Manufacturing and Distribution: Why Radars Are Essential for Perimeter Security & Internal Security

Compact surveillance radars help increase safety, maintain situational awareness, and reduce false alarms around industrial environments.
June 25, 2024 by
Spotter Global, Jamie Mortensen

Perhaps no other sector of critical infrastructure deals with as many moving parts as manufacturing and distribution. In terms of both mobile technology and active personnel, manufacturing and distribution simply have more movement, more chaos, to deal with than other locations.

And all that chaos and movement can open up security gaps. 

That in turn presents a significant threat to national security as regular manufacturing and distribution are the backbone of a nation’s economy. Slowdowns in operation, supply chain issues, and other disruptions, some of them caused by security incidents, can have ripple effects that impact thousands of workers and consumers.

There has to be a way to secure critical manufacturing and distribution sectors from theft, vandalism, sabotage, and espionage while still leaving all the moving parts free to do their important, regular jobs. Given the expansive size and internal value of many manufacturing and distribution facilities, perimeter security is vital. Given the range of complex activities and valuable assets within such sites, internal security is crucial as well. 

Compact surveillance radars are uniquely positioned to help with the perimeter and internal security needs of manufacturing and distribution companies. Proven to help monitor and manage internal and external traffic, greatly reduce false and nuisance alarms, overcome the limitations of camera and video surveillance, robust integration capacities, alarm zone capabilities, and enterprise management options, compact surveillance radars present an effective, adaptable security solution for large high-value properties.

Key Takeaways

  • Manufacturing and distribution facilities require both robust internal security and perimeter security to ensure continuing operations. 
  • Different sites have different security needs according to their layout, on-site value, general pattern of operations, traffic volume, local environment, and more.
  • Radar alarm zones can help monitor internal traffic and activity to prevent accidents as well as theft, sabotage, and espionage. 
  • Compact surveillance radars can extend perimeter security past the fence line and provide reliable threat detection through all weather conditions. 
  • Compact surveillance radars can reduce the cost of security cameras, enable site-customized alarm zone capabilities, and greatly reduce false and nuisance alarms. 

Understanding the Vulnerabilities in Manufacturing and Distribution Facilities

Manufacturing and distribution facilities face a wide range of security vulnerabilities that can compromise the safety and integrity of site operations. To ensure the best security design, site-by-site analysis of the following factors is advised:  

Facility Layout 

With properties often covering multiple (if not dozens of) acres, multiple entry and exit points, and large storage areas, maintaining situational awareness on manufacturing and distribution facilities can be a challenge. Ideally, security sensors will be positioned to cover vital internal areas, the entire site perimeter, and a great deal of area outside the site perimeter. 

On-site Value 

The presence of valuable assets, such as machinery, equipment, raw materials, inventory, data servers, trade secrets, and other sensitive information can make manufacturing and distribution facilities an attractive target to both sophisticated criminals and crime-of-opportunity offenders. Accurate estimations of property value help inform security design, including decisions about budget, technology purchases, and more. 

Traffic Volume 

Regular flows of traffic, transporting materials and personnel in and out of industrial facilities, can provide both opportunity and cover for perpetrators to engage in attempted thefts, vandalism, sabotage, and espionage. The higher and more regular the traffic volume, the greater the risk. 

Local Environment 

Many distribution centers and manufacturing facilities are built in industrial districts and low-cost areas where police oversight is lessened and crime rates are higher. Local elevation changes, structures, foliage, and culture should also be considered. 

Understanding these vulnerabilities is crucial for developing effective security designs with internal security and perimeter security measures specifically arranged to address the unique risks and challenges faced by each site. By identifying and assessing these vulnerabilities, companies can implement targeted security solutions that provide comprehensive protection against potential threats.

Why Internal Security Is Vital for Manufacturing and Distribution Facilities

Productivity, safety, and security all rely on the right people and materials being in the right place at the right time—and all those elements staying out of the wrong places at the wrong times. This can be a challenge in manufacturing and distribution properties where material storage, data storage, managerial offices and operations, and complex manufacturing processes all live together within the same perimeter. 

Internal security in industrial facilities therefore must allow people and materials to go where they need to within the facility, but also ensure no one and nothing goes where it shouldn’t. Constant situational awareness is paramount as just a few minutes of unauthorized access to the server room, a quick unobserved swap of counterfeit materials or components in manufacturing processes, or even an idle wander into an area with dangerous operations can have disastrous consequences.

Careful consideration of a site’s internal vulnerabilities is merited. Property owners and trusted property managers should sit down with security consultants to discuss these vulnerabilities before upgrading a site’s security design.  

How Radar Can Enhance Internal Security

The primary use of radar in internal security is to monitor the traffic between separate, free-standing buildings and areas within a property, such as the open areas around parking lots, loading docks, between buildings, and before building entrances. 

Early radars were essentially long-distance motion detectors. Modern radars are smart motion detectors that, in addition to detecting motion at long and short distances, can also identify targets, cue PTZ cameras, integrate with other security measures, filter false and nuisance alarms, and monitor spaces according to site-customized alarm zones that trigger security responses when something moves into sensitive or prohibited areas. Alarm zones can also be set to activate and deactivate according to customized schedules, allowing more freedom of movement during certain hours, perhaps normal operating hours, and restricting movement during other times. 

Even in high-traffic areas, radar surveillance can be useful. Not only can modern compact surveillance radars track multiple targets at a time, they can be programmed to monitor the flow of traffic. Radar-enabled alarm zones can notify security personnel if a person, vehicle, drone, or other target wanders off approved paths or otherwise enters an area where there shouldn’t be. Alternatively, alarm zone breaches may trigger floodlights, VMS recording, auditory alarms, or other monitoring and deterrence measures. 

Radar surveillance works off of radio waves, which means they will need a direct “line of sight” to any areas they are meant to monitor, but, unlike cameras, their surveillance capacity will not be blocked by low light, rain, snow, fog, or smoke. This allows security systems to remain vigilant at all times, monitoring during both daytime activities and nighttime hours. 

Why Perimeter Security is Vital for Manufacturing and Distribution Facilities

To avoid detection, those with ill intent often prefer to avoid the access control and identity verification tools at main entrances. Whether they intend to break in through a lesser-used entrance, break through fencing, or launch their operation from outside the fence (perhaps with a drone or long-distance gunfire as with the 2013 Metcalf substation incident), perpetrators often feel they can accomplish their goals faster and with more stealth if they can find an unconventional way in, which is why perimeter security must be prepared for such attempts. 

Effective perimeter security not only protects the physical assets within the facility but also ensures the safety of employees and visitors. By establishing a secure perimeter, companies can create a controlled environment that minimizes the risk of unauthorized access and potential security incidents as well as helps ensure the continuity of business operations, minimizes safety issues, and prevents damages to the company’s reputation that may result from any safety or security issues. 

How Radar Can Enhance Perimeter Security

Compact surveillance radar is key to maintaining constant situational awareness over large perimeters. Capable of monitoring wide areas and seeing farther than most security cameras as well as through obscuring low-light, fog, snow, rain, and dusty conditions, compact surveillance radars can extend detection out thousands of meters beyond a fenceline, ensuring nothing can sneak up on a property. 

PTZ cameras, thermal cameras, and other security cameras while providing some degree of surveillance on their own, work exceptionally well in conjunction with compact surveillance radars. When a radar detects a target, it tracks the detected object in real-time with precise coordinates that it shares with the site’s cameras. This allows cameras to immediately turn or “slew” to focus on active targets within their range and, because the cameras always know precisely where to point, fewer of them are needed to maintain constant situational awareness on movement both outside and within the site perimeter. 

How Does Spotter Global Create Alarm Zones for Perimeter Security?

NetworkedIO, or NIO, Spotter Global’s command and control (C2) system, allows for the close integration of compact surveillance radars with site cameras, VMS systems, and other security measures. This, in addition to the aforementioned camera-to-radar coordination, allows radar-detected targets to be highlighted on the VMS system and for the creation of site-customized alarm zones. Such alarm zones classify the threat level of detected targets by geographical area and, when such alarm zones are intruded upon, trigger customized security protocols. For example, a human target detected one kilometer out from the north perimeter may trigger active tracking. The layering of another alarm zone may cause a warning siren to sound if said target gets within 400m of the property. Meanwhile, another alarm zone may ensure any vehicle detected south of the perimeter, having left the road, triggers an automatic notification to security management or a call to law enforcement. 

What About False & Nuisance Alarms?

While extending perimeter surveillance coverage beyond the physical perimeter would normally increase the amount of false and nuisance alarms received, Spotter Global’s compact surveillance radars often greatly reduce the overall amount of false and nuisance alarms in a system. The radar AI and video AI behavioral filters built into the radar software allow the radar system, with just a little on-site calibration, to recognize the difference between different types of targets including humans, vehicles, drones, animals, and other nuisance alarm sources. This allows alarms caused by shifting shadows, local wildlife, and other nuisances to be reduced, often to as little as just one false or nuisance alarm per day per radar. 

This reduction in false and nuisance alarms can greatly reduce security costs, free up the resources of security personnel, and grant owners, investors, security personnel, and facility personnel greater peace of mind.

Investing in Radar Security as a Long-Term Strategy for Business Continuity

Investing in radar security, for both perimeter security and internal security, is a long-term strategy for ensuring the continuity and success of manufacturing and distribution companies. By establishing comprehensive security both inside and outside the fence, companies can protect their assets, operations, and personnel from security threats and incidents, ensuring the safety and integrity of their operations. This not only helps to minimize the risk of financial losses, damage to assets, and potential legal liabilities but also enhances the overall efficiency and reliability of the company's operations.

In addition, investing in security can provide a competitive advantage for manufacturing and distribution companies, as it demonstrates a commitment to security, safety, and regulatory compliance. This can help to build trust and confidence among customers, partners, and stakeholders, as well as to enhance the company's reputation and brand image. As always, success and sustainability depend on security. 

The Future of Radar Perimeter Security in the Manufacturing and Distribution Industry

The future of security in the manufacturing and distribution industry will most likely be characterized by:

  • Adaptation to evolving security threats
  • The integration of advanced technologies
  • Compliance with increasingly stringent regulatory requirements

Security threats are always evolving. As worldwide technology continues to progress, the adaptive avenues for cyber-attacks, terrorism, and the consequences of geopolitical instability continue to multiply. Future changes in the threat landscape will require manufacturing and distribution companies to adapt and strengthen their security measures in order to maintain secure and controlled environments that support the continuity and success of their operations.

To stay ahead of potential threats, many large high-value properties are prioritizing proactive threat detection, real-time monitoring, and predictive analysis in their security design. Cutting-edge advancements in security technology that may soon become widespread include artificial intelligence, advanced analytics, cloud-based security systems, and technology for drone detection and drone mitigation. In the coming years, these technologies will enable manufacturing and distribution properties to operate in safety and security, especially as regulatory requirements for security and safety become more stringent. Implementing such technologies will become necessary not only to prevent and mitigate security incidents but also to ensure compliance and mitigate the risk of penalties and fines.


Radar-enabled security has a critical role to play in mitigating risks and liabilities for manufacturing and distribution companies. By establishing a secure perimeter and thorough internal security, companies can minimize the risk of theft, vandalism, and unauthorized access to their facilities, thus reducing financial losses, damage to assets, and various operational issues. In addition, effective perimeter and internal security measures can help protect the safety and well-being of employees and visitors, reducing the risk of injuries, accidents, liability claims, and legal actions resulting from security breaches or incidents. 

By integrating their on-site access control measures, video surveillance, and other security technologies with radar, companies can further unify their security design and demonstrate their commitment to preventing harm.

Spotter Global, Jamie Mortensen June 25, 2024
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