Food Distributor Expects Greater Safety, Time Savings from Loading-Dock Door Sensors

Tue, 10/09/2001 - 7:28am
WinCo Foods, a Portland, OR-based food distributor, recently installed safety door contacts on the loading dock doors of its distribution center in Woodburn, OR. The contacts, designed to remote-control dock levelers, are made by Sentrol Industrial, a Tualatin, OR-based maker of non-contact safety interlock switches for industrial applications.

WinCo is in the process of installing the Sentrol Industrial 2515 contacts on all doors at its 52-bay loading dock in Woodburn, and has seven installations complete. It plans to outfit all doors as each comes due for re-alignment or maintenance. The contact ties into WinCo's dock leveler system, which allows the dock levelers to operate only when a door is in the correct open position.

"Because the doors are manually opened, they don't stop in the same spot every time," says John Miller, WinCo's forklift maintenance supervisor. "Also, roll-up doors have a tendency to move from side to side, which would kick them out of the range of a normal sensor. The operating range of the 2515 sensor accommodates the side-to-side movement and allows the operator to open a door to varying positions, and still have the dock leveler activate." Miller says this will save time and be safer for the operator.

The contact is designed for use on panel or sectional-style overhead doors in any industrial plant. It consists of a magnet mounted on the door, and a contact module mounted on the door channel. It allows for magnet-to-contact gap distances of up to 6 in., thus ensuring reliable operation even on poor-fitting doors. Because the contact is installed off the floor, it is immune to the damage and misalignment problems that affect floor-mounted contacts. As the contact is installed on all doors at the WinCo facility, Miller says he expects that maintenance costs for the doors will also drop "because the doors won't need to be continually adjusted to accommodate the range of a sensor."

Sentrol Industrial, 12345 SW Levelton Dr., Tualatin, OR 97062; 800-247-9447.


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