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Dole Puts New Light on Fresh Salads Packaged in Bessemer City, N. Carolina

Before photo of partial LED lighting conversion at Dole Fresh Vegetables' facilities in Bessemer City, NC
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After photo of full LED lighting conversion at Dole Fresh Vegetables' facilities in Bessemer City, NC
  |  Download Hi-res Print Version

Dole Food Co. includes among its brand promises dedication to the safety of its workers, the environment and the use of state-of-the-art production technologies.

With a recent conversion to LED lighting at much of its mammoth salad-packaging plant in Bessemer City, the world’s largest producer and marketer of fresh fruit and fresh vegetables reinforced these corporate commitments to its hundreds of employees there.

For a two-year project that was completed this year, Dole converted the bulk of its 285,000-square-foot site in Bessemer City from archaic incandescent lighting to brighter and safer LEDs from Torrance, Calif.-based LEDtronics. The fruits of this labor at the 11-year-old plant are a healthier, more productive and energy-efficient production facility and warehouse, not to mention cost savings inherent to LED technology that improve a company’s bottom line.

“This was the first installation of LED technology for Dole, and the results are fantastic,” said Chris Houser, maintenance supervisor at the Dole Fresh Vegetables plant that ships roughly 750,000 packages of salad greens per day to health-conscious consumers in the Southern and Eastern United States.

The successful pilot launched with initial test samples in August 2016. The project called for an order of 365 LEDtronics retrofit kits and 105 New HBL005 High Bay fixtures that enabled Dole to nearly double illumination on the plant floor while halving lighting cost. Under the supervision of plant engineer Mike Long, Dole also installed 28 wallpacks and 30 thin ceiling panels from LEDtronics at the major facility. Product didn’t have to travel far; the LEDtronics distributor facilitating the project, Vallen Distribution, is based in Belmont, only 16 miles away from the Dole plant.

Keeping things simple over the course of the project enabled Dole to appreciate the benefits even more.

“We now have a much brighter and safer environment in the warehouse and production areas,” Houser said. “That’s on top of the cost savings with converting to LED lighting.”

Being able to install the entire order from LEDtronics in-house added to the cost-effectiveness of the retrofit.

“We were able to perform our own installation because it was a fairly straightforward process,” Houser said, adding that the positive experience and results bode well for eventual complete conversion to LED technology. “We intend to continue our retrofit throughout the plant.”

By David Dickstein

Originally posted in the Gaston Gazette, Jan. 11, 2019