Manufacturing plant

Industrial IP CCTV implementation driven by process control and Health and Safety delivers immediate ROI and funds further investment


The steelworks produces over 5 million tones of steel a year, and is situated on a site of 35km square employing up to 6000 people. As one of the world's most technically advanced producers of high quality steel slab, plate and strip products the steelworks wanted to introduce CCTV to monitor production processes and to ensure Health and Safety policies were being followed. Having looked at analogue, hybrid and IP based CCTV systems the steelworks selected an IP based system because it allowed them to easily integrate CCTV with their existing network while benefiting from cost-saving technologies such as PoE (Power over Ethernet), UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supplies), iSCSI recording through RAID arrays that provide a 100% fail proof redundancy and support for the latest megapixel camera resolution that is only available with IP cameras.


The advanced Cware management platform was selected as their viewing and recording system. Since Cware is based on open standards the steelworks is able to select cameras, encoders and equipment from different manufacturers to be used across the manufacturing plant allowing the most suitable equipment to be used in the most demanding environments. They also benefit from a distributed recording platform for extra resilience and integration of the latest video analytics that includes RFID technology to track materials with video referencing across the  site. 

The initial 32 camera Cware system was paired with megapixel cameras. Megapixel camera resolution is at least three times greater than an analogue CCTV camera and can cover larger scenes than non-megapixel network cameras at a given number of pixels per area.


The new CCTV solution more than paid for itself within the first few weeks. One of the steelworks customers complained that he had only received 2 of the 3 huge steel slabs that he ordered from the plant. A strategically placed megapixel camera was monitoring the loading bays where the trucks were loaded and this not only proved that 3 slabs were loaded and despatched but because the camera was a megapixel camera the steelworks could go further and zoom-in to identify each slab serial number. This proved beyond doubt that the complete order was loaded and despatched to the customer. By using CCTV to demonstrate that the order had been fulfilled the steelworks saved the cost of a replacement slab - over £60,000. In the past a replacement slab would have been sent out directly but thanks to the CCTV system those loses were saved and the system realised its potential and paid for itself within the first few weeks of implementation. The success of the Cware and megapixel camera solution has enabled the extension of the surveillance network across the site to assist with production and safety. To date over 130 cameras monitor process control and machinery through the Cware management platform. 

By using wireless technology crane operators now have access to live video to provide them with greater visibility. The extension of the Cware management platform to the cranes has also had a direct impact on train deliveries. The cranes are used to unload trains as they arrive at the steelworks. In the past the cranes were started as the trains arrived but it took over half an hour for the cranes to be ready to manoeuvrer into position. By using contact relays connected to the Cware management platform the crane operators are alerted when the trains are half an hour away so they can be ready to unload as soon as they arrive, thereby saving time and improving efficiency.

Safety is improved in other areas of the steelworks. Slag residue from steel production is moved in vast containers on metal rollers at extremely high temperatures. In order to maintain productivity the steelworks use thermal imaging cameras to monitor the performance of the rollers. The thermal cameras can see which rollers are getting hotter than others and the operators can therefore identify which rollers are more likely to break. In the past identifying which rollers would break was almost impossible. The first time the operators knew there was something wrong would be the breakdown of the production line. Since these stresses are so slight they would not normally be picked up during maintenance breaks so thermal cameras help improve the productivity saving time and money at the steelworks. 

For the steelworks the IP CCTV solution based on the Cware management platform has more than proved its worth by saving costs, improving time and ensuring machinery is performing safely. The system is also highly flexible to deal with the fluctuating and often challenging environmental conditions across the site. Cware ensures that the future requirements of the steelworks are managed professionally and can be integrated with other systems, such as intruder or access control, to deliver a thoroughly robust and unified security solution.

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