PROBLEM DESCRIPTION: Intelligent Temperature Monitoring Warning of Potential Fire Conditions
Our client operates a manufacturing facility which requires the use of extremely high heat equipment. Unified Systems Inc did the initial installation of an Avigilon based HD Video Surveillance System in the facility. Our client informed us that they were experiencing ongoing fire and fire false alarm problems. The nature of the process was that sometimes temperatures would spike for a very short term, resulting in a fire alarm and a deluge in their kilns. This cost thousands of dollars in lost time and clean up. The client wanted a way to enhance their existing fire detection system to compensate for these temperature fluctuations. They wanted a way to identify fire conditions, notify foremen and supervisors so that preventive action could be taken.
The client was using Avigilon NVR’s, and was also on it’s own network. Existing process control equipment was incapable of rules based decision making. Upgrading systems was not an option due to excessive cost.
Every sensor has the ability to send an alarm or turn on a relay as soon as a maximum or minimum temperature is reached. However, the nature of the process was that temperature spikes varied randomly in temperature and timing. All existing process controls couldn’t examine the alarms together, monitor for certain conditions and THEN report the alarm. The client was always facing nuisance false alarms, fires, or deluge systems deploying (dumping thousands of gallons of water into their kilns).
SOLVING THE BUSINESS PROBLEM
Unified Systems Inc. has a dedicated service department, and a dedicated IT department. Our IT staff regularly reviews and tests new and upcoming hardware and software. Our specific goal is the identification of technologies that are cost-effective and allow us to design and build integrations that solve business problems. So, our first stop was in the IT department.
Our design pros in IT quickly sketched out a network design using a system of network-based temperature sensors on various points of their equipment. USI provided these network-based, high-temperature probes that simply reported temperature over the network. The IT department then utilized a brand new software product that they had tested and found to be very exciting; Universal Data Relay. This software is essentially a ‘digital swiss army knife’…it has so many network attachments that it can connect anything together! Its sentinel system provides a type of artificial intelligence that can be used to intelligently examine and act on inputs.
Finally – the IT department had to get down to the grunt work of programming and configuring the server, Universal Data Relay, and the Text Transaction service on the Avigilon NVRs. This is Unified Systems’ competitive advantage – dedicated IT personnel, experienced in programming and interfacing a wide variety of technologies.
The deployment went very smoothly and our client began seeing embedded temperature values within his Avigilon camera system immediately. The system was programmed with rules that could examine a range of temperature sensors, and determine if conditions were a spike or a dangerous increase in temperature. Testing was successful. When conditions were ripe for a fire, the system texted all supervisors and also posted messages on monitors at the process control equipment. As a bonus, a continuous stream of temperature data for any given operating day was available for analysis!
To date – the system has successfully notified staff of impending fire 3 times over the last 1.5 years. Savings: over $100,000 in lost time and product.
Another business problem solved!