DBSA thermals

January 2009 Surveillance

The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) is one of several development finance institutions in South and southern Africa.

Located in South Africa, between Johannesburg and Pretoria, security threats are real for the DBSA. The building contains a lot of valuable material and artwork that a lot of people would like to steal. In order to protect the building, the DBSA recently decided to expand its security network with four FLIR Systems SR-50 thermal imaging cameras.

Security day and night

“We monitor the area around the bank and all entrances continuously with CCTV cameras,” explains Jaques du Plessis, regional manager, Gauteng of Holbert Boikanyo Technologies, a provider of integrated security systems in South Africa and responsible for all the security installations at the DBSA. “During daytime this works perfectly. However, security also needs to perform during the night so I was looking for a good solution for seeing in total darkness.”

Although the initial investment for installing infrared illuminators seemed quite reasonable, Du Plessis quickly found out that it is actually an expensive solution. Replacing the infrared beamers is a costly exercise. “Furthermore, we needed a good range performance. this would dramatically increase the total cost of ownership.”


Du Plessis did some research for other solutions and found FLIR Systems. Although the initial investment in thermal imaging cameras might be higher, he says they pay for themselves in the long run. Thermal imaging cameras do not consume a lot of power and since they contain an uncooled vanadium oxide detector which does not contain any moving parts at all, they are maintenance free. Once in operation they are good for several years, hassle free, continuous operation.

“After studying the perimeter at the DBSA, we decided to install four FLIR Systems SR-50 thermal imaging cameras. They have good range performance allowing detection of a man at a distance of about 800 metres. They are overlooking the areas next to the building and also the parking lot.”

In order to increase its situational awareness, the bank decided to mount the thermal imaging cameras on a pan/tilt mast to allow operators to point them in whatever direction was needed. “It also allowed us to cover the entire perimeter around the DBSA with only four cameras. We have installed a FLIR Systems SR-50 at every corner of the building.”

Easy installation

“The thermal imaging cameras were really simple to install,” continued Du Plessis. “We display the images of the four SR-50 thermal imaging cameras on one large display in the control room. From the control room we can turn the pan/tilt, on which the SR-50’s are installed, in every desired direction. If something unusual is detected we send out a walking patrol with dogs to the area where there is unusual activity.”

The FLIR Systems thermal imaging cameras are doing well with no problems reported. The next step at the DBSA is to install a video motion detection (VMD) system.

For more information contact Tinus Diedericks, Timeless Technologies, +27 (0)21 914 6144, [email protected], www.timetech.co.za

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