AxonX lightens the load at laundry facility

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

EDISON, N.J.--Enormous washers, boilers and hot irons are needed for the 110,000 pounds of laundry that are washed, dried and folded every day here at Marriott Textile Services, an industrial laundry facility serving Marriott hotels.
These pieces of equipment are also potential sources of fire, and that's one reason executives decided to try out axonX's SigniFire, a video-based fire, smoke and intrusion detection system.
To get that volume of laundry in and out every day, "It's a very streamlined process," said Andy Lynch, technical services manager for axonX. A fire would likely disrupt service at the hotels, he said.
For this pilot project, details of which were announced in June, axonX worked with Johnson Controls to install eight cameras that overlook "high-risk areas," including a folding area where there are several heaters, and a boiling room. Video images of any detected threat are available to multiple PCs through use of the unrestricted SpyderGuard monitoring software that is part of the SigniFire installation, Lynch said. Lynch did training at the facility and also has remote visual access to the project from axonX's offices in Sparks, Md.
Lynch quickly discovered some tanks that vented steam that looked like smoke to a video camera. The first thing he did was check with Marriott to ensure that the tanks were supposed to be venting steam, which they were. "And that's when we use our engineering judgment," he said. Where the steam vented, he created a small zone where he removed the smoke (but not the fire) algorithm, thus reducing false alarms. Lynch noted that if, for example, he knew that the venting took place at a certain time he could program the smoke algorithm to shut down within that time frame.
"Everything is tweaked and fine-tuned to our situation and we are fully functional at this point," said Jim Morris, general manager for Marriott Textile Services. Morris said he likes the system because "it's cutting edge technology that can give you an early warning ... in effect it gives you a head start that there's something that might become a fire." Signifire's CCTV cameras are equipped with analytics on a DVR platform to detect smoke, fire and motion. The system's motion detection has a security application in that it can detect unauthorized access to the facility.