30 January 2023 - Tom Opio
Featured in: Product information and OPTEX tech tips, Tech Tip, Intrusion detection
Active Infrared beams are a great way to protect perimeters or vulnerable entry points, but there are considerations to bear in mind when it comes to their correct installation.
The OPTEX beams range from the more compact and shorter-range AX series to our long-range Smart Line SL series which can create a virtual perimeter of up to 200m in length. These detectors work in pairs with a transmitter and receiver, the transmitter sends a continuous infrared signal to the receiver, and when this signal is interrupted by a person or object a detection occurs. Both detectors are designed to be mounted onto a rigid/sturdy structure or can be mounted inside of beam towers (SL models only) which are free standing or wall mounted.
Over the years we have had feedback from our customers of mounting the beams on all kinds of surfaces including walls, fences, posts and sometimes even trees.
Unsurprisingly, mounting these sensors on trees or wobbly fences isn’t the sturdiest option and can cause problems. For example, as the trees grow the beams will inevitably move and become misaligned, while in windy conditions the tree might bend leading to false alarms and so we do not recommend this mounting method. The same issue may arise when mounting beam detectors on a fence; the fence can wobble or swing in windy conditions or during gate operations.
When installed, the transmitter and receiver should be configured to be perfectly aligned so that the beams sent from the transmitter reach the exact point needed in the receiver, allowing for continuous operation. However, if one of these is moved then it would cause misalignment which may cause false alarms. Therefore, a rigid structure, such as a pole or wall, is required to stop effect from wind and weather.
Using beam towers
In certain applications, using dedicated beam towers ensures sturdiness and longer lasting precision alignment, enabling optimum function of the beams particularly. Another key advantage of the towers is that they conceal the sensor inside the tower structure, which increases the security and flexibility of the entire perimeter protection system.
Crucially, the number and height of the beams inside the tower are unknown to the potential intruders. In some cases, experienced intruders may attempt to get past the beams, but when they are stacked in a tower the intruder wouldn’t know at what height the beam signal is, so any such attempts are far less likely to work, thus enhancing the security level.
As an additional service, we can provide pre-built beam towers for most EMEA countries, which can be customised with accessories such as cooling fans or heaters to ensure their optimal performance even in extreme weather conditions, and for added security, there are options for anti-climb and tamper protection.
The beam towers also provide the option to mount a fixed camera or security lighting in a special housing on top of the towers, allowing for more security components to be installed and function in combination. This allows you to keep all sensors and components neatly together inside the tower for a cleaner look.
Single and double sided towers
We provide two types of pre-built beam towers, single and double sided , depending on the site layout and requirements. The double sided tower model allows for fully customizable detection areas as it can allow the beams to go in any direction for example around corners or structures that may be in the way. In addition, the beam towers have various installation heights ranging from 1–3m providing protection for a diverse range of sites. Here is an example of how a large virtual perimeter could be created using only beam towers:
Tech tip: Aligning the OPTEX SL beams
4 May 2022
Infrared beams offer an excellent perimeter protection solution by sending a continuous signal from a transmitter to a receiver and it is essential that the signal from the transmitter aligns perfectly with the receiver, and here is how the alignment and walk test should be done for the SL-seriesRead More