Intrusion & Access Ring True for Toolmaker Echo

When Echo Inc. sought an integrated access control and intrusion detection solution to match the power and reliability of the tools it has become famous for, the manufacturer rekindled its relationship with a familiar security contractor. Prompted by the addition of a 127,000-square foot warehouse, the project illustrates seamless campus-wide integration.

As most business owners will attest, customer loyalty is extremely important in running a successful company. Echo Inc., a professional-grade handheld outdoor power equipment provider, understands that well. For nearly 30 years, the Lake Zurich, Ill.-based firm has offered backpack blowers, chainsaws, hedge trimmers and much more. In fact, the company’s products have become so popular that Echo needed to expand its manufacturing facilities to meet growing consumer demands.

In 1999, Echo made its first venture into expansion and developed a 156,000-square-foot distribution center. Wanting to protect its assets, the company had a basic security system installed in the facility.

“We had a very generic building security system at the time,” Echo Senior Facilities Manager Michael Hilt explains. “When we left, we turned the alarm on. When we came in, we turned it off. There was no integration to employee access; we didn’t even have an access system.”

That would change when the company built an additional 127,000-square-foot distribution center 11 years later. As a whole, Echo’s facility includes two distribution centers and company headquarters, totaling 540,000 square feet and covering more than 35 acres. And, with the purpose of storing raw materials and finished goods, the new facility required something beyond a basic security system. As a result, Echo executives decided it was time to requisition a solution featuring access control and intrusion detection capabilities.

11-Year Relationship Stays Strong

So who could rise to the challenge and install the system? Echo didn’t have to look farther than Northbrook, Ill.-based LaMarCo Systems, which installed a fire alarm system for the first distribution facility in 1999.

“When LaMarCo submitted a bid, they were able to win the job because of the amount of detail that they put in their bid package,” Hilt says. “The system drawings were very professionally done, and the quotation they gave me broke out the individual component pricing very well. They did a good job for us and we’ve been with them ever since.”

Established in 1998, LaMarCo installs access control, CCTV, fire alarms, intercoms, intrusion alarms, mass notification and video management solutions. With roughly 85 percent of LaMarCo’s business coming from commercial clients, it relies on UL-Listed central station EMERgency24 to provide customers monitoring services.

LaMarCo regularly spoke with Echo representatives and general contractors through face-to-face meetings and E-mails to determine what systems would work best for the facilities. A loyal customer to the integrator for roughly 11 years, Hilt and his team placed their full confidence in LaMarCo and allowed the installing security contractor to pick the products for the project.

“I told them what my goals were for a security and access system,” Hilt says. “The solution that they brought back was something that met our operational needs as well as our financial cost targets.”

Discriminating Intrusion Detection

Having been a Bosch Systems Certified Security Dealer for quite some time, LaMarCo Operations Manager Dzmitry Beliayeu chose the manufacturer’s intrusion detection products to protect the facility.

“Bosch is a pretty flexible product, and it’s very reliable,” Beliayeu says. “Most of the products are very robust, and we’ve almost never experienced problems with replacing them or things like that.”

To protect the perimeter, Beliayeu and his crew of four installation technicians and one programmer installed a variety of intrusion detectors, including glass-break and photoelectric beam devices throughout both buildings. Bosch’s Professional Series PIR (passive infrared) detectors were included in the mix. Featuring sensor data fusion technology, which processes data from up to five different sensors, each detector covers a 60 X 60-foot area.

“The device uses the different levels of signals to determine the size and location of a target so it can tell the difference between a person, rodent or truck. Then it can make an informed alarm decision,” says Tom Mechler, product manager for Bosch’s Intrusion Business Unit.

The detectors also use Tri-Focus optics to produce sharper images, which help distinguish intruders from false alarm sources. There are three different lenses inside the devices, which are optimized for different distances, allowing the detector to spread out as far as 60 feet.

“The focal length of the lens affects the type of signal and frequencies that are created when someone walks to the coverage pattern,” Mechler explains. “It helps the detector determine if there really is a human-sized target within the range, which helps reduce false alarms.”

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