Lisburn firm's tech detects potential COVID-19 in employees across Ireland

  • A Lisburn-based engineering firm has introduced artificial intelligence (AI) and thermal imaging tech to help companies across Ireland increase COVID-19 detection during the ongoing pandemic.

    Integrated Process Control & Engineering (IPCE) said it has repurposed its technology to protect workforces across the island.

    As a partner for Hikvision’s thermal and optical bi-spectrum camera range, IPCE added it is able to detect symptomatic individuals that currently risk potential infection when working on-site.

    The technology screens employees for a raised temperature; one of the key symptoms of coronavirus.

    The firm said that with advanced detectors and algorithms, temperature screening thermographic cameras are designed to detect elevated skin-surface temperatures, and can be used for rapid and preliminary temperature screening in office buildings, factories, stations, airports and other public places, with accuracy up to ±0.3°C.

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    With a built-in AI algorithm, the system can also measure multiple people from a safe distance enabling fast assessment without personal contact.

    The Unicorn Group, based at the former Coca-Cola site in Lambeg, was the first customer to install IPCE’s new tech eight weeks ago across its 266,000 sq. ft. manufacturing and administrative facility.

    The Unicorn Group manufactures interlocking PVC floor tiles, washroom products and medical and recycling bins.

    Conor Kearney from IPCE and Roger Pannel from the Unicorn Group

    Roger Pannell, managing director of the group commented: “We moved to take extra steps in addition to government health and safety guidance to reduce the probability factor of infection rate and reassure our staff to feel more comfortable and confident in the work place.

    “We deployed IPCE’s solution of thermal imaging with the system alerting three team members when a high temperature is recorded on entering the building."

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    Conor Kearney, managing director of IPCE added: “Early on in the pandemic, we recognised the significance and benefits of thermal screening technology in major cities across Asia and worked fast to utilise our core competencies as a control systems developer to offer the same systems to our customer base in Ireland.

    “Our solutions are highly efficient; taking less than one second to detect temperatures through non-contact measurement which can be achieved from a safe distance.

    “If an individual is detected an audible and visual alarm is produced along with an e-mail notification to alert the designated person onsite responsible for screening.

    “Both Heathrow Airport and Portsmouth Port have installed thermal imaging cameras and are leading the way in using this innovative technology to combat the spread of coronavirus.”

    Stephen Kelly from the production rep organisation, Manufacturing NI said: “The manufacturing industry across Northern Ireland has been enormously disrupted by Covid-19 but have led the way in introducing systems and procedures to ensure a safe workplace and offer reassurance to colleagues and visitors.

    "This technology can assist with stabilising operations alongside current safety measures and guidance.”

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    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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