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Gielow Pickles

Lexington, Michigan

Gielow Pickles

Minimizing Downtime and Maximizing Productivity with Leviton Watertight Devices

Lexington, Michigan

Family-owned Gielow Pickles has been processing pickles, cucumbers and peppers for over five generations. With multiple locations across the United States, Gielow is a leader in manufacturing refrigerated pickles for the food service industry.

In order to maintain proper sanitary conditions for mass food production, all of Gielow’s facilities undergo intense cleaning procedures, including high-pressure, high-temperature washdowns. Electrical wiring devices that supply power to critical machinery must be resistant to the corrosion associated with thorough and frequent washdowns in addition to pickle juice, water and chemicals. Gielow requires all of its industrial electrical wiring devices to be IP6 rated, assuring protection from dust ingress to steam-jet, high-pressure and high-temperature washdowns. IP6 ratings ensure reliable device performance that can withstand harsh and demanding environments.

Gielow realized that the electrical wiring devices it had installed were filling with water and pickle juice during daily operations and nightly washdowns. Not only did this pose a potential safety hazard to all employees, but it resulted in a lot of unplanned downtime and failed equipment. Every few months Gielow was forced to shut down critical machinery in order to replace liquid damaged devices. After seeing the threat this posed to the company’s operations and bottom line, Gielow contacted its local distributor, Medler Electric, for help, who in turn called Leviton Manufacturing.

Leviton immediately wanted to learn more about Gielow’s situation and how the company’s solutions could help. Both Leviton’s senior commercial & industrial product manager and local industrial product specialist went to Gielow’s headquarters in Michigan, which was the start of a long-term, collaborative relationship.

One of the first watertight solutions Leviton offered Gielow was Powerswitch® Safety Disconnect Switches. “The first box we put on the wall, we literally dumped water on it all day long…it’s as dry as a bone,” said Tom Grant, head of maintenance at Gielow. Featuring IP66, IP67, IP68, IP69, and IP69K ratings, these NSF certified devices successfully solved Gielow’s water intrusion issue. Leviton subsequently introduced LEV Series Mechanical Interlocks, which incorporate a safety disconnect switch and an IEC receptacle in a non-metallic watertight enclosure. With captive terminal and assembly screws, Gielow was able to speed up device installation. One of the main areas where these mechanical interlocks were installed was mounted to temporary power packs, allowing employees to easily and safely plug, unplug and relocate the devices.

In addition to the aforementioned challenges posed by liquid intrusion, Gielow was also looking for devices with a more durable handle grip that could easily be turned on or off, even with wet or gloved hands. Upon hearing about this, Leviton tested many different handle materials and lengths with Gielow until they found the perfect solution – a longer, overmold handle. Not only does this provide a better grip, but it also features three lockout/tagout provisions for OSHA compliance, an extremely important safety feature for any industrial manufacturing facility, allowing Gielow to consistently and safely shut off power during maintenance.

By installing Leviton’s industrial watertight devices, Gielow has been able to minimize unplanned downtime and increase productivity in its facilities. Grant noted, “Leviton switches go into all of the new equipment that we build. It’s a definite winner for us…Leviton as a company, in my opinion, that was a homerun.”

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