Smiths Metal Centres implements robust Tensor Access Control system

tensor case study

Smiths Metal Centres is one of UK’s most important stockholders and suppliers of all forms of aluminium, brass, bronze, copper and steel, as well as many other metals and plastics. The company has no less than 12 branches in all corners of the country, touts a turnover exceeding £40 million and stocks of over 3,000 tonnes, and also offers multiple supply options and processing services that can enable customers to make significant cost savings.

J. Smith & Sons (the company that became Smiths Metal Centres) was established in 1780 at a site in Clerkenwell, London, as a clock manufacturer. In time, the company refocused on material stockholding and distribution, and, back in 1991, a brand new, purpose built, head office and bulk store was opened in Biggleswade, employing around 120 members of staff.

At the same time as opening the new head office and bulk store, the name of the business was changed to Smiths Metal Centres Ltd. This completed an expansion that resulted in branches across the UK all linked to the bulk store in Biggleswade.

Given the pivotal role played by this site in Smiths Metal Centres‘ daily operations, a few years ago, the company started looking for a solid and reliable Access Control system to replace their old one, which was no longer fit for purpose.

We were looking for an Access Control system to install on our own. We wanted to eliminate installation costs and also get an in-depth knowledge of how the system worked by installing it ourselves.” Mr. Steve Durham, Operations Manager for Smiths Metal Centres, told the Tensor reporter.

Several options were considered, but Tensor was ultimately chosen, as it “delivered the optimum price/performance ratio for a self-install system”.

The Tensor solution purchased by Smiths Metal Centres includes multiple electromagnetic door locks and T8526 network A/C door controllers, as well as T1488G networked scanners. The entire system is controlled via the WinAC.NET software suite.

Using the Tensor WinAC.NET suite and Tensor’s range of readers, one can easily control most standard types of internal and external electronic, magnetic door releases and devices, making full use of location points, whether in full view or hidden out of sight, providing access even in the most adverse conditions.

The system allows administrators to set specific access rights for each door, thus attaining a very strict level of control and superior security, which were specifically Smiths Metal Centres‘ main requirements for their new Access Control system.

Unfortunately, the company’s engineering team tasked with installing the system faced a series of compatibility problems and other issues, which prompted them to call for help from Tensor. Tensor’s Operations Department engineers were dispatched on site, all of the problems were ultimately solved and the system was successfully commissioned.

The Tensor engineers were called on site in order to investigate the problems were were facing. We’re very satisfied with the quality of the engineers’ work, since they got the system up and running.” said Mr. Durham.

Mr. Steve Durham also received training on using the Tensor WinTA.NET system, and he describes the quality of the training process as “very good”. For this reason, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that, when asked by the Tensor reporter whether the system is used at its full potential, the Smiths Metal Centres Operations Manager answered “Yes, for the time being”.

In spite of the initial problems, Mr. Steve Durham is quite happy with the Tensor system’s functionality. In fact, the system’s extensive “reliability” is what Mr. Durham likes most about it, combined with its ease of use.

After getting it to work properly, the system proved to be very easy to use. We’ve had absolutely no problems with it, and the smart cards are also very easy to use as well” he told the Tensor reporter.

The Smiths Metal Centres Operations Manager is no stranger to the Tensor Help Desk, either, revealing that “Yes, we’ve called the Tensor Help Desk line a few times, and the quality of the service they delivered was very good on every occasion.”

Mr. Durham also told the Tensor reporter that they might consider extending the system should the company’s plans to move to a bigger location or extend their existing one prove to be successful.

When asked whether he would recommend Tensor to other companies, Mr. Durham’s answer was a very positive “Yes”.

He concluded by saying that “I’m happy with the system and the quality of the after-sales service. As long as the system works, everything is fine.”


Customer Information

Smiths Metal Centres Ltd

Stratton Business Park,

London Road,



SG18 8QB

Telephone: 01767 604706


Cant find what you're looking for?

Enter a search term below (e.g. "Time and Attendance") and we'll find all of our relevant content for you.

Tensor plc accreditations

Keep up to date with our latest news & developments.

Be the first to get product and software updates and other important information.