CENTURION Mini Product Catalogue

Monday 23 July 2012

Unlocking the Future with CENTURION Biometric Readers

Swiss surrealist artist H.R. Giger is perhaps best-known as the mastermind behind the set design for science fiction films like Alien and Prometheus; his trademark style can best be described as “biomechanical”, representing the interconnected relationship between man and machine.

While Mr Giger perhaps paints rather a bleak picture of this relationship, depicting it as cold and even dangerous, there is something very positive about marrying biology and technology, namely its benefits to security.
This is most evident in the division of access control known as biometrics, being the identification of humans by their characteristics or traits.  Biometric authentication has (quite literally, in some instances) opened many doors for those within the security industry by  providing arguably the only means of controlling access that cannot be copied, cloned or circumvented in any way.  It does this by using the human body itself as access tag.

One major benefit of incorporating biometrics, and fingerprint authentication in particular, into your security infrastructure is that the access device (being the finger) cannot be misplaced or stolen as is often the case with loose tags.  Authentication occurs by placing a finger onto a small glass “window” on the reader, which then scans it and matches it to the records stored in memory, granting access based on whether or not a record is found.
CENTURION is an authorised distributor of the award-winning Virdi range of biometric readers.  Virdi uses state-of-the-art fingerprint recognition and RFID technology to provide an access control system boasting superior functionality as well as dependability.

CENTURION Biometric Reader
The Virdi AC4000 Fingerprint Authentication Reader

The Virdi range’s strength lies in its use of patented fake finger detection technology, a powerful system that measures the electrostatic capacitance differential between real and fake fingers, while also employing an infrared beam and sophisticated software algorithm for added reliability.
Some of the advanced features you can look forward to with the Virdi range are:

·         Live and Fake Finger Detection
A patented three tiered approach incorporating IR scanning technology with the ability to identify the material the fingerprint is made of (chemical composition) such as silicon, rubber, paper, gel, etc.  A capacitive sensor is built into the optical scanner and an intelligent algorithm is used to measure and compare image distortion.

·         Patented Search Algorithm
Incredibly fast and accurate template matching algorithm will compare a 1:1 match in less than half a second, and a 1:N match for 1000 users in less than 1 second.

·         Number of Enrolled Fingers Set by User
Each user can load between 1 and 5 fingerprints on the biometric terminal.  The database can accommodate the enrolment of up to 10 fingers and can be set to check that similar fingers do not exist in the database thereby eliminating “ghost employees”.

·         Registration and Authentication Levels Set by User
Each user can be enrolled and thereafter verified using custom registration and verification levels which have been individually configured to match the conditions of their fingers and the security needs of the organisation.

·         Transaction Options Set by User
Each user can have their transaction methods individually assigned; i.e. finger only, pin and finger, card or finger, card and finger, template on a card, etc.  There are over 10 combinations.

·         Push technology
In order to minimise network traffic and provide real-time update of transactions, the devices will “push” their transactions to the server as they occur.  While templates are being sent to the Virdi devices, users can continue to transact.

·         Optical Sensor (Patented)
The optical sensor has a patent on the angle of the prism which gives the optimal level of distortion for image capture.  This means that the biometric image scanned on a Virdi Optical Sensor has a higher image quality than competitive products; furthermore the surface of the sensor is hardened and coated which makes it resistant to wear and tear including use in harsh environments.  This has been field proven in a multitude of installation in Africa where some of the harshest environments exit and where abuse of technology is rife.

·         Interfaces
The Virdi Biometric Terminals are intelligent and available with a multitude of communication and interface ports.  As standard they have TCP/IP for template and data management, Wiegand 26 and 34 bit In and Out ports to connect third party RFID readers or connect to access control controllers, onboard relays with normally-open/normally-closed terminals and motorised lock control, door status monitor, alarm panel I/F and RS232/485 ports.

·         Applications
The Virdi Biometric Terminals can either operate as standalone or networked/server managed devices and incorporate the functionality required for Time and Access management and Canteen Control.  Alternatively, they can simply emulate a card reader for interfaces to legacy systems.

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Automated Gate Safety

In an era not too long ago, siblings were engaged in fiery arguments in the backseat – arguments that bordered on full-on combat – about a very important issue of the day:  Who was going to open the gate when they arrived home?  The hapless father would grip the steering wheel tighter, his knuckles whitening around it and beads of perspiration already forming on his forehead in anticipation of the skirmish that would no-doubt erupt when they eventually pulled up to the driveway.

Gate automation changed all that.  Nowadays, opening your entrance gate is as simple as pressing a button on a remote - and brothers and sisters once again live in harmony.  Modern access control has put at our disposal a world of convenience, an exciting universe where everything around us can be set in motion at the press of a button.  We are firmly in control of our surroundings.
However, as with any automated system, safety is paramount when it comes to automating your entrance gate.  As a leading South African manufacturer of gate automation and access control equipment, it is our distinct privilege to be able to share some guidelines for a safe installation.     

1.       Endstops
Many modern gate operators make use of a current spike to stop the gate in the correct opening and closing positions.  In other words, when the operator is commencing the limit setup procedure, encountering an obstruction will induce a current spike which tells the controller that this is where it must henceforth stop the gate.  If no mechanical endstops are installed, no spike will be read and the gate will just keep on running and could potentially come off its rail – with disastrous consequences.

Endstops should be fitted in both the opening and closing positions, should be constructed from a robust material such as steel, and must remain fixed even when considerable force is applied to them.  It is therefore advisable to weld them in place.

2.       Guide-rollers
Guide-rollers are at least as important as endstops, as these devices are what quite literally keep your gate on the straight and narrow.  Without guide-rollers, your gate would wobble drunkenly from side to side and eventually come crashing down like a felled animal.  It doesn’t take a giant stretch of the imagination to envisage the damage to property or injury to person that would result from such an incident.

3.       Electrical Safety
Always have a qualified electrician attend to any high-voltage (higher than 50V) electrical needs that may arise from installing a gate operator.  Depending on where you live, you may also be required to fit an isolator within arm’s reach of the operator.

Take care not to short out battery terminals, and ensure that all electrical equipment is sufficiently earthed, as this will help prevent damage to the devices as well as electrical shock.

4.       Sensitivity Settings
Any gate motor worth its salt will have adjustable sensitivity settings.  While it is at times desirable to have a lower setting to compensate for environmental changes such as wind loading (applies more to swing gates) or variations in the track, it is important to remember that the lower the setting, the harder it will be to stop the gate.

5.       Prevent Unauthorised Access
Kids (and some adults) are curious.  That is a simple fact of life.  But curiosity can quickly turn to tragedy if proper care isn’t exercised when it comes to securing gate motor controls.  Ensure that only authorised adults have access to the controls.  Operator covers should at all times be locked in place and the keys kept in a safe location. 

6.       Keep the Area of Travel Clear!
This is arguably the most important guideline of all. 

No matter how cautious one purports to be, no matter how vigilant, accidents do happen.  Therefore the best course of action is, before attempting to operate an automated gate, to first ensure that no children or pets are in the vicinity.  A Courtesy Light can also be installed to provide visual indication prior to and during gate travel.

Monday 2 July 2012

The Industrial (Automation) Revolution

It has often been said that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.  Similarly, a business is only as strong as the security with which it protects its assets.  Nowhere is this truer than in the industrial milieu, an arena in which warehouses and factories house the very lifeblood of the undertaking and can, without the proper security measures, rapidly become a company’s Achilles Heel.

Time for a brief history lesson – you might want to take notes as there’s a test afterwards (just kidding!).
CENTURION first entered the industrial arena back in 2003 (although we were producing light-industrial solutions in 1990 already!) with the introduction of our ultra-strong A10 AC slider, a mains-powered beast capable of automating gates weighing up to two tons.  This innovation firmly cemented our place as The Automatic Choice not only for domestic sites, but also for applications requiring a little more muscle.

Then, in 2009, we released the D10 slider, again changing the face of access control.  Most of you will by now be familiar with the D-Series platform and the incredible convenience associated with it; the D10 took industrial automation to a whole new level by combining a monstrous push force of 30kgf with the intelligent and undeniably user-friendly controller that is the basis of the D-Series platform.
Now, you might be wondering what on earth the abovementioned operators have to do with securing distribution warehouses.  Well, nothing as such, but they do serve as a nice little introduction for the beast, the behemoth, the titan that is...the RSO.

CENTURION RSO industrial roller shutter operator
The CENTURION RSO:  The power lifter of industrial automation

Cue the dramatic music!
What is the RSO?, you ask, your interest suitably piqued.  Well, put quite simply, the RSO is the power lifter of industrial automation.  It is a powerful and robust roller shutter operator providing all the muscle you need to automate extremely heavy roller shutters.
Three models are available, each with their own unique way of showing weighty doors who’s boss.

The RSO5R provides basic, cost-effective automation for doors weighing up to 500kg.  This relay-driven operator (the ‘R’ in its name stands for ‘relay’, in case you were wondering) includes a 5m hand chain for convenient manual operation as well as a three-button wall pendant.
Next up is the RSO5 – a 500kg operator that also includes a multi-faceted interface board that can be used for the connection of safety beams, access control keypads, pillar lights, proximity tag readers, etc.  This is the perfect marriage of power and intelligence.  The RSO5 also employs a unique double-disc brake system to ensure that the shutter stops safely and reliably every time.

Last, but definitely not least, we have the RSO9.  Adjectives like ‘powerful’, ‘brawny’ and ‘robust’ don’t really do this colossus justice, seeing as it is able to lift extremely heavy roller shutters weighing up to 900kg without even breaking a sweat.  It is ideal for automating the entrances to airplane hangars, loading bays and the like.  Ladies and gentlemen, this thing is a beast.
Right.  Pencils out.  It’s time for that test...