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Housing your security needs.


FOR MANY BUSINESSES, security equipment represents a major investment. After making such expenditures, businesses should make sure they give security equipment the high-quality protection it deserves.

As the housing for the central control of security systems, electronic consoles have two basic functions: to house security controls in a central, secure location and to protect equipment from dust, water, temperature fluctuations, and human interference. Users should look for consoles that accomodate their needs; they should not alter their needs to fit the consoles. Willie Funk, an independent security consultant in Plano, TX, recommends visits to manufacturers. Catalogs offer useful information about products, he notes, but "there is no substitute for on-site visits and consulting with the people who will do the modifications."

Over the past decade, the design and engineering of security equipment enclosures has increasingly emphasized adaptation to the systems of which the enclosures are part. Because their manufacture is labor-intensive, custom-made enclosures can cost 25 to 30 percent more than enclosures that are simply modified to fit equipment. At the other extreme, off-the-rack enclosures fit as well as off-the-rack clothing does: they cover the controls but do not take into account the special attributes of the specific systems and environments in which they operate. That is not to say standard enclosures are obsolete--they are not, as not everyone needs a modified cabinet. However, it is useful to know that modification is available.

Modification would be helpful, for example, in an application that required a small enclosure to fit a certain space but a high rate of cooling air flow and a highly effective air filtration system. A standard enclosure would probably not meet those exact needs, and if the manufacturer would not modify an enclosure, the user would have to resort to one that is custom-made. Fortunately, as modification becomes the norm, finding someone to do it is becoming easier.

MANY SECURITY EQUIPMENT consoles today occupy highly visible places where the public sees them on a regular basis. In such locations, enclosures must look presentable and be sturdy enough to resist both tampering and the bumps of everyday human traffic. Depending on the equipment to be housed, an enclosure may also need to accommodate a keyboard, one or more cathode-ray tubes, indicator lights, and other items. The method of connection for these various pieces depends on the particular modification ordered. For convenience and safety, all wires are usually brought together in a standard space at the base of the console.

Ten years ago, a request for such a cabinet would have required custom designing. Today, most manufacturers assemble modular elements (frames, panels, doors, cooling fans, air channels, and other parts) to produce an enclosure as close as possible to the specified item, then modify the elements as necessary to reach the desired result.

Such a procedure saves money by eliminating the drawings, consultations, and prototypes that are a part of the custom-design approach. The procedure's cost-effectiveness makes an even bigger difference when an entire system is ordered.

In the electronic security system industry, the past decade has seen a great emphasis on enclosures as functioning parts of systems, an increase in the use of local controls, and greater public exposure of enclosures. Manufacturers' increased interest in functional design has resulted in better cooling capacity, special shielding when necessary, stronger cabinets, and cabinet modification options that meet customers' needs.

... Mike Gober is vice president of Cabtron Systems Inc. in Northbrook, IL. Cabtron manufactures standard, modified, and custom-designed enclosures for electronic controls and equipment in industrial security, military, and communications applications.
COPYRIGHT 1989 American Society for Industrial Security
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Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:housing for central control consoles
Author:Gober, Mike
Publication:Security Management
Date:Apr 1, 1989
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