Spotlight on: Telco Sensors

Telco Sensors:

Your photo-eye problem solvers

High-quality photo sensors see through tough applications to deliver reliability and plant uptime


“We are considered in the industry as the photo-eye problem solvers,” says Richard Livengood, Telco Sensors’ president of North America.

Telco has a reputation of being the company with photo eyes on steroids.
— Richard Livengood

Based in Denmark, Telco Sensors is the leading designer, developer and manufacturer of ultra-reliable, extremely accurate photoelectric sensors, photoelectric amplifiers, light curtains and optical fork sensors in the world. Its products can withstand the effects of the most challenging applications, Livengood says.

“You will find our sensors in applications that have high dust, such as paper plants; high vibration and shock loads, such as lumber mills; high-pressure steam and water for cleaning such as poultry processing facilities; and even your local car wash,” says Livengood.

“Seeing” the difference

Telco Sensor Applications

  • Photoelectric sensors: through-beam, diffuse proximity, polarized retro reflective, background suppression
  • Fiber sensors
  • Light curtains
  • Optical fork sensors
  • Remote photoelectric systems: remote sensors, photoelectric amplifies, multiplexed amplifiers, photoelectric bus amplifiers
  • Power supply units
  • Optical frame sensors
  • Industrial light curtains
  • Measuring light curtains
  • Accessories: apertures, cables, glass-fiber optics, mounting brackets, reflectors, sockets & connectors

Livengood says Telco Sensors was established in 1975, building photo eyes that are built quite different from price-sensitive models available. “Our sensors are built with a high-quality sensor that is setin a clear epoxy. Other sensors use a lens to protect the sensor, which can be compared to to ‘granny’s glasses’ and are susceptible to dust, vibration and moisture. With the sensor set in an epoxy resin, the sensor is able to ‘see’ through contaminants that cloud the sightline of other sensors,” he says. All sensors are built in its Denmark plant to very high specifications and go through a triple quality check process before shipping, resulting in a 99.999 percent reliability rate. It results in a long product life. “We are just now getting replacement orders for some sensors installed in the early ‘90s. “We help customers solve problems, and we do that  by looking at the production process and its challenges. Any sensor can count, but if the conditions are less than optimal, low-cost sensors will quickly require cleaning, babysitting or replacement.” Production facilities are adamant in keeping their processing equipment secrets to themselves, but Livengood says the North American team of Telco’s technical professionals, who are available through IDC Distributors, can build on that experience to help a wide variety of companies address sensor issues. Here are a few examples of solutions that have dramatically reduced or eliminated downtime to sensor malfunction:

  • A toilet paper production plant suffered unneeded downtime because a sensor at the top of the production line was getting clouded by paper dust, shutting down the line. The only solution the plant management found was to put a maintenance worker in a man- lift every two hours to blow the dust off of the sensor. When the sensor was replaced with a Telco sensor, the need to clean off the sensor was nearly eliminated, which reduced downtime and saved the facility $60,000 in less than six months.
  • A lumber processing plant had trouble with sensors that couldn’t take the shock and vibration of equipment handling 5,000 lb. logs moving through the facility. Telco sensors, which are set in an epoxy resin, aren’t affected by shock, so they won’t come apart from repeated shocks or vibrations. The result was that downtime was eliminated from photo eye malfunctions.
  • A facility that uses high- speed industrial doors between production and warehouse areas suffered repeated door damage when low-cost sensors malfunctioned and doors didn’t open in time. With Telco’s infrared light curtain solution, door damage was eliminated.
  • A people-mover manufacturer was able to produce a green energy- rated escalator because Telco sensors accurately identified approaching pedestrians, running the escalator only when people needed it. The intermittent operating design also dramatically reduced maintenance  costs.

  • A poultry processing plant had continual problems as high- pressure steam cleaning knocked out low-cost photo eyes critical in the production process. New Telco sensors, set in epoxy, easily withstood the effects of the high- pressure steam cleaning and greatly reduced maintenance costs and downtime in the plant.

  • A bakery was having issues with sensors losing alignment and shutting down baking lines. The sensors required realignment three times each shift, slowing production and affecting product quality. Once Telco sensors were installed, the company soon replaced sensors in its other plants to improve their uptime.

“No one calls us with the easy applications,” says Livengood. “We get the calls from facilities with sensor problems that are causing thousands of dollars of downtime. Our sensors are more expensive, but in the scheme of things, the sensor cost isn’t a factor, reducing or eliminating downtime is the driving factor,” he says.

Industries Served by Telco Sensors

  • Food & beverage
  • Lumber
  • Industrial doors & gates
  • Public transportation
  • Car wash
  • Packaging
  • Material handling
  • Access controls
  • Agriculture & farming
  • Paper & pulp
  • Hostile industries
  • Steel-metal forming
  • Elevators & escalators

“The reputation of Telco sensor reliability that starts on the manufacturing floor works its way up the OEM supply chain,” says Livengood. “The excellent experiencemanufacturers have had with Telco sensors for replacement gets communicated back to OEMs as they get orders for new equipment. Telco sensors are often specified by the buyer in new equipment purchases,” he says. “We often come in the back door at OEMs with customer requirements or recommendations.”

Tremendous potential

Customers and distributors of power transmission equipment are often less comfortable around electrical components, so they are less likely to tackle the headaches they can cause. Instead, the problems are addressed with labor-intensive solutions.

“Sensors are really simple, they are just a transmitter and a receiver, doing an on-or-off process check. They are much simpler than programmable drives, for example. The key is that Telco Sensor experts across the country are available to address sensor issues. We have proven that we can solve problems that others can’t,” he says. “Our technical experts will work alongside IDC Distributors, showing customers how Telco sensors are different and better than what they are using. When we show them the difference our sensors can make, they can’t wait to get them installed on their equipment,” he says.

Telco's Five core values:

Rugged sensors for challenging applications These five values set Telco sensors apart from the others:

    Installing a Telco sensor is as easy as child’s play. Our sensors are easy to align and require no complicated set-ups that guarantee effortless installation every time.

    Severe contamination is no challenge for Telco sensors. Our infrared sensors penetrate through any contamination thrown at them and will operate relentlessly even in the most hostile environments.
    No light will blind a Telco sensor. Our sensors do not need to be covered or hidden from ambient or extraneous light to function problem-free.
    Nothing endures maltreatment like a Telco sensor. Our sensors can tolerate severe vibrations and physical impact without hindering lifetime or performance.
    Telco sensors like it wet. Our sensors are designed to withstand direct exposure to water and high-pressure spray and are capable of operating reliably in wet conditions

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