Date icon07 November 2019


The Company  

Founded in 1972, Persimmon is one of the UK's most successful house builders, committed to the highest standards of design, construction and service.  

The group is made up of a network of 31 regional operating businesses, offering nationwide coverage.  

With brick availability subject to change and many builders turning to Europe for their bricks, Persimmon became the first UK volume house-builder to build its own brick factory in 2017, with construction of a rooftile factory following shortly afterwards.  

Persimmon’s 1,900m2 facility at Harworth, South Yorkshire, can turn out 80 million bricks a year.  

Now the brick factory is fully operational it has the capacity to provide around 60% of Persimmons current total requirement for bricks, the tile factory once operational will provide 100% of the total requirement for roof tiles.

Challenges  

As part of the new brick and tile manufacturing project, Persimmon initially required a rugged mobile solution to provide truck mounted devices for the vehicles used on site.  

The rugged devices would need to use information from Persimmon’s Microsoft Dynamics ERP to ascertain what stock to pick for collections or where to put stock from production.  

To enable the trucks to travel the entire site and stay updated, a Wi-Fi solution would also be required, and this naturally progressed into CCTV requirements to monitor the site and map out the location and infrastructure for both.

Persimmon’s site has cutting edge automation requiring little or no human intervention for collections or deliveries and with up to 80 vehicle movements per day running 24/7, so the CCTV requirements were to cover all areas at all times.    

Solutions  

TouchStar ATC installed a full CCTV solution with public address horns to cover the new brick factory, which is in the process of being expanded to also cover the tile factory.  

This included the installation of thermal cameras on columns around the site in order to create a ‘thermal curtain’ around the area. An additional three pan, tilt, zoom (PTZ)cameras from the BOSCH IP5000 range allow further investigation and identification of any entrant to the site that breaks through the initial ‘curtain’  

The expansion of the site simply involves opening the thermal curtain and adding more camera columns to expand its reach.  

The entire system can be monitored from one point of control backed up by TouchStar technology.  

Meanwhile, TouchStar Rugged Mobile Computers, a sister company to TouchStar ATC introduced the TS7000 (truck-mounted) rugged hardware and Wi-Fi infrastructure.  

This offered a number of advantages for users on the site, such as backlit wipe-clean keyboards that allow for gloved usage, high resolution screens and various data entry options.  

TouchStar also pre-configured the devices before usage and installed the vehicle-mounted devices.  

Following thorough analysis of the site to determine the number of access points required for optimal Wi-Fi coverage across the site, TouchStar installed 10 internal points and four external with all necessary cabling and testing taken care of. TouchStar also advised on the type of antennae required to ensure full connectivity and installed wireless controllers.  

Tom Chidler, IT Project Manager at Persimmon, adds:” The implementation was very successful, we had spent time mapping out the exact requirements and getting the infrastructure in place so that TouchStar could come along and install the systems with little or no disruption or downtime. Once installed we did have a small issue with networking which was soon resolved by TouchStar we then linked all the equipment together and everything fired up straight away. We ran a number of tests during our test phase and everything passed as required.”  

Results and benefits  

The benefits to Persimmon staff using the vehicles on a daily basis are significant, as they have no need for any paper-based information as everything is displayed on screen in the cab and managers are able to see output from production in real time.  

Persimmon can also track, review and playback all of the CCTV footage instantly and provide any related footage as required, providing peace of mind across the new site and also helping to prevent theft.  

The single system solution has proven to be easy to use and ensures that managers have an overview of the entire site. This helps with the protection of staff working in the area and visitor safety.  

The solutions met the scope for the project that Persimmon had set, with everything working as needed with zero downtime on the Wi-Fi infrastructure in over two years of operation - one of the key objectives promised by TouchStar.  

Persimmon is now working on new notification systems and has started work on the tile factory phase of the project. TouchStar has continued to provide guidance to help Persimmon define the requirements.  

Tom Chidler concludes: “We felt that TouchStar was a stable and reliable partner based in the UK with a wide range of technical knowledge and experience in the fields that the project required, the people we had dealt instilled confidence that TouchStar could meet our requirements. We would also look to TouchStar on other projects where we could utilise their service.  

“Since we went live TouchStar has always been there to assist with any questions or changes we have had to the systems we have put in place. We look forward to working closely with TouchStar on future projects we have in the pipeline.”