Monitoring Service Option: ActiveWatch

ActiveWatch is a service we offer here at Pixel Security.  For a very reasonable monthly fee, ActiveWatch specializes in “real-time” video surveillance for both commercial and residential applications.  This means from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am, and 24/7 on weekends and holidays, there are eyes on your cameras, monitoring your property.

We recently set up a new camera system with ActiveWatch in NE Portland near the Lloyd Center.  Four days (FOUR DAYS!) after we completed the install, two individuals attempted to break in to the building, ActiveWatch was triggered, and police came to the scene, arresting the two individuals.  While this may be an outlier situation, these customers were very glad to have opted for this monitoring service.

Contact us at Pixel Security for additional info.

Pixel is Growing!

Pixel Security, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is in the market for LEA Journeyman Electricians with licenses in Oregon and Washington.  If you (or someone you know) fits this criteria, and would like a dynamic and interesting place to work with an outstanding benefits package, give us a call at 503-608-7595, or email your resume to today!

2018 has arrived!

2018 has brought new changes to Pixel Security.  We have completed a much overdue website refresh, we have brought back Rachelle, our business manager, after a few months’ hiatus, and we are growing!

We have had a wonderful 2017, and we thank all our loyal customers for making our year a resounding success.  We look forward to all the new opportunities and challenges that 2018 will no doubt bring with it.  We hope you are off to a great year as well!

Featured Project – Schnitzer Steel Mega Shredder (Portland)

In the summer of 2007 Schnitzer Steel Portland began running a massive metal shredder on their site.  Monitoring this highly destructive machine was important to production; however, this was a very dangerous task.  Electronic surveillance was the best solution to ensure employees would not be injured by flying debris.  When the mega shredder was being constructed, a competitor was contracted to install a series of cameras to help shredder operators see into the machine while it was running.  Operators would also need to see employees working around the machine’s many belts and magnets to prevent any injuries from taking place.

Issues began only weeks after the shredder’s initial startup.  Crewmen would need to regularly stop production to clear or repair cameras that were subject to constant bombardment.  When it rained, the cameras were blinded by thick plumes of steam generated by the extreme heat in the shredder, and managers were unhappy with the lack of remote playback and live viewing available from this system.

Pixel was chosen to quickly reengineer the video monitoring system due to previous success installing the yard’s surveillance system.  The first order of business was getting the cameras linked to the Pixel DVR that was installed to monitor the cameras in the yard.  Fiber optics had been installed between the server room and shredder building when the shredder was raised.  We used a 16-channel fiber optic video transmission module to transfer signals through this connection.  The DVR was upgraded with 16 additional channels to give the recording capacity needed to view and play back the shredder’s cameras.  Managers now had access to all 16 cameras currently installed at the shredder.  Utilizing a KVM switch we previously installed, playback and monitoring of this system was now available at their desks.

New stainless stell housings were selected for the cameras closest to the shredder.  These housings provided resistance to the corrosive elements in the air and also had the strength to repel the shrapnel constantly flying about.  In order to reduce the need for repeated cleaning during operation, these housings were equipped with wipers and fluid sprayers.  By simply pushing a button, the face of the camera enclosure could be wiped clean.  Fluid was fed to the enclosures through a custom-built filtration and pumping circuit designed and installed by Pixel.

Of all the cameras installed, none was more impressive than the PTZ mounted high atop the shredder’s control cab.  This stainless steel camera and motor assembly gave the same environmental protection the other cameras offered. The added bonus with this camera was the ability to see everything taking place around the shredder.  The same wiper and washer setup was included with this housing.  Controls for the PTZ and wiper/washers were placed at the operator’s chair.  Here we installed a touch screen keyboard that used a 16-channel multiplexer to view different cameras individually, or in split-screen configuration.

The last problem of seeing through steam created by the shredder was solved with the use of infrared cameras.  Two cameras were installed at opposing locations to allow viewing without restriction.  The first infrared camera was custom mounted directly on the shredder shoot and looked into the mouth of the feed roller.  The second camera was mounted on a movable service arm on a wall in front of the feed shoot.  The two angles provided operators with live views of the shredder’s shoot preventing costly shredder jams.

Completion of this system has given Schnitzer Steel a reliable method of monitoring shredder operations.  Man power is no longer wasted maintaining cameras allowing more attention to be given to keeping the shredder running.  Finally, managers were seeing what the operators were seeing, helping to increase productivity and ensuring safe work practices took place.  Schnitzer Steel has been happily using this system for several months now.  All of the problems experienced before the upgrade have been solved thanks to Pixel engineering and installation expertise.

Featured Project – Schnitzer Steel (Portland)

Schnitzer Steel’s Portland branch brought similar complications as their Tacoma operation.  Once again, dirty air, hazardous materials, outdoor elements, and wiring distances brought the need for application of specific products.  Managers were looking to increase monitoring of ground operations as well as protecting equipment and assets located around the recycling yard.  With cameras and a DVR already in place, Pixel  Security sought to replace damaged cameras and their outdated video recorder.  Additional cameras were also installed to give a wider range of viewing capabilities to the Schnitzer managers.

The first of many upgrades began with the replacement of their outdated and inefficient video recorder.  A Pixel 16-channel digital video recording server was put in place to manage camera operations.  The new DVR produced better playback abilities, easier control of pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras, and simpler software navigation.  KVM extenders were installed with the DVR to give multiple managers simultaneous access to the video feeds at all hours.

Installation of a PTZ camera in the maintenance and storage area monitored activity below.  This ensured all safety regulations were kept and supplies in storage would be distributed properly.    Two additional PTZs replaced failed cameras on the upper corners of the main factory warehouse.  The scanning and zooming functions of these cameras expanded the surveillance area once limited by old fixed cameras.  All wiring and connections were sealed in junction boxes to prevent wear and damage from hazardous conditions.

Another PTZ camera and a fixed box camera needed to be mounted on a pole near the front security entrance.  The fixed camera would identify incoming traffic at the security checkpoint.  The PTZ would monitor the nearby railway receiving area and Schnitzer’s main electrical substation.  Distance and difficulty in wire installation brought the need for a wireless solution.  Both cameras utilized wireless transmitters to send their data back to the DVR via receivers mounted on the main factory warehouse.  Wireless systems save time and money when range and terrain create difficult wiring conditions.

Schnitzer Portland is now pleased to have a zero-maintenance surveillance system that’s easy to use.  Increases in functionality of the DVR and cameras have given managers the monitoring they desired.  Low cost wireless solutions have saved money and headaches that conventional technology would have created.  Overall, Schnitzer Steel Portland was a success that boasts Pixel’s quality of product and experience of install in any location.

Featured Project – Schnitzer Steel (Burbank)

Schnitzer Steel recently opened a new recycling facility in the city of Burbank, Washington.  Here scrap metal will be collected and shipped to Portland for processing.  It was decided that a camera system would be the best way to supervise the processes taking place in the yard.  Pixel was contracted to design and install a system to suit their needs.

The environment that these cameras would be subjected to influenced our design greatly.  These cameras would need to be able to see a large area with as few cameras as possible.  Mega-pixel IP cameras were chosen due to their high detail and large resolution.

The first of the two cameras monitored their scale and office building.  It was installed in a sealed outdoor housing that could withstand the elements while maintaining a clean appearance.  The second of the two IP cameras was installed inside the maintenance shop.  This one camera gives managers full view of the interior of this building with great detail.

The rest of the scrap yard was monitored by a pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) camera.  This camera gave the user the ability to see any part of the grounds surrounding it.  Once an object of interest was spotted, the user could zoom in on that location to gain greater detail from the image.  This camera was placed on the network through the use of a video server installed in an outdoor enclosure near the PTZ.

Using existing network infrastructure, a server was installed to  manage the camera recording.  This server also provided a user-friendly interface to access live view and video playback.  They also utilized more advanced features such as customizable screen partitioning, instant playback, and the digital PTZ functions.  The server and its software give managers a simple and efficient method of viewing their camera system./

Once completed,  managers could do the jobs of several supervisors from the comfort of their office.  No incident will go unnoticed, increasing safety awareness and reducing liability on site.  Schnitzer Steel can now rest assured that all processes taking place at this new location will be performed safely and efficiently.

Featured Project – Lloyd Center Mall

The Lloyd Center is a large shopping mall in the heart of Portland’s Hollywood district.   This facility is home to more than 110 video security cameras that monitor all of the mall’s operations.  The video monitoring system here is a very important tool to the security staff.  The cameras and staff using them help stop shop lifters and car thieves.  They make sure there are employees at the service desk and that the floors are clear and safe for the many shoppers.  In other words, these cameras are used nonstop all day, every day, as is the footage they record.

Originally the security staff would have to search through an archive of VCR tapes to export the needed clips.  This system grew obsolete over the years and it became apparent that a system capable of allowing instant access to video clips would be required.  Improving the video quality of these clips was an additional goal they hoped to achieve.

A competing manufacturer’s DVR was selected to replace their VCRs and they had two installed into their system.  These servers were installed poorly and lacked the quality of video the security staff had hoped for.  It wasn’t long until the DVR itself failed and the Lloyd Center managers were once again looking for a recording solution that would offer more reliability than the system just installed.

Pixel was contacted and soon installed two 16-channel digital video recording servers to replace the failed servers and test for functionality with their system of cameras.  These DVRs gave the Lloyd Center the reliability and ease of use they were searching for with the first DVR.  A server rack was installed in a neighboring room and the two DVRs found their permanent home there.  Three more 16-channel DVR servers and two 24-channel DVR servers were combined with the two current DVRs to make a total of 128 recordable video channels.  The wiring was also changed to utilize the current matrix video system’s looping outputs to feed the DVRs.  This created simplicity and increased video quality.

In addition to the servers, a central management workstation was installed.  This allowed security staff to export video clips and burn them to CD or DVD at a moment’s notice.  An advanced KVM switch and extender was installed to allow easy management of the DVR servers.  Two uninterruptable power supplies were installed to ensure the DVRs never stopped recording.

The finishing of the system gave Lloyd Center security staff the ability to search and export quality video clips on the fly.  They were also able to eliminate their archiving of VCR tapes.  All these improvements have helped increase safety and efficiency on the floors of the Lloyd Center Mall.