Date icon14 January 2021

British Sugar is the sole processor of the UK’s beet sugar crop, they work in partnership with around 3,000 growers and their customers to deliver a world-class product that is made to the highest standards.  

Operating across four advanced manufacturing plants, British Sugar have become the leading producer of sugar for the British and Irish food and beverage markets. Access control has played a key role in effectively managing the health and safety, security and people within each of these sites.

Requirement  

The main use of access control at British Sugar is to manage entry around the perimeter of their manufacturing plants. Additional controls are used to restrict access to potentially hazardous areas and additionally provide auditable traceability around sensitive food processing areas.  

British Sugar rely heavily on their systems to enable their manufacturing operations to operate both efficiently and safely. With their current legacy system now unsupportable, British Sugar were struggling to implement any system changes or updates. As a group, the decision was made to upgrade their access control system across all four of their manufacturing sites.

The decision to upgrade with TouchStar ATC was based on an existing relationship which had spanned over a decade. Clive Gray, Technical Transformation Analyst at British Sugar comments, “We were operating on TouchStar’s MicroTrak IP+ system which was over 10 years old. As a solution, it had more than proved itself, however it was now a legacy system that was essentially unsupported, so we knew we had to upgrade. We know TouchStar install quality systems, so it made sense to start talking to them about how we could move on to a future proof system that would allow us full support on the latest windows operating platform”.

Implementation

With all four manufacturing sites producing up to 1.4 million tonnes of sugar, 365 days a year, both TouchStar and British Sugar were looking to ensure a smooth rollout of the proposed system upgrade. As the long-term incumbent supplier to British Sugar, TouchStar had experience of not only the legacy system, but also each of the manufacturing sites to be upgraded. Lynden Jones, Managing Director of TouchStar ATC continues, “We were delighted to have had the opportunity to work alongside British Sugar on the upgrade project. We worked closely with both Clive and the British Sugar IT Team, specifying the system requirements, confirming both the site layouts, and wiring structure so we could plan for a staged upgrade with minimal disruption”.

Solution

The new system was successfully installed across the sites in Bury St. Edmunds, Cantley, Newark and Wissington . As part of the upgrade, new proximity card readers were installed, replacing the existing magnetic swipe technology. During the phased rollout, TouchStar provided a card upgrade plan that enabled British Sugar to utilise one card that uniquely worked on both the legacy system and new system, thus allowing for a more efficient rollout of the new processes.

TouchStar’s own Evolution Software, a modular based access control system provided the upgraded interface. TouchStar designed the new system to fit around the existing cabling structure thus avoiding the additional project costs associated with a full site rewire. Utilising a backward compatible controller solution, British Sugar were also able to utilise the existing cabling type to provide a much wider point to point networked area than that of a traditional networked solution.  

Results and Benefits

Since the installation, British Sugar are now looking to migrate their Head Office from the off the shelf type system onto the new TouchStar solution. Additional entrances, such as their delivery points are being reviewed with respect to potential reader upgrades and enhancements including integration of emergency roll calls into their security and mustering system are also being considered.

Clive continues, “What was important to us was ensuring a smooth rollout, particularly as the upgrade did partially coincide with our busiest time of year. TouchStar worked closely with us throughout the whole upgrade process, helping ensure a successful rollout with minimum disruption. Not only that, they have upgraded us to a great system, which is what we have come to know them for. We are thrilled with the potential the system now offers us for additional enhancements and look forward to working TouchStar on future upgrade projects”.