Youtech Case Study

Streamlining the Check-in / Check-out Process at Remote Facilities

Operators of remotely located wind and solar generating facilities spend considerable time each morning and afternoon coordinating the ingress and egress of employees and contractors working at their remote and often isolated installations which can be a serious distraction from higher priority operating responsibilities.  


Challenges

Most solar and wind generating facilities do not have HID badge-based access systems and most are unmanned requiring employees and contractors to call control room operators to announce their arrival and departure.  Because these requests take place at the beginning and of the work day, system operators who are responsible for dozens of sites spend several hours taking phone calls, making manual log entries and verifying access permission and requirements.  At the same time, system operators are responding to alarms, coordinating switching and clearance operations, coordinating generation dispatch and managing other higher-priority responsibilities.  To keep construction and operating costs low, most installations do not have automated access systems, and most are unmanned.  Authorized employees may have keys or lock combinations required to enter a site, but safety requirements soundly dictate that they announce their arrival into and out of generating facilities.  Challenges faced by operators include:


  • Manual telephone-based processes requiring operators to verify the identity and business purpose of facility visitors, verifying work orders, obtaining valid call-back information in case of an emergency, obtaining estimated times of departure and related information which can take ten or more minutes for each visitor at each site;
  • Because the process is manual and time-intensive, visitors may be delayed by having to wait for system operator to take their call;
  • Mis-recorded information, especially call back numbers can create a safety hazard and cause additional delays when visitors fail to call upon departing a site;
  • Visitors may bypass the check-in/check-out process leading to poor physical security and safety issues; and
  • Visitors who arrive at a site but forgot their key may require the dispatch of additional personnel or a delay in the completion of work.


Solution

Youtech USA’s Smart Lock technology is a system of keyless locks, digital smart keys, and management applications that streamlines the access to remote and unmanned facilities, including commercial rooftop solar generating sites, utility scale solar and wind generating sites, utility substations and related facilities. The solution consists of:


  • Electronically operated, passively powered locks including padlocks, panel-mounted locks, cabinet and enclosure locks and interior/exterior door locks; 
  • Electronic keys with RFID and Bluetooth communications;
  • Mobile application for communication with keys and back-office systems and managing and tracking workflow; and
  • Cloud or premise based back office software for managing and tracking locks, keys, user access permissions and lock operations.


When properly installed on site access gates, control rooms, and buildings the Youtech Smart Lock System can reduce the time and attention the control room operators must spend managing and tracking access to remote facilities.  The Smart Lock System’s ability to dynamically grant and revoke permissions based on business need and track and record operations allows facility owner/operators to rigorously control physical access to facilities with minimal disruption to higher priority operating responsibilities. 

 

Benefits

The Youtech Smart Lock system provides enhanced control and monitoring of physical access to remote facilities.  Owners and operators of low-impact bulk electric system facilities, including solar, wind and energy storage facilities, can greatly enhance security at a level of cost and complexity much lower than badge-based access control systems. Key benefits of the solution include:

Smart locks require no batteries and are designed to operate for a lifetime in the harshest conditions providing excellent security at low cost; 


  • A single smart key can manage thousands of smart locks greatly simplifying lock and key management;
  • Operating permissions are issued or revoked dynamically eliminating the need to replace or rekey locks when personnel and contractors change or when a key goes missing;
  • Operating permissions can be managed on individual, group, department or site basis;
  • Operations can be issued sequentially and based on the state of other locks enhancing equipment and personnel safety; 
  • All locking/unlocking actions are recorded with date and time stamp providing a robust audit trail;
  • Record of physical location of locks and their status (e.g. locked or unlocked) is constantly maintained; and
  • Record of all personnel, business role, permissions, permission history and date and time stamped history of device operation is constantly maintained.


For a fraction of the cost of a typical HID badge system, and the same robustness of a lock-and-key system, entities using the Smart Lock technology can reap the following security and compliance benefits:


  • Reduced demand for system operator time to coordinate site ingress and egress through automated validation of work authorization, activation of permission to electronically unlock and lock access gates, doors, control panels and disconnect devices
  • Real-time electronic provisioning and revoking of access rights on an individual or group basis
  • Automated logging and audit trail creation


For more information contact:

Youtech US Inc (916) 293-3283  youtech@youtechus.com


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