CENTURION Mini Product Catalogue

Wednesday 7 December 2016

The A to Z of Centurion Systems

A is for Anne Dickens

MD Pat Dickens’ loving wife and one of the true pillars of CENTURION, Anne studied English and art but soon found herself drawn into the exciting world of access automation. Back in those early days, Anne did everything from making lunch for the then-small team to doing stock-taking, and through her relentless vigour and passion for getting things done directly contributed to the company’s success.

B is for bollards

Following the recent acquisition of CENTURION by Italian manufacturer FAAC S.pa, we are now a proud stockist of the FAAC range of highly robust and reliable bollards for residential, commercial and industrial vehicular access control.

C is for convenience

What can be more convenient than having your gate open for you at the press of a button? No more straining your back pushing open heavy gates, or getting out of the car in the pouring rain and ruining those brand new sneakers.

D is for D-Series

Intelligent, feature-rich and user-friendly, the D-Series range of gate operators – which includes the legendary D5-Evo slider – ushered in a new era in gate automation. With a futuristic LCD interface and advanced diagnostics, the D5-Evo is in a league of its own.

E is for efficiency

CENTURION gate operators have been designed to be supremely light on juice, and won’t run you up a huge electricity bill, even with heavy use.

F is for FAAC

As of July, CENTURION is officially part of the FAAC group of companies. FAAC is the largest manufacturer of access automation equipment in the world.

G is for GSM

CENTURION’s ever-expanding range of GSM products enables you to control – and monitor – a variety of electrical appliances from just about everywhere via your mobile phone. Open your gate, switch on an alarm and even answer your intercom from wherever you are.

H is for H-bridge

The controllers used in our newer gate operators include H-bridge motor drive circuits for the ultimate in motor control.

I is for innovation

Copyright: yarruta / 123RF Stock Photo
Compelling innovation is at the core of every product that we design, which is why a number of CENTURION products boast world-first technologies.

J is for Johan Lessing

Johan is CENTURION’s national branch manager and a veritable fount of knowledge when it comes to all things CENTURION. Johan started out in the technical department, but his legendary people skills, combined with his encyclopaedic technical and product knowledge, made him the logical choice for this role.

K is for keyless access control

The SMARTGUARD range of keypads – including the completely wireless SMARTGUARDair – deliver smart, keyless access control and can store up to 10 000 unique access codes.

L is for legacy

With a storied history spanning three decades, and with the humblest of beginnings, CENTURION has grown into a global access automation empire with nine fully-fledged branches and an exports market that currently services over 70 countries worldwide.

M is for marketing

Copyright: rawpixel / 123RF Stock Photo
We are very blessed to have a powerful in-house marketing team that includes talented designers, communication specialists, a Sharepoint developer and even a skilled researcher. With these powerful resources at our disposal, we are able to provide our clients – both internal and external – with truly world-class marketing collateral.

N is for Nick Dickens

It has been said that behind every great company is a great financial director, and we definitely have Nick to thank for the company not only surviving, but thriving, for the past three decades. Nick is CENTURION’ financial director, an accomplished touch rugby player, and all-round great guy.

O is for overcome

Over the course of the past few decades, South Africa has been battered by recession after recession and economic crisis after economic crisis, and yet CENTURION has managed to stay afloat and consistently grow despite these challenges. Tenacity seems to be ingrained in CENTURION’s DNA.

P is for Pat Dickens

Who else? Dickens patriarch, CENTURION founding father, talented engineer and one of the humblest people you’ll ever meet, Pat has been at the helm for the past 30 years. His vision, his dream, currently provides employment to some 400 individuals and peace of mind to countless home- and business-owners.

Q is for quality

The one thing we never, ever compromise on. CENTURION is accredited with the ISO quality assurance certification.

R is for Richard Rohman and Rob Dickens

Richard is CENTURION’s marketing and sales director. An energetic, passionate and immensely driven individual, Richard is one of the two founders of CENTURION, along with his brother-in-law Pat. An engineer by trade, Richard helped develop some of CENTURION’s very first electronic controllers.

Robert, the eldest of the three Dickens boys, is the company’s R & D director and also an engineer.

Known for his razor-sharp wit and supernatural technical abilities, Rob leads his team with remarkable aplomb.

S is for support

And world-class support, at that. The CENTURION technical call centre operates six days a week and offers competent technical support in multiple languages.

T is for Ian Tingle and Tim Dickens

Or Mr. T, as he is affectionately known around the office. Ian is another CENTURION founding father, and currently heads up the production team. Not only is he a fully-qualified engineer, he is also a passionate cycling enthusiast and, like the other directors, just a fantastic human being.

Tim is the youngest of the Dickens boys, and yet he brings a wealth of talent and experience to the table. Holding two engineering degrees, Tim is currently a network engineer in the company’s IT department.

U is for user-friendly

We design our products with our clients in mind, incorporating features such as LCD screens, setup wizards and removable terminals.

V is for V-Series

CENTURION’s range of strong and stylish swing gate operators. For the discerning homeowner.

X is for XTrac

Our quiet and reliable garage door motor for tip-up and sectional doors.

Y is for You...and YouTube
Copyright: studiostoks / 123RF Stock Photo

The most important person in our business, and the reason we do what we do and are where we are. Thank you.

And did you know that we have an active YouTube channel? You can find some truly excellent product tutorials on our YouTube channel, such as these ones created by Bronwyn Gore.

Z is for zeitgeist*

CENTURION is always firmly in tune with the spirit of the times, developing solutions that meet the market's current security requirements.

Z can also be for "ZoZo", which is the name of a company that manufactures garden sheds much like the one CENTURION had its start in some 30 years ago!

Monday 5 December 2016

Gate Safety Tips for an Accident-free Festive Season

The holidays are fast approaching and, if you have kids, your life’s soundtrack for the next couple of weeks will be the sound of cartoons being played at full volume intermingled with woops of sheer, unadulterated joy at whatever hilarious hijinks is currently being played out on the TV screen. There might also be the occasional howl of pain as you step on a toy, but that’s just par for the course.

Yes, the holiday season is a joyful time, and you certainly wouldn’t want it marred by an accident that could have been avoided, especially now that the pitter patter of little feet fills the house…

…which is why we’ve put together this list of crucial gate safety tips to help you keep kids, pets and vehicles out of harm’s way.

Safety beams
CENTURION Photon infrared safety beams with a wireless transmitter

When it comes to automated gate safety, the installation of gate safety beams is a non-negotiable. They’re inexpensive, easy to install and could potentially save you or a loved one from serious injury. CENTURION even manufactures wireless beams which greatly simplify installation and reduce installation costs

Safety beams consist of two modules – a receiver and a transmitter – that “talk” to each other via a modulated infrared beam. As long as the receiver can “see” the beam, it knows that the gate’s area of travel is clear and it can give the all-clear to the gate motor that it is safe to move. But when the beam is broken – for example by someone standing in the path of the gate – there’s a break in the circuit and the gate won’t move. The beam acts as sort of a crossing guard, telling the gate when it is safe to move, and when it needs to remain stationary.

Check your gate’s collision sensitivity and adjust it if necessary

If chick flicks have taught us anything, it’s that being sensitive is a good thing, and nowhere is this truer than in the case of gate automation. While many users are tempted to set their motor’s sensitivity to minimum to compensate for some deviation in the rack or rail (for example a missing tooth or poor welding), this is merely treating the symptom and not the cause and may, in fact, make the installation more dangerous.

Courtesy lights
Copyright: squirrel77 / 123RF Stock Photo

This is especially important if you have a pedestrian gate setup that necessitates the person putting his or her hand through the gate in order to activate a key-switch. The courtesy light interfaces directly with the gate motor and will provide a warning flash sequence (called a pre-delay) prior to moving the gate, giving the user enough time to remove their hand and move clear of the gate. 

Slow things down

One of the great things about CENTURION gate motors is that the opening and closing speeds can be individually adjusted according to your personal requirements and preferences, so you can have the gate opening super-fast but with a more tempered closing. This is generally preferably where kids are involved, but do take note that this may compromise the security of the installation. We recommend enabling PIRAC mode, so that the gate closes immediately once the safety beams have been cleared.

Give your gate the edge
A P34 passive sensitive edge

No, we’re not talking about that guy from U2, we’re talking about the foam buffer that can be bolted to the leading edge of your gate in order to make it more sensitive to collisions. The sensitive edge is a passive component, so no additional wiring is necessary.

Dispose of packaging material properly

If you happen to find a gate motor in your stocking this festive season, avoid leaving packing materials such as plastic and polystyrene lying around where children will be tempted to ingest it.

Secure all easily-accessed gate motor controls
Fact: kids are inherently inquisitive and will want to play with anything that looks remotely stimulating, and that includes remote controls. Be careful not to let your key fob out of your site when little ones are around and, if you have a keypad or other access device at the actual gate, be sure to mount it high enough so that kids can’t reach it and inadvertently activate the gate. 

2016 in Review

2016: what a year. What. A. Year.

Last month, the eyes of the world were firmly fixed on the U.S. presidential elections as former first lady Hillary Clinton fought tooth and nail to become the nation’s first female president, but was ultimately defeated – in what can only be described as a bizarre twist worthy of an M. Night Shamalayan film – by real estate mogul turned controversial politician Donald Trump.

Critics of the “the Donald” reeled with shock and disbelief, while his many proponents rallied in support of the outcome, which has once again come under close scrutiny.

2016 will also be remembered as the year that we lost a number of greats from the worlds of screen and stage, including genre-defying transcendental musician David Bowie and British actor Alan Rickman, perhaps most famous for portraying the character of Severus Snape in the popular Harry Potter series of films. If, like me, you enjoy the Brits' particular brand of caustic and unsentimental humour, you will be particularly saddened by the loss of Andrew Sachs, who played Manual alongside John Cleese in the absolutely brilliant but sadly short-lived Fawlty Towers.
The late, great David Bowie By Photographer: Photobra|Adam BielawskiDerivative work: Y2kcrazyjoker4 - David-Bowie_Chicago_2002-08-08_photoby_Adam-Bielawski.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

But there was also good news aplenty to be had in the Year of the Monkey. Most notably, for Team CENTURION, at least, the high-profile acquisition of the company by global access automation powerhouse FAAC S.pa, whose far-reaching influence and significant resources promise to be beneficial for employees and clients alike. 

The NOVA remote has been updated with a stylish carbon look
From a product perspective, our focus in 2016 was on improving and enhancing our existing offering, especially from the point of view of making life easier for CENTURION installers by streamlining the installation process. The highly successful 5x Better campaign saw us take to the road to showcase the myriad improvements made to, among other products, the NOVA remote control and the RDO roll-up garage door motor.

Finally, 2016 saw CENTURION celebrate 30 years of providing peace of mind through industry-leading access automation solutions. From the humblest of beginnings, the company has grown to a global empire with 10 fully-fledged branches (including two beyond our borders), a vast global footprint spanning more than 70 countries, and a staff complement of just shy of 400 dedicated, talented and exceptionally passionate employees. Three decades have passed since CENTURION MD Pat Dickens toiled tirelessly in a modest wooden shed determined to bring his vision to life, and the fruits of his past and present labours could not be sweeter; the shadow cast by his enterprise so immense that competitors have no choice but to reside in it.

It is your continued loyalty and support that have enabled us to not only survive, but thrive, for the past thirty years, and for that we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Here’s to the next 30 years and beyond.

Have a safe and secure festive season. 

Friday 2 December 2016

7 Essential Security Tips when Traveling Abroad

Copyright: efired / 123RF Stock Photo
Having recently returned from honeymoon in the oft-overlooked but not-to-be-missed South-east Asian gem of Vietnam, I am more conscious than ever of the importance of keeping one’s wits about you when travelling abroad. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the newness and novelty of one’s surroundings to the extent that one becomes an easy target for criminals and, before you know it, you’re not only a stranger in a strange land, but a victim in a country the language, geography and customs of which might be totally alien to you. Not a good position to be in.

Despite still bearing the scars of its embattled past in the form of widespread poverty and squalor, Vietnam feels remarkably safe and is home to some of the friendliest people I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting. Even walking around at night, and with the possible exception of some opportunistic hucksters and shoe shiners willing to charge exorbitant prices for their labours, one never really feels in any sort of immediate danger. That being said, we were able to avoid the majority of the pitfalls associated with international travel since we had done a fair bit of reading up prior to boarding a plane bound for the Orient.

But the world can be a dangerous place, which is why your friends here at CENTURION have compiled a list of security tips for you to keep in mind when travelling abroad. Safe travels!

1. Don’t let your passport out of your site

Copyright: kagenmi / 123RF Stock Photo
Before we left for Vietnam, my mother-in-law joked that we should even go for a swim with our passports if it came to that; that’s how important that little green (or black, or blue, or maroon) document is, and considering that, without it, and to paraphrase the title of a famous holiday movie, you won’t be home for Christmas. If you are unable to carry your travel documents with you at all times, then hear from your hotel whether it has a safe available where you can store them for safekeeping. It’s also a good idea to make electronic copies of all your travel documents.

2. Avoid seedy-looking areas

While the most spectacular areas do tend to also be the most remote and secluded, if you know that you are travelling to a country with a high incidence of crime, it’s generally best to avoid spots where you are likely to be a target by virtue of there being no one around to help you. Also, if movies like Hostel have taught us anything, it’s that dark alleyways full of guys playing poker (or some local variant thereof) and smoking cigars are best avoided.

3. Invest in a lock

Designed by Freepik
This one saved us a lot of anxiety on our trip. If, like us, you intend on taking a backpack along with you as you explore (we kept water, a map and our mobiles in ours), then investing in a padlock with a settable passcode will help keep your valuables secure. Many cities in the developing world are plagued by pickpockets – many of whom are quite skilled at their trade – and you don’t want your trip ruined by having your stuff stolen.

4. Don’t make it easy for them

Copyright: antonioguillem / 123RF Stock Photo
Again, if you plan on taking valuables such as cameras and cellphones out with you, make sure that they can’t easily be snatched by thieves on foot or, more commonly, on bikes or scooters that can be used for an easy getaway. Keep your valuables in a backpack that can be strapped to your shoulders (don’t keep the straps around your head or neck – this can be injurious to your health should someone try to snatch it away) and avoid taking out your cellphone in large crowds where it is bound to draw attention and awaken temptation.

5. Beware of scammers

There are many individuals out there who would be more than happy to relieve you of all that troublesome cash you’re carrying around. Whether charging you insane prices for an unsolicited shoeshine or trying to extort money from you for some obviously fictitious wrongdoing, scammers are everywhere and they are surprisingly successful. If someone tries to sell you something you really don’t want or need, stand your ground without being confrontational. They are extremely persistent at first, even slightly threatening, but they let off once you have made it clear that you are not interested.

6. Cash is not always king

Swipe your card whenever and wherever possible. Most hotels accept the major credit and debit cards, and carrying large amounts of cash with you is just asking for trouble that could have stayed. However, markets and roadside stalls generally are equipped for cash-only transactions. Ensure that, if you do carry cash with you, it’s kept securely in your (locked) backpack. It’s a good idea to keep your cash and credit cards separate so that, should either go missing, you have a backup.

7. Have your luggage wrapped

This service costs around R70 at the airport, and will not only help protect your luggage against damage, but will reduce the likelihood of it being tampered with (for example to transport illicit substances) or stolen from.

Bonus “stay healthy” travel tips:

Always drink bottled water, and use bottled water to brush your teeth
Ask for drinks with no ice (ice is typically made using tap water)
Find out in advance what vaccinations you’ll need, and make sure that you get them!
Only eat fruits and vegetables that you’ve peeled yourself
When buying from roadside stalls, patronise the stalls that are busy as they tend to have a higher turnaround of ingredients
Make sure that you take malaria prophylaxis when travelling to affected areas, and use mosquito-repellent. It’s also wise to wear clothing that covers your arms and legs
Do not pet stray animals as there’s a possibility that they’re carrying rabies
Be sure to stay well-hydrated (I speak from experience having endured Vietnam’s legendary humidity)
If you plan on eating meat, make sure that it’s properly cooked and preferably hot
If you are taking prescription medication, carry some in your cabin luggage. In the words of the kindly nurse who administered my travel vaccines, “it’ll do no good to man or beast if you end up in one country and your meds in another!”. Also, customs officers may ask you to produce the prescription, so be sure to take a copy with you