Securing an industrial complex the right way

As the fields of security and safety have expanded, issues like industrial espionage, IT security and health and safety at work have become as major concerns. Increased awareness of these challenges has inspired companies to fortify their physical security strategies — and the bigger the company, the more complex the structure of the security chain. To avoid complexity problems while guaranteeing maximum protection, Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG trusts in Hexagon to provide one holistic security system.

The challenge

Würth, a leading expert in mounting materials and tools, is headquartered in Künzelsau, Germany. Every day, its huge premises is frequented by a total of 6,000 office employees, field staff and various suppliers and contractors. Numerous stores, as well as an event and exhibition center in Schwäbisch Hall, are also on Würth’s property and part of its responsibility. But despite its massive footprint, the company is committed to providing a visitor-friendly and safe atmosphere.

“We need a solution that meets our high expectations regarding safety standards and ensures them permanently,” said Marco Hagenmüller, head of communication systems at Würth.

One method for achieving this is the use of an intelligent video surveillance system that covers the entire company grounds and additional selected locations. A consistent cost-performance ratio and area access monitoring are necessary as well..

The solution

In 2002, Würth decided to replace its obsolete analog security system with network technology-based video surveillance. The decision was based on budgetary concerns — analog technology had grown more expensive than its digital counterparts — and technical potential. The flexible IP video capability provided by digital systems is a vital component to future-proofing any security system; as a company grows, the system can develop alongside it to meet new demands while still making use of existing infrastructure.

For its video management software, Würth selected the Hexagon ecosystem based on its scalability and flexibility. Würth also benefits from the modular structure of the Qognify VMS platform. Third-party software like access control and central management systems can easily be docked to the existing system. Additional features such as video analytics and license plate recognition can be integrated as well, and the number of cameras is infinitely extendable.

The result

At the project kickoff in 2002, 45 analog cameras were integrated into the new video surveillance system with video encoders, and an additional 45 network cameras from Axis Communications were brought online. Over the years, the number of cameras has risen steadily — currently, the system manages about 1,500 cameras that cover the headquarters, branch offices and other locations, including an airport, a church and the exhibition center, where the focus lies on the physical protection of the artwork on display. Famous pieces like Hans Holbein’s “Schutzmantelmadonna” (Madonna of Mercy) are exhibited on-site, so at least one staff member is on security detail 24/7.

In addition, two or three employees are responsible for security at the headquarters. The team is supported by the camera recordings, which are accessible from any location and require only minimal storage capacity and bandwidth because of a low image rate. In certain circumstances, the frame rate rises automatically to ensure a steady image stream.

In addition to protecting valuable paintings, Hexagon’s solutions are used to secure a regulated process in the so-called “pick-up shops” of the on-premise stores. The stores use a burglar system, which has been specially designed for this use case. In case of an alarm, a signal is sent to Qognify VMS via an I/O module, and the system automatically switches into alarm recording mode. In this mode, the control center receives an alarm message and an automatic live feed of video from the affected location so security staff can take further steps to clarify or address the situation. For example, in case of an intrusion, the police will be informed; in the case of fire, the fire department will be called.

The customer

A good indication of the customer’s satisfaction is the system’s growth over time. “For more than 20 years, the system has been operating smoothly. We have thousands of options and can choose new features or additional cameras instantly — no problem at all with the help of Qognify VMS. We have never regretted our decision to trust in Hexagon,” said Hagenmüller.

“Our investment was definitely worthwhile. The fact that the system is able to grow with the company is especially important for us. Würth grows, and the video system adapts to our needs.”

Not only is the system’s growth unabated, but Hexagon’s solution also offers numerous potential fields of application. Going beyond pure physical security, Qognify VMS License Plate Recognition and the Qognify Logistics Solution are set to be implemented in the headquarters, thereby removing strain from the Würth staff and supporting the business process with the increased use of video analytics.