Home > Versatile Australian smart card-based access control system for high risk equipment wins global acceptance

Versatile Australian smart card-based access control system for high risk equipment wins global acceptance

article image Paul Kelly drew on a lifelong interest in developing rocket flight control systems to form a technology company with a global safety and reliability agenda

AccessPack, an innovative access control system for machinery from Western Australian company CASWA is winning the support of leading companies around the world.

Combining low cost with ease of use, CASWA’s AccessPack technology significantly reduces both OHS and business risks associated with industrial equipment. Originally designed for high risk equipment, the access control system is being installed widely on a variety of equipment across a range of industries around the world due to its simplicity and versatility.

Major existing users of AccessPack include companies such as Schlumberger, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, FMG, Weatherford, UGL, Komatsu, Hitachi, Disney, Rolls Royce and the Whiting Corporation.

AccessPack employs smart card technology to prevent unauthorised operators from using high risk or critical equipment at industrial workplaces, improving OHS outcomes by requiring users to have current and appropriate ‘tickets’ including qualifications, accreditation, training and/or inductions in order to operate the equipment.

Apart from access control, the system also maintains a user record, ensuring a culture of operator accountability and typically improving availability as authorised users instinctively take greater care of machinery. It also provides HSE staff with access to information required for effective incident investigation and proactive training needs analysis.

AccessPack is radically different from typical access control systems that only restrict perimeter access; conventional access systems cannot prevent a person from operating any individual machine once they have passed security.

Managing Director of CASWA and the technology’s developer Mr Paul Kelly explains that AccessPack is fitted to the actual device that needs to be managed, facilitating operation by only the individual persons who have been authorised to do so, and only for the period that this authorisation is valid. Machines will simply not start for anyone else.

Mr Kelly observes that controlling devices individually enables the company to introduce accountability among employees. By logging authorised use, AccessPack achieves behavioural change by merely providing the means through which people can be held accountable. This change will often stay with the operator when they use other equipment too.

AccessPack can be installed quickly and inexpensively on a wider range of equipment since it doesn't need any communications system to operate. For instance, AccessPack can be used to control access to mobile and battery powered equipment that isn't bolted down and can easily wander in and out of Wi-Fi or 3G range.

This unique feature allows AccessPack to become a universal solution for all types, makes and models of equipment. Organisations are now finally able to employ a single access control technology across their entire operation, with only one associated management system.

AccessPack is commonly used on cranes, production critical machines, hydraulic power packs, lathes, presses, CNC plant and breakout machines, as well as vehicles such as forklifts, diggers and elevated lifting platforms. The system can also replace most logbook controlled cabinets or rooms by fitting an AccessPack to an electronic safe or door.

AccessPack also offers application flexibility and scalability with no limitation on the number of units or different equipment types on a site. Installations can be a single machine on one site, a type of machine across multiple sites, or a total enterprise solution for all types of critical or hazardous equipment.

Mr Kelly adds that the AccessPack hardware is simple and hassle-free to use. Once fitted to a machine, the operator just replaces pressing a start-switch with swiping a card to start the machine. The system also prevents unqualified personnel from being pressured into using hazardous equipment by over-eager or time-stressed supervisors.

Key features of AccessPack access control systems include the ability to track maintenance or servicing schedules, keeping equipment in good working condition and ensuring operator safety; allowing equipment to be tagged out for any reason, or if mandatory maintenance intervals are not done in the required period, eliminating any risk of the equipment being operated by anyone; and simple administration with a secure web interface enabling access rights to be granted or modified using drag and drop actions.

CASWA has recently signed a license agreement with the Whiting Corporation, a major manufacturer of overhead cranes, foundry equipment and rail maintenance lifting equipment in the US, for distribution throughout North America. 

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