Johnson Tiles Case Study

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The Company

Johnson Tiles is the UK’s leading manufacturer of ceramic tiles and boasts over 100 years’ experience in delivering distinctive new products for both the contract and retail markets internationally.

Johnson Tiles has an in-house design team and UK-based production facilities. Its tiles have been used on all manner of projects, including housing, schools, universities, hotels, hospitals, industrial developments and the leisure industry.

Johnson Tiles offers the widest choice of ‘on trend’ products, backed up by industry leading logistics and service.


As an existing customer of TouchStar, Johnson Tiles decided that an upgrade to its access control solution was required.

The legacy system had been developed for Windows XP, but Johnson Tiles wanted to be able to run their system on a virtual server. Johnson Tiles required a future-proof, modern system was that would work with the latest operating systems.

Johnson Tiles uses access control at all entrances to control admission to offices, factories and IT rooms. Each access point requires specific permissions before unlocking.


As part of the upgrade, TouchStar installed new RX4 Proximity readers. The ELITE series RX4 mullion style reader is suitable for surface mounting to most plain wall finishes and is quick and easy to install. It is designed for the most demanding access control applications.

The RX4 is capable of reading standard Clock/Data, Weigand and Mifare. The reader features an RGB LED with which allows each door to be set with a colour coded access level. The unit is moulded using tough PC/ABS plastic, and includes an innovative shadow-line backplate making the reader appear to float against the wall.

TouchStar also installed its Evolution Door Controllers. These universal door controllers are housed in metal cases with integral PSU and battery back-ups as standard. The controllers also benefit from re-designed PCBs, utilising a faster processor and the ability to control all previous standard media types without hardware options, configuration or part number derivatives.

This means that the controller no longer needs to be ordered for specific barcode, magnetic stripe or proximity applications as it can be used for all purposes.

Microtrak Evolution Software, a modular based access control system designed to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes, was also installed. Microtrak Evolution puts the power of control in the hands of the user with clear, simple to use screens that provide an intuitive understanding of the application.

The system is designed around the IP addressable Door Controller, which plugs directly to a clients existing TCP/IP network. The Evolution software communicates with the controller via a LAN or WAN. This method of door connectivity provides a modular and competitively priced solution not only for small sites but large multi-site systems.

TouchStar continually invests in this solution to ensure that it work with all new operating systems, thereby efficiently future-proofing the system.

As well as installing new readers, TouchStar was able to use all of Johnson Tiles’ existing readers as they were a known format. TouchStar also reutilised all existing cabling and migrated Johnson Tiles’ existing support package to new hardware.

TouchStar is able to make it extremely easy for legacy customers to upgrade, and also cost effective, as access points can be upgraded in turn so that the whole system does not need to be taken down while upgrades are taking place.


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”.

Results and Benefits

The new system has been a success, running smoothly on Johnson Tiles’ virtual server and achieving their main goal as well as minimising any associated downtime.

Steve Truman, Johnson Tiles IT Support Manager, commented: “The upgrade was smooth and there were no gaps in security during the upgrade process. The solution is now running well and doing exactly the job we wanted it to do.”