Stopping The Losses
Video surveillance provides solution for Romania’s largest refinery
- By Mark S. Wilson
- Sep 01, 2011
The vital role oil refineries play in the world’s economy has put hydrocarbon and petrochemical facilities atop terrorist lists of potential targets. Additionally, refinery officials typically want to keep a critical eye on each strategic component within their facilities. If something isn’t working properly, staff members want to be able to note it immediately, as a shutdown can be extremely expensive. If such a malfunction threatens safety concerns, refinery staff members want to be able to pinpoint its location immediately for first responders.
This was the thought process at Romania’s largest refinery when staff realized they did not have a good view of what was going on at the site. Officials knew they needed direct images of the operating installation, so they decided to create a new video surveillance system covering the refinery’s huge area, which contained multiple facilities. Providing high-performance video in such a large area proved difficult, especially with all the electrical interference found in an industrial site such as a refinery.
As a result, the refinery’s security team called Global Security System SA in Bucharest to integrate the system, and the integrator brought in Infinova to assist. Overcoming the electrical interference was the first order of business.
“With fiber optics, the refinery has no problems with electromagnetic interference, radio frequency interference, cross-talk or ground loops,” said Liviu Vladulescu, the integrator’s technical director. “The refinery does not need to worry about short circuits, sparks or fire hazards with fiber. In addition, the large signalcarrying capacity of optical fibers makes it possible to provide not only many more signals, but also more sophisticated signals than could ever be handled by a comparable amount of copper wire.”
Fiber also provides another advantage for the refinery’s large area: It loses far less data in transmission over large distances than copper cable does. Attenuation, or transmission loss, is the reduction in intensity of the light beam or signal as it travels through a transmission medium. Attenuation in fiber optics is far less than the equivalent loss in copper cables, enabling long-haul fiber connections with repeater distances of 43 to 93 miles. Thus, the integrators were confident that fiber optics could handle the large amount of digital information the refinery’s cameras would be sending across vast distances securely and without interference.
The refinery also needed efficient, flexible, easy operation so that multiple people would be able to view the facility’s activity. After discussing these needs, the team selected an Infinova V2010 video matrix switcher system that allows 10 refinery security operations staff members to view 10 monitors while each are operating a keyboard. This switcher can provide automated electronic surveillance or allow a single user to control an entire CCTV system of up to 32 video inputs by eight video outputs. In the automated environment, refinery surveillance system administrators can pre-define up to 64 system tours, 64 salvos, 35 event timers, five alarm display modes and three alarm clearance modes to be performed separately on individual monitors. The V2010 series communicates with controllers or PCs via either RS-232 data or TCP/IP protocols. GUI software further simplifies system operation through an onscreen system keyboard.
Users can be defined at different levels of administration to further enhance the system’s security. To ensure reliability, the system is used by refinery operators but administered by the integrator.
Cameras Need to be Durable and Mounted High
The marine atmosphere surrounding the refinery may be inviting to summertime tourists, but it certainly is not friendly to electronic equipment such as cameras. On top of that, the refinery needed to mount cameras onto 120-foot-high poles so they could cover an area of 150 square feet. Thus, the cameras had to have a rugged construction, and they had to be IP66-certified, a standard classification for ingress protection. The first six in “IP66” denotes that no wiring touches any part of the camera that it could create a dangerous situation, and that the camera is sealed against dust. The second six indicates that the camera is sealed against water, a pressing need at this refinery.
The refinery needed cameras to perform many functions, the most important of which was providing enhanced clarity, color and detail in a range of lighting conditions. They also needed to be able to zoom in and out of areas under surveillance. To accomplish these functions, the refinery chose Infinova’s V1740 outdoor in-ceiling and bracketmounted PTZ domes and V1750 outdoor bracket-mounted pressurized PTZ domes. Digital Signal Processing technology helped provide consistent, clear images from these day/night cameras capable of delivering usable images even in challenging low-light conditions.
To provide images that show what is actually happening, the dome’s digital slow shutter allows a long exposure time of one-half of a second, providing a higher sensitivity and minimum illumination of only 0.03 lux (color, 1/2 s). The PTZ dome captures and stores color data, allowing a user to see things that are typically not visible when using a standard color video camera.
To achieve scalability for now and the future, the dome’s internal multiprotocol receiver makes the cameras compatible with control site equipment, such as keyboards and matrix switchers, and with equipment from third-party manufacturers. The domes feature built-in memory to store camera and dome settings, including labels, presets, patterns and zones, and these settings are automatically downloaded if a new dome drive is installed.
To ensure consistent coverage of the refinery, the camera’s variable speed capabilities range from a smooth, fast pan motion of 240 degrees—200 degrees for 35X and 36X—per second to a low speed of 0.5 degree per second. The system can rotate 360 degrees and has an auto-flip feature that allows the camera to rotate 180 degrees and reposition itself for uninterrupted viewing of any subject that passes directly beneath the PTZ dome, a prime dead spot for many cameras.
To ensure that the cameras continue to operate and send images, the integrator opted to use pressurized PTZ dome cameras that also feature a nitrogen-pressurized stainless steel rim for maximum protection against airborne contaminants and moisture. Special valves minimize loss of pressure. Solid-state sensors in the housing relay important system information, such as internal temperature and pressure readings, back to the control center. Non-volatile memory in the housing enables automatic downloads of camera presets and other data in the event that the camera and drive module must be replaced.
Working with Experienced Organizations
Is a Plus Once the integrator selected the cameras, the next challenge was mounting them on a 40-foot pole. Fiber optics again provided the solution. Cameras are connected to the fiber transmitter, and data signals travel through the fiber cable to the fiber receiver. They are then routed through the control room matrix switcher and into the DVR for storage.
Vladulesco also noted that technical support was critical, and working with a company that had the expertise his organization would need with local pre-sale and post-sale engineering support and improved their performance at the refinery.
“We have many other projects planned, including putting in video systems at the company’s retail outlets,” he said.
This article originally appeared in the September 2011 issue of Security Today.