Loading Dock Equipment Overview
The loading dock is the heart of most companies’ day-to-day operations: it is the place where required supplies arrive and customer shipments depart. Due to its critical nature, inefficiencies in loading dock operations or interruptions of service due to maintenance or safety issues can have a negative impact on corporate profitability.
There are a number of products available to improve the accessibility of the loading dock area and promote the safe handling of goods within that area, including: dock levelers, vehicle restraints, seals and shelters, communications systems and more. However, it is important to understand the requirements of each facility in order to provide the right equipment to fit its unique needs. Following is a list of considerations to take into account before making a product recommendation:
Features of the building itself affect loading dock product selections. Space restrictions and whether the installation is new construction or retrofit greatly influence the choice of dock leveler. Building materials used in the construction of the building or driveway may determine the type and location of vehicle restraint.
It is important to survey the loading dock area to uncover design details that may affect product selection and installation of vehicle restraints, dock seals or dock shelters; such as, positions of drains, locations of other obstacles and the slope of the approach.
The types of goods being transferred at a facility may determine the style and material construction of dock seals or shelters that are used, e.g., USDA /FDA security and pest control regulations for food product facilities.
The types of vehicles being serviced and the traffic congestion at the loading dock will determine what type of vehicle restraint or other safety equipment is specified. A heavily trafficked loading dock presents increased opportunities for accidents, and safety equipment becomes even more critical.
A dock leveler must have the structural strength required to accommodate the weight, speed and frequency of use of the company’s material handling equipment.
If the facility is located in geography subject to the change of seasons, strong consideration should be given to protection from the elements and the benefit of energy conservation afforded by dock seals and shelters. Likewise, temperature control is critical in a cold storage environment.
A wide array of dock levelers, vehicle restraints, seals and shelters are available at varying price levels to meet customers’ budget requirements.
If you have any questions about what types of equipment are most suitable for your application, please contact us.