Taking security in hand

INSTALLATION of Ingersoll-Rand's biometric HandReaders has significantly strengthened security over the past three years at a major oil company's fuel storage terminal in Germany. The system ensures that only authorized petroleum transport drivers can enter the terminal.

Developed by Ingersoll-Rand's (IR) Security & Safety Group's Electronic Access Control Division (EACD), the HandReaders help the petroleum company meet an increased worldwide need for security at refineries and fuel storage depots, and at the same time satisfy a new German law requiring positive identification for anyone who transports dangerous materials.

HandReaders automatically take a three-dimensional reading of the size and shape of a hand and verify the user's identity in less than one second. Hand geometry is the most commonly used technology for access control and time and attendance, according to Frost and Sullivan's “World Biometrics Report.”

“We wanted to be able to identify truck drivers before they entered the terminal,” explains the terminal's manager. “We needed a solid system that could work outside in inclement weather, with loud engine noise and sometimes in the dark. Most biometric systems are well-suited for lab conditions, but not for harsh outdoor conditions.”

The Terminal installed HandReaders at both entrances to the fuel storage terminal at a height that allows a driver to place a hand on the reader without leaving the cab of the truck. About 1,500 drivers have been enrolled in the system and the number is growing.

“Since we put the HandReader system in place in September of 2001 we have not needed the 24-hour security guard at the terminal entrance. That has resulted in substantial savings in personnel costs,” the manager reports.

The terminal is using a HandReader solution developed by Implico, an international software development and consulting firm based in Hamburg, Germany. Implico software integrates HandKey II HandReaders with the Open Terminal Administration System (OpenTAS) used by many oil companies. OpenTAS is a proven system for the administration and automation of depots, delivery points, and refineries.

Similar HandReader systems are in use at terminals in Belgium, and demand is growing in other parts of Europe.

HandReaders handle any population volume with ease while providing impeccable reliability. With dramatically lower false reject and failure to enroll rates than other biometric technologies, the value of HandReaders grows as the number of users and/or transactions increases.

The biometric HandReaders simultaneously analyze more than 31,000 points and instantly record more than 90 separate measurements of a hand — including length, width, thickness, and surface area — to verify the identity of the person using the device. The HandReader compares this information with a “template” of the individual's hand that is already on file. Reading and verification take less than a second.

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