American Backhaulers

  • Fortune 500 Company
  • Global provider of transportation services
  • 146 offices in 40 states, Canada, Mexico, Europe, South America, and Asia

Site Description

American Backhaulers, located in Chicago, Illinois, was established in 1982. The company developed a very successful business uniting producers and resellers by providing efficient transportation and logistic services.

In 1999 the C.H.Robinson World Wide, Inc., a fortune 500 company with gross revenues of approximately $3.1 billion, acquired American Backhaulers. The company is a global provider of transportation services with a network of 146 offices in 40 states, Canada, Mexico, Europe, South America and Asia.

The Situation

The Chicago branch of C.H. Robinson, formerly American Backhaulers Company, is a busy operation located in a very rough section of Chicago. Safety of employees was the company’s primary motive for purchasing a security system. Access to the building and parking lot had to be secured with a controlled locking system. The system had to make it difficult for anyone other than a C.H. Robinson employee to enter the building and parking lot. The likelihood of vandalism and the effects of Chicago weather required a rugged and weather resistant system.

The company uses many computers and expensive traffic tracking and control equipment. It was necessary to restrict access to this high-tech equipment and to record use, improving accountability. In addition, the desire was to find a system that required very little time to set-up and manage.

The Keri Solution

Keri’s proximity access control system was selected for this application. Seven PXL-250 Tiger Controllers are used to manage twelve interior doors, a rear entry exterior door, and a motorized gate leading to the parking lot. The electronic locks on the interior doors are controlled by twelve MS-5000 MiniStar proximity readers. The MiniStar reader is a thin-line reader, rugged in construction that is approximately the size of a standard single-gang switch plate. The reader is warranted for life against defects in material and workmanship.

The back door and parking gate are equipped with MS-4000, ShootingStar vandal resistant readers. This reader is housed in a sealed, stainless steal enclosure. The reader aperture is protected with Fiber Tex (UL 752 Listed material) that consists of layers of fiberglass material imbedded with special polymers. The material is specified to withstand the impact of a nine-millimeter bullet fired at point blank range.

The proximity card used is the Multi-Technology, MT-10XP card. The MT-10X card is an ISO standard card with the size and thickness of a standard credit card, which can have a bar code label attached. The card is read by the proximity reader as well as the bar code reader. In addition, the card is imprinted with employee photo and ID information.

The ShootingStar reader is mounted using security bolts, or it can be mounted using tapped holes machined into the back surface of the reader. It measures 13.4cm x5.1cm1.9cm and will fit on a standard door mullion. It is warranted for five years against defects in materials and workmanship.

Keri’s Doors software provides all the programming tools needed to establish the system’s operating parameters. The use of descriptive Icons and comprehensive help menus results in an uncomplicated software package that enables administrators to easily customize the operating program. Custom time schedules can be applied to each door, use privileges can be assigned on an individual basis, and operation of door locks to a specific time schedule can be programmed to operate automatically minimizing administrative costs.

Once programmed, the computer is not needed to run the system. The intelligence to make decisions is distributed to each door’s Tiger controller. If the computer fails, the system continues to run as though nothing has happened. If a Tiger controller fails, the balance of doors within the system continues to run as programmed. Should a problem occur, down time is minimized because the problem can be quickly and easily resolved. Maintenance costs are kept at an absolute minimum.

Along with command intelligence, each controller maintains an activity record in a local memory file. Events are stored on a first in, first out basis. When the file is full, the oldest event is over-written, or the controller can be programmed to automatically upload the event data to the computer where the information can be stored on the hard disk. If a situation occurs that warrants investigation, the past event activity of each door can be collected and presented in a custom report. Thus, the system is also a good accountability tool for tracking use of the high value inventory.


The access system has been running since 1998 without problems. Company officials are impressed with the system operation and are recommending it to other C. H. Robinson Worldwide branches. The system is easy to understand, and requires very little attention.

“It works great.”

– Scott Bidochka, Facilities Manager

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