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.