Graham Creek, founder and MD of Luminite, talks about PIR detection systems.

12 March 2013

Luminite Electronics Ltd has been designing and manufacturing PIR detection systems from its London-based factory for almost 30 years. The company has recently witnessed a significant rise in sales, bucking the current security market trend. We spoke to Graham Creek, founder and MD of Luminite, to gain some insight into his company, its products and the reasons behind its impressive performance.

Graham, please describe Luminite and what the company offers.

Luminite is a well-established manufacturer of PIR systems, with extensive experience and expertise in the security market. Luminite products are designed and built in the UK and sold via a comprehensive list of specialist distributors throughout the UK and Europe.

We use passive infra-red heat-sensing technology, with a powerful, micro-controller using sophisticated algorithms, to enable accurate intruder detection. Radio frequency technology is used to provide robust wireless communications. Our strength is in combining these different technologies to produce innovative products and systems, such as the pioneering Genesis wireless PIR systems. PIRs are by far the most cost-effective intruder detection option for alarm and event-driven CCTV systems and ours are amongst the most reliable and flexible available. We provide free training and comprehensive pre and post sales, technical support.

Are your PIR detectors used in other markets?

We specialise in the security market, but we use the same technologies in energy management and remote switching applications.

Our PIR technology will automatically switch lights on or off as people enter or leave a room. Our lighting control systems allow operators to turn lights on and off remotely. These systems help to reduce the energy bills of a company.

Our EasySwitch range, which includes PIR detectors, uses wireless technology to remotely open gates, doors, barriers and shutters or switch lights on and off. New to the EasySwitch range is a versatile heating and ventilation switch for mains applications.

What sort of energy and cost savings do the Luminite systems offer?

Some UK local authorities will fine businesses that leave lights on overnight. Switching lights off automatically stops the risk of these fines and can reduce energy consumption by as much as 40%.

Energy management offers a significant business growth opportunity for security installers. CCTV system running costs are often scrutinised to reduce the total cost of ownership. Combining energy management and security systems together creates an opportunity to off-set CCTV running costs against energy savings. A car park chain we work with has saved over £500,000 in running costs, by turning lights off automatically and through the ultra-low running costs of our wireless detectors, which perform well, even in reinforced concrete structures.

Luminite is well-known for its Genesis wireless detectors. What do the latest models offer installers?

We have pioneered wireless technology within the security industry and even make wireless transmitters for other manufacturers, our expertise is so well regarded!

The complete Genesis system incorporates PIRs, transmitters, receivers, repeaters, access control and IP. 64 Genesis PIRs operate with a single Masthead receiver from up to 1km away and further if repeaters are used. The Masthead connects to the CCTV system by serial interface or by our new, IP network interface.

Wireless detectors can be positioned in their ideal detection position, not for cabling convenience. No civil works are necessary either, meaning they can be placed on a site perimeter, looking inwards, reducing the likelihood of detection over spill and false alarms. With no complex wiring requirements, they are quick and easy to install, increasing installer profits.

Our Genesis wireless PIR detectors also use dual or quad sensing to combat the common false alarm triggers caused by lighting changes, glare and reflections from the sun in windows and puddles.

How does Luminite ensure its PIR systems are robust and reliable?

Our wireless communications operate at Pan European UHF FM frequency. This has good propagation and penetration characteristics, yet is not prone to interference. The PIR battery life is 2 years and we use tough and durable, 3mm thick, polycarbonate enclosures. We also produce a Walk Test Instrument for system reliability checks, such as determining PIR detection extents, wireless signal strength, remaining battery life and lens pattern. Installers are sent alerts and warnings before problems occur. Low battery life or poor wireless signal strength will instigate a maintenance visit. In other PIR systems, these would show as false alarms!

Is Luminite affected by the recent changes in BS 8418 2010 regarding battery back-up in event-driven security systems?

The BS8418 change has had a positive impact for Luminite. Event-driven security systems must have a four hour battery back-up in case of power failure. Astonishingly, many security systems have no battery back-up at all, or specify using an uninterrupted power supply (UPS). Our PIR systems have a 2 year battery life. Even users of video analytics security systems have realised that our PIRs offer a cheaper way to achieve compliance than the UPS option.

What new products is Luminite developing?

The Genesis G2 PIR range will be launched at IFSEC, in May. We have hard-wired and wireless versions, with mirror optics, 60 metre narrow beam and 30 metre wide beam options. Our IP interfaces list includes DM, IMMIX and many more and our serial interfaces include HeiTel and Vista. We are also developing wireless, mesh radio technology for our PIR systems. Mesh radio means the wireless communication path is between all the PIRs and the Masthead within a system, not just directly between each PIR and the Masthead. This will make our wireless PIR communications even better, offer greater PIR positioning flexibility and extend the communications range beyond 1km.

Thank you, Graham, for talking to us. We look forward to seeing these new products in the not too distant future.