Worshipful Company of Gunmakers selects secure Tensor Access Control system for the Proof House


Worshipful Company of Gunmakers selects secure Tensor Access Control system for the Proof House

The Worshipful Company of Gunmakers was established in 1637 by charter of Charles I to promote and to regulate gunmaking, a role it still fills today. In fact, the Gunmakers are one of the few City of London Livery Companies who still carry out the work for which they were founded.

Under the Gun Barrel Proof Act, proof is required for all guns sold in the United Kingdom, and for guns that have undergone structural modifications to their barrels. All the proofing procedures (specific safety examinations) are carried out within the confines of the Proof House compound, established back in 1675 and still standing to this day. The Proof House is manned by around 12 full-time employees.

The Gunmakers proof (i.e. examine for safety) in excess of 12,000 guns per year of all types, from heavy machine guns and other military weapons down to .410 shotguns, coming from many different manufacturers, both British and foreign. They also have a legal responsibility to certify deactivated firearms, and can provide forensic assistance when a firearm fires prematurely or bursts.

The Proof House, in conjunction with the Birmingham Proof House, manufacture the more powerful ammunition needed for proofing guns, and they are today equipped with the most modern machinery to provide an effective service.

Due to the specific nature of the activity being carried out within the Proof House, the premises have always been fitted with high-security access systems, which, however, were growing rather old and becoming a hassle for staff members.

Mr. Richard Mabbitt, the Worshipful Company of Gunmakers Proof Master, recalls that, back in mid-2011, the Proof House Committee started considering the implementation of a system that would help employees save time during their daily duties.

“We wanted to get a system that would make it faster and easier for employees to access the premises in a very secure manner. We have a lot of trucks loading and unloading on the premises, and secure access is paramount for the Proof House.

“Also, we have regular visitors, and we wanted to be able to issue each of them with access keys, and the smart cards are quite likely the most cost-effective solution.”

After considering Tensor’s proposal for the system, the Committee decided to accept it, and the installation was carried out during mid-2013.

The Tensor system installed at the Proof House features secure electromagnetic locks mounted on all access doors, as well as multiple smart card readers and T8526 Intelligent IP Access Controller, all of which can be easily set up and and controlled via the proprietary Tensor WinAC.NET application.

The T8526 controls up to 8 smart card readers (four doors), featuring no less than 16 inputs for door or anti-tamper sensors, push buttons or alarm inputs, as well as 8 outputs for door locks or alarms. Plus, if an inhibitor alarm is activated, all doors are locked until deactivation. However, designated cardholders with special permissions can gain access during an inhibitor alarm lock-down.

Proving once more its extensive functionality level, the T8526 Intelligent IP Door Controller can actually be used to arm an intruder alarm. Entry of a PIN combination by a designated cardholder at an arming reader will lock all access points and arm the intruder alarm system. On intruder alarm activation, access is inhibited to everyone apart from designated cardholders.

Additionally, given the fact that the Worshipful Company of Gunmakers deals with a large number of visitors, they’ve also opted for installing the Badge Designer module within the WinTA.NET suite.

Badge Designer allows users to have a graphical interface to design any number of badge templates to produce ID badges. Badges can have printing both on the front and reverse sides of the badge.

The badges created using the bespoke Tensor application may include static text (such as headings, labels and explanatory text), some of which can be sourced from the system database, for example a person’s name and employee number.

Other items that can be easily added to the badge include Static Barcodes (where the same barcoded information is printed on each badge) or Dynamic Barcodes (where person specific information, such as their employee code, in printed on each badge), as well as static or dynamic images.

Since Mr. Mabbitt, as Proof Master, is in charge of running the Proof House, he was trained on using the system. “All I needed basically was a brief overview of the software application, and that was fully provided. The training process was fine”.

The Proof Master believes that they’re currently using the Tensor system at its full potential (“It fulfilled the original purpose”), but he also mentioned that “We’re looking to expand it, to link it in with our fire alarms”.

When asked by the Tensor reporter what he likes most about the system, Mr. Mabbitt’s answer was “Its ease of use. It has saved quite a lot of time for the staff and for me. I’m in charge of issuing the cards to all employees, and this can be done really fast and easy.”

He also believes that the smart cards are easy to use and work fine, which is especially important, given the fact that the Proof House features thick, wooden doors that might prove challenging for lesser smart-card readers.

Ever since the system was installed, Mr. Mabbitt only had to call the Tensor help desk line once. “We had a software glitch, but the problem was solved over the phone. The quality of the service was very good.” That’s probably the reason why he believes that “I can’t really see where Tensor could improve its service to us, since everything works fine.”

When asked whether he would recommend the system to other companies, the Proof Master answered with a definite “Yes”, the reason being that “it’s a very good product”.

Customer Information

Worshipful Company of Gunmakers,

Proof House,

48-50 Commercial Road,

London E1 1LP

Phone: 02074812695

Fax: 020 7480 5102

Web: http://www.gunmakers.org.uk/

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