|ACCESS CONTROL BASICS
The term ‘Access Control’ generally refers to a system that can control, monitor and restrict the movement of people, assets or
vehicles, in, out and around a building or site.
The benefits of using an access control system include the prevention of loss or damage to capital assets and the reduced risk of
personal injury to staff and visitors.
Access control applications range from controlling a single entrance door to managing a large complex site.
Physical access control systems comprise three main components:
ACCESS CONTROL APPLICATIONS
The Physical Barrier
The physical barrier prevents the entry of unauthorized personnel and has a means of granting access electrically. These
may be; a door fitted with an electric locking device, a turnstile, a parking gate or a lift.
The Access Controller and Reader
The physical barrier is electronically controlled by an access controller combined with some form of reader to identify people
by their 'credentials'. This may be a keypad, a card reader or a biometric reader. Together, the access controller and the
reader provide the ability to identify an individual and authorize or deny entry to them.
The identity of an individual is determined by a ‘credential’, which may be a PIN code, an access card, key fob, or a unique
human characteristic such as a fingerprint. In some cases, combinations of two or more of these credentials may be used to
identify the person.
Access control is essential for manufacturing sites to protect people and assets. An access control system can be installed
to match the initial requirements and can then be expanded in stages into a large integrated network as necessary to meet
the changing needs of the site.
Manufacturing sites have dynamic, continuously changing environments with a constant flow of finished goods, materials
and people. This creates many opportunities for theft, and poses many health and safety risks that need to be managed.
Access control systems are all designed to allow access only to people with the necessary authority to ensure that people
and assets are protected.
Electronic access control systems are an essential part of the security system in offices. The scope of the system can be How can access control be implemented?
extended to include; Time and Attendance, Visitor Management and Parking Management. Using a single integrated system
for several applications can reduce both the initial outlay and the running costs.
As well as regular members of staff who are present on a daily basis, depending upon the nature of its business, an office is
likely to receive visitors, temporary staff, field staff, etc. Although they are not there on a regular basis they can potentially
blend in with office workers. It is important to keep track of who is in the office building and to ensure that unauthorized
people are not able to gain access to valuables and sensitive information.
Access control systems are all designed to allow access only to people with the necessary authority.
We have discussed the main benefits provided by access control systems for protecting assets and safeguarding personnel.
There are however many applications that a comprehensive access control system can support:
The ability of reception staff to identify and monitor visitors can be greatly enhanced by the use of an integral visitor
management system. Here, electronic pass cards are issued to visitors, which enable them to access those areas that they
have permission to visit. Each card can be printed with the visitor’s photograph for increased security, or standard cards can
be issued and then automatically captured on exit so that they can be recycled, thereby reducing costs.
Time and Attendance
These systems use proximity card technology to record employee and contractor hours and process this information against
shift patterns. This information can then be fed through to the company’s payroll system or through a contractor
Personnel Tracking & Incident Reporting
Knowing where members of staff are at any given time can help ensure that, in the event of an incident, those involved can
be quickly identified. This can also deter would-be thieves. Some access control systems also provide individual cardholder
tracking data to track down key staff members such as First Aid staff whenever they are needed urgently.
Evacuation Mustering Systems
An access control system that keeps account of staff locations within a building can also be used as an evacuation
mustering system. At the point of an emergency evacuation, all members of staff and visitors present within the building are
on record, a print-off of which can be used for roll call at assembly points. Also, readers can be installed at the assembly
point(s) so that evacuated personnel can register their presence, thereby highlighting missing staff members.
Special Duty and Safety Staff Monitoring
Some access control systems can monitor the numbers of specific categories of staff present within a controlled area. This
provides the ability to ensure that the required number of key staff members such as safety officers are maintained within
the area by raising an alarm whenever this number falls below the required minimum level.
A staff counting and monitoring system can be applied to prevent the number of personnel within a controlled area from
exceeding a prescribed safety limit. Here, the system can refuse entry to further personnel whenever the limit has been
This type of control can also apply to vehicles crossing bridges, entering tunnels or simply operating in high-risk
environments. A similar concept may also be applied to the prevention of pedestrians from entering an area when certain
types of vehicles or machinery are present.
These are just a few of the ways in which an access control system can be used. Please contact our sales team if there are
any other applications that you would like to discuss.
If the site is relatively small and you simply need to allow access only to people with the necessary authority to specific areas
of the site, you can fit standalone access control systems to one or more doors and issue pass cards to authorized staff
members. Although each door will be protected by a separate access control system, it is possible to program individual
pass cards to allow access through two or more doors as necessary. A limitation of standalone access control systems is
that they can’t provide the additional real-time features that a PC-based system can provide, such as evacuation mustering
and personnel tracking. However, it is usually possible to upgrade a standalone system to a networked PC-based system at
a later date.
The advantages of using standalone access control over a lock and key system are:
• Lost pass cards can be disabled without a need to replace the locking system.
• A single pass card can be programmed to access several areas on a per user basis.
• Pass cards can’t be easily copied.
Networked PC-Based System
If you invest in a PC-based access control system, you open up the opportunity to add many additional functions to the
basic door control features provided by a standalone system. Networking the system involves connecting each door
controller to a standard computer network access point and connecting the host PC to the same network.
The additional benefits of using a PC-based access control system on a manufacturing site are:
If all personnel have pass cards and their use is strictly controlled, an evacuation mustering system can be incorporated.
• A time and attendance system can be provided.
• If all areas of the site are protected by access control, the reporting of an incident is made easier by providing
evidence of who was in the area at the time of the incidence.
• A visitor management system can be provided by the system by issuing temporary, limited access cards to visitors.
• The system can monitor the numbers of specific categories of staff present within a controlled area to ensure that the
necessary quota of key staff members such as safety officers is maintained within the area. It can achieve this by raising an
alarm whenever the number of key staff members falls below the required minimum level.
• Vehicular access to the site and the use of the parking facilities can be managed by the same system.
• A staff counting and monitoring system can prevent the number of personnel within a controlled area from exceeding
a prescribed safety limit by refusing entry to further personnel whenever the limit has been reached.
These are just a few of the ways access control systems can be implemented for manufacturing sites. Please contact our sales
team if you have any requirements that haven’t been covered here.