Thomas Steel Strip Corp., based in Warren, OH, specializes in the production of cold-rolled, hot-rolled, direct-rolled, electroplated, nickel, nickel-zinc, copper, and brass-plated steel strips. All of the company’s products are available with a variety of surface finishings and coatings, in low carbon steel grades 1002 through 1012 and high strength low alloy. The capability to provide this high-strength, low alloy steel substrate with all plating options has contributed to the company’s success over time.
Thomas Steel has provided nickel, copper, zinc-nickel, and brass-plated steel strip to major global original equipment manufacturers in the automotive, electrical components, battery manufacturing, electronics, architectural trim, hand tool, lighting, and consumer products sectors for decades. The company is a U.S.-based entity of Tata Steel, which produces premium flat steel products and has operations in 26 countries, with commercial offices in more than 35 countries.
Smart Digital was approached by Thomas Steel to create a proactive solution that would allow them to control the flow of traffic in and out of their manufacturing facility in Warren, OH. The company also wanted a system that would track employee activity on-site; record the arrival and departure of all employees, vendors, and sub-contractors; and monitor the use of the facility’s weigh scale by delivery trucks. Another concern that the company wanted to address was access control. However, they required that any gate we installed would open and close quickly.
According to company logs, car and truck traffic to and from the facility is heavy at all hours of the day. In fact, at least 60 trucks arrive with deliveries each hour. The challenge this presented is one of safety – the company wanted truck drivers to be aware of their speed and to decrease it as necessary. Additionally, Thomas Steel informed us that even though they do have a live guard at the main entry point, the guard was not free to monitor each vehicle that arrived on-site or to manage the records for weighted vehicles.
After reviewing this information, we knew that the biggest challenge of this project would be the integration of multiple devices. There would be a lot of moving parts, and we would have to work around the truck scales while ensuring that they remained operational during the installation phase. We also had to allow for the traffic in and out of the facility during the time we were on-site. Lastly, we knew it would be challenging to select and manage sub-contractors with the right set of skills and experience to complete the project efficiently and professionally.
In order to accommodate the desired features and meet Thomas Steel’s safety needs, we made the decision to install a swing gate with quick entry and exit capabilities. Not only was this a cheaper solution, but it was easier to automate, included more safety features, and could be installed more quickly than other options that were available to us. The gate included a keypad, RFID reader, and gate arm with breakaway kits to limit property damage. This installation also included a safety loop, which stops the gate if it hits a person or car, as well as a phot-eye sensor that uses a laser to detect any human or vehicular movement and stops the gate if movement is detected. The gate installation also included 11 six-inch bollards to stop heavy vehicle traffic, as well as bollards that were painted safety yellow to notify drivers that they should decrease their speed. After excavating hundreds of tons of concrete for conduits to carry power to the installation, we were able to add four high-voltage barrier arms and RFID readers.
The project took six weeks to complete. The timeline is as follows:
- Smart Digital was approached by Thomas Steel for a project quote.
- Smart Digital conducted a site survey at the Thomas Steel facility.
- A proposal for barrier gates was presented to the company.
- Smart Digital provided a customized solution for automated methods of entry that went beyond basic keypad entry.
- Smart Digital provided a selection of cloud software for RFID management/cell gate management. (Including True Cloud and Cell Gate, as well as Doorking account management software.)
- Installers began the process by digging trenches for underground wiring. After excavating through three feet of concrete and working around the truck scales, the installers were ready to place the conduit.
- Installed conduit and raceways for low- and high-voltage runs. The low-voltage conduit supplies the RFID readers, while the high-voltage conduit controls the four gate arms.
- The installation crew filled new concrete with rebar and backfilled all trenches, and ran the wire through underground raceways.
- All operators, bollards, and other equipment were installed.
- Crews then tested the movement of all gates and safety features, as well as the manual pull station.
- As a final step, Smart Digital installers provided training on inputting RFID tags, using the cloud software, and creating the directory on the keypad for times when a live guard is not available.
After the installation process was complete, employees were given an RFID badge to hand in their car, which allowed them to enter and exit the facility at will. All vendors and sub-contractors will be provided with a QR or temporary keyed entry code that will allow them access to the facility while they are working on-site.
After this gate installation had been completed, Thomas Steel reported that security at the facility had been improved without any increase in the time it took for employees or sub-contractors to enter and exit the parking area. They were also pleased that the automated security measures created more free time for their live guards and that these safety features provided a cost-effective solution that prompted drivers to slow down when entering and exiting the parking area.