Keeping your facility’s loading dock area in perfect working order is one of the keys to maintaining overall organizational productivity. The loading dock is where a facility meets the supply chain, and optimizing the assets around this area is a good way to keep efficiency high. Investing in both new equipment installation and maintenance programs that will keep assets at peak performance can generate positive value for any type of company with a loading dock.
Loading Dock Equipment Types
What makes an optimized loading dock? The answer to this question depends upon the way your company uses the dock, the number and size of commercial doors present, and the overall purpose of the facility. The following types of loading dock assets fulfill unique purposes that can generate value for your organization.
Dock Levelers and Dock Lifts
Dock levelers bridge the gap between trucks and your loading dock. These assets prevent the potential damage and injuries that can occur when a forklift encounters uneven conditions while traveling between a truck bed and the edge of dock. Because dock specifications vary widely, there are many categories and sizes of dock levelers available, generally divided into the FX Series and Hydraulic Series. Mechanical dock levelers use a pull chain, while hydraulic dock levelers operate via simple push-button controls.
Dock lifts are designed to be a more affordable version of booms and aerial platforms. When goods have to remain level during the unloading process, personnel can place them on the lift, then raise the platform to loading dock height. Widths of lifts range from 4 to 8 feet, and standard lengths are between 6 and 16 feet. Different lift models can handle maximum weights from 4,000 to 20,000 pounds.
Dock Seals and Dock Shelters
Dock seals are designed to create a contained environment during truck loading and unloading, preventing weather, animals, debris or other contaminants from entering the facility. There are four main types of seals, V-Seal, DS Tuf-Steel, Wearmaster Sliding Head Pad and L-Shaped. They boast features such as galvanized steel backing, a two-piece pad system and foam side pads.
Dock shelters are the element of a loading dock that keeps cargo safe from the weather during loading and unloading processes. Since each dock is unique, installation of a shelter is a customized process, with Miner® specing each door before installing a shelter and seal. Asset categories include rigid-framed shelters, impact-resistant flex-framed shelters and rail shelters, the latter of which is useful in temperature-controlled environments.
Truck restraints consist of bars that lock trailers in place during unloading, and they are designed to counteract trailer creep, meaning trucks moving while they are at the dock.
These systems come in two varieties. Push-Button restraints are operated via control panel and can be hooked up to communication lights. Manual Restraints are operated by hand by dock personnel and can’t be automated, but they too can be connected to communication lights or audible alarms.
Dock Safety Equipment
Light Communication Systems on loading docks come in several configurations and are designed to display the status of a loading or unloading procedure to both inside and outside personnel. When every individual knows whether it’s safe to either enter the trailer or drive a truck away from the dock, there is a reduced chance of suffering loading dock accidents.
Master Control Panel
Assets such as truck restraints, levelers, communication lights and more can connect through a Master Control Unit, which enables your facility manager to view status readouts via facility management software. With the ability to program safety protocol and operation order into the control panels, leaders can keep equipment engaged automatically for enhanced loading and unloading safety.
Loading Dock Equipment Maintenance
Essential dock equipment such as dock seals, dock levelers and vehicle restraints require maintenance to stay in top condition. A comprehensive plan consists of two key elements. Same-day service is designed to get equipment working again with minimal downtime – service professionals are Miner® Academy Trained and have common repair materials in the vehicles to solve the most pressing issues with assets.
While same-day service represents an ideal contingency plan for asset downtime, it pays to face as little damage to assets as possible. Investing in proactive maintenance is the ideal way to avoid downtime. A customized program for your company will keep your equipment in compliance with regulations and in line with original equipment manager specifications.
Request a Quote
Request a quote today to learn about new equipment that can improve the safety and performance of the personnel operating in your loading dock era. Better efficiency on the loading dock can have positive effects throughout the supply chain.