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Choosing the correct components.

Choosing the components for a security central station can involve considerable money and thought. For a system to be complete, however, an equal amount of time should be spent designing the enclosures that house the components, since these structures integrate the system.

When reviewing console design alternatives, a number of factors affect not only the cost but also the flexibility, strength, and efficiency of the system. For example, custom-designed and custom-manufactured consoles are rarely necessary. Modular frame designs allow maximum flexibility in the configuration of nonstructural console components and can be reconfigured easily as needs change.

Many modular enclosures are available at low cost. Using standard frame designs, panels, hardware, and accessories, modular system provide a variety of configurations that can be created from a few components.

Even with modular systems, however, space needs to be provided in the original console design for future equipment needs. More than the cost of downtime and labor can be saved by planning for future expansion.

Ideally, enclosures should be designed so the frame bears all the weight. Panels, doors, drawers,a nd other cosmetic aspects of th consoles should be nonstructural. If side panels are load bearing, the structure is weakened when the panels are removed during equipment installation or servicing. Consoles where only the frame itself is load bearing are safer, more stable, and more durable.

How the weight is distributed is also important in selecting frames. Concentrating all equipment in one or two adjacent sections of the console should be avoided to prevent straining the load-bearing capacity of the console base and the floor. Distributing the equipment as evenly as possible reduces this strain and assists in dissipating the heat generated by the equipment.

The material most commonly used for electronic enclosures is steel. Stainless steel or aluminum are good choices for applications in highly corrosive environments, but most security enclosures of finished steel will last a long time.

Strength and durability are functions of frame quality, design, and workmanship. Heavier gauge metal may imply a stronger, more durable system, but now the metal is formed and assembled is as important as its thickness.

Vertical channels, for example, should be welded to the top and bottom assemblies, with gusseting to support each corner. This configuration not only provides strength but also gives added protection against shock and vibration.

When determining how much weight a console frame can bear, the gauge of the material used is less important than the overall design. In an attempt to cut costs, thicker gauge steel may sometimes be substituted for design considerations that contribute to frame integrity, such as corner supports and frame-bonding techniques.

Frames may be bolted or welded. Bolting allows the frame to be disassembled and moved easily, but welding creates a stronger unit. Modular welded frames also can be separated to facilitate adding to or moving an existing console. Welded frames can also be less expensive when assembly time is considered.

Plastic is more expensive to fabricate than steel. Metal also dissipates equipment heat better and offers added equipment protection should a fire occur.

Panels between connected frames are not necessary unless a shield against electrical interference or security between sections is needed. Frames can be joined so that interiors are open to permit interwiring and equipment mounting.

Panel tops and bottoms are available in solid, perforated, or louvered construction. Cutouts in panels provide additional ventilation and a means to mount cable hardware. They also provide additional entry points to internally mounted equipment for easier maintenance and service.

Microprocessor-based equipment generates considerable heat, as do products with video screens. When sharing a console, the combined heat generated can adversely affect the performance of the individual components.

As a result, cooling is a major consideration in console design. Doors and panels are available with vents, but to depend only on natural convection patterns to adequately cool equipment is a gamble.

Typically, air-cooling devices available for enclosed systems are impeller blowers, centrifugal blowers, and fans. Impeller blowers are generally used for densely packaged consoles where maximum cooling is needed. Compared to other options, they move greater quantities of air through the system at a lower velocity, providing maximum cooling at low noise levels. Centrifugal blowers are generally used to pressurize an enclosure, cooling a specific area.

Fans are used for spot cooling or to pull heated air of the enclosure to supplement natural; convection cooling. They are particularly useful in systems with limited internal space.

The amount of available floor space ultimately determines the size of the system enclosure. Depending on the supplier, however, console modules of similar interior dimensions can have significantly different exterior dimensions. Such factors as the support structure design and how the panels are fitted to the frame affect the amount of interior space. The interior dimensions should not only provide enough space for the necessary equipment but also allow easy access for servicing or replacing components.

Ergonomic considerations should not be minimized when considering console design. In most security applications, the primary consideration is the placement of video monitors. Natural sight lines are from eye level to 30[degrees] below eye level.

Placing monitors within this range allows for natural head movement and minimized neck strain. In most security applications, however, monitors must also be placed before eye level - preferably at a 15 [degrees] angle to minimize glare and eyestrain.

For an effective, efficient station, accessories should not be afterthoughts. Storage areas should also not be considered as places where equipment can be installed in the future. By anticipating future needs, room for growth can be planned into the design without disturbing work areas.

As with any project, particularly when ergonomic considerations are involved, including console designers early in the process can help same time and money while ensuring the result is built to exact needs.
COPYRIGHT 1992 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:security central stations
Author:Tsipris, Boris
Publication:Security Management
Date:May 1, 1992
Previous Article:Sound advice for safe storage.
Next Article:On the lookout for suspicious signals.

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