U.S. Surgical
U.S. Surgical

Mar 1, 2000 12:00 PM
Carol Carey

In the seven years he has been a security professional at U.S. Surgical Corp., Joseph Negro, supervisor of employee services/security, has never had to face one common problem: convincing upper management to invest in an up-to-date security program.

"The company has always been committed to a proactive approach to security that included state-of-the-art security systems," says Negro. The North Haven, Conn.-based medical products manufacturer has long been aware of the importance of protecting its patients, facilities and employees from industrial espionage as well as from more routine security breaches, he says.

"About four years ago, our company and one other were the only facilities in the United States which produced equipment for laparoscopic, or minimal invasive surgery, so protecting our procedures, methods and patents was a high priority," says Negro. U.S. Surgical is the world's largest maker of wound closure products and a leading manufacturer of laparoscopic products.

Security upgrades add control In the past year, U.S. Surgical, now a division of the Tyco Healthcare Group, has upgraded its access control software, remote terminal units, workstations, PCs, and alarm receiving equipment. The company has also installed a Max-1000 CCTV Management System, manufactured by Maxpro Systems, a division of Ultrak.

As a result of the upgrades, Negro and his in-house staff of 12 security officers have better control over both security systems and employees. This is no small accomplishment, considering the company occupies six buildings on a 1.2-million-square-foot campus employing approximately 2,500. The complex also includes a five-level, 1,400-car outdoor garage. Some manufacturing is done in each building, and there is also a warehouse at the site. In addition, Negro's staff is responsible for security at a nearby 5,000-square-foot distribution center.

The Maxpro system is a video switcher and peripheral equipment controller. Negro explains that it allows security to route camera pictures to a variety of locations, including remote sites, different workstations, monitors, recording equipment, and a video printer that takes still images.

Through its keyboards and graphics platforms, the Maxpro system provides access to any VCR, video printer or other interfaced device.

"VCR management is one of the big advantages of the Max-1000," says Chris Chandler, an owner of Chandler Security, Norwalk, Conn., the integrator who installed the Maxpro and other security systems at U.S. Surgical. "Security personnel can review tapes without getting up. You can control the VCRs from the workstation or console."

A MultiVision multiplexer allows security personnel to view different camera points on split screens. "We also have two complete recording systems," says Negro. There is a 24-hour VCR which records all camera points. Real-time images can be recorded on an eight-hour tape. An Ultrak VCR is used for the eight-hour format and a Panasonic for the time-lapse, 24-hour format.

A vast, 25,000-foot underground fiber-optic network is used to transmit signals for video and other security systems, such as access control. International Fiber Systems Inc. manufactures the fiber-optic transmitting and receiving equipment. "We have some copper but not much. The fiber cable is more resilient and foolproof," says Negro. Installation of the network has been done in-house and also by Chandler Security. The transmitters and receivers were upgraded several years ago.

More than 20 Sanyo and Sony black-and-white and color cameras, most 11/43-inch chip, fixed and pan/tilt/zoom, cover perimeter and interior locations. Housings are Pelco, as are pan/tilt/zoom units. Monitors, manufactured by Pelco and Mitsubishi, range from 14-inch to 35-inch.

Speed of tracking enhances security Negro says the high-speed cameras assist in tracking individuals and situations. "High-speed cameras allow us to get images quicker, making it possible to track people or cars through various camera points. If we are looking at an entrance to a facility, we might want to track a particular person or vehicle from the point of entry to the terminating point. We have been able to spot cars that have entered the property that did not belong here, as well as individuals we have reason to be suspicious of."

The excellent tracking capabilities of the camera system have also enabled security to monitor employee safety. "During the summer, people walk around the campus frequently. All of our security personnel are either EMTs or MRTs, and our cameras enable us to spot someone who might be in trouble medically," says Negro.

Similarly, the upgraded access control system has facilitated reporting and tracking of employees and vehicles.

"If we can't man a certain station, we can still track a person through the system. Reporting is easier, and we have a tighter-knit facility as a result. We can control who we issue cards to and who we don't give them to. Alarm problems, as well, are easier to track. With our previous identification system, we had some people exchanging each other's badges."

The company currently uses both an access control system by Monitor Dynamics Inc. (MDI), and a retrofitted Cardkey system. The access control system is extensive, with several hundred card readers reporting to MDI remote terminal units (RTUs), which control up to eight readers each. The RTUs report to the main file server installed in a PC in the security center. The PC, in turn, is connected to numerous workstations either through copper or fiber and, in some cases, both. Card readers are manufactured by Cardkey, now part of Johnson Controls, as are the cards.

The access control system is used for access to parking garages, as well as for access into the buildings. Visitors must report to specific facilities which have reception areas. A senior receptionist verifies the visitor's access and arranges for an escort. Regular vendors are often issued badges to allow them access to certain areas.

The alarm system is integrated with the access control systems, and the company monitors its remote sites through its own receiving equipment. "We use Ademco receivers, provided by ADI; and we use Napco alarm panels," says Negro. "If an alarm goes off, it is transmitted by direct wire or other means to the control center. Once the alarm is received, we put cameras on the remote sites before calling the police."

The Napco alarm panels control specific alarm points. Most panels control 32 to 96 alarm points (with expansion).

The receiving equipment consists of a panel that fits onto a rack with a digital print-out display. The panel can be connected to a printer for a hard copy of the display. "We receive signals from sites 15 to 20 miles away, transmitted by a dedicated phone line and cellular technology. Most of the equipment has built-in modems," says Negro. The system is also able to monitor a plant in Puerto Rico.

The upgraded systems have added considerably to the efficiency of Negro's staff and department. From the security control room, an officer can sit at a console which holds a semi-circle of more than 20 monitors, access camera points on different monitors, and switch images to a printer, remote PC or other device immediately. He can also view camera points on a split screen.

In addition, the extensive fiber-optic network enables security officers to obtain clear signals for access control readers as well as video equipment. The overall impact is that Negro and his staff are able to manage security in a manner that maximizes accuracy, speed and ease of use.

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