, 2194
South Africa
Publications by Technews
Dataweek Electronics & Communications Technology
Electronic Buyers Guide (EBG)

Hi-Tech Security Solutions
Hi-Tech Security Business Directory (HSBD)

Motion Control in Southern Africa
Motion Control Buyers’ Guide (MCBG)

South African Instrumentation & Control
South African Instrumentation & Control Buyers’ Guide (IBG)
Terms & conditions of use, including privacy policy
PAIA Manual
    Mobile | Classic

Copyright © Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved.