The loading dock.
The gateway to warehouses and stockrooms. Whatever comes in or goes out, everything has to pass through the loading dock. That’s why it’s so important that a loading dock is equipped properly.
To make sure you have what you need, you start with what type of loading dock you have.
Types of Loading Dock
Typically when people think of a loading dock (or loading bay) they think of the elevated docks that match heights with semi-trailers. This is the most common example. However, some warehouses have their loading bay at ground level.
One could debate if this is technically a loading dock, but for all intends and purposes it serves the same function. For this post, however, we will be focusing on the traditional elevated loading bay.
Operating an Elevated Loading Dock
The nice thing about elevated loading docks is you can back a semi trailer right up to them and load directly from one to the other. Obviously you’ll want bumpers on the end of your loading dock so the trailer isn’t smashing into your building.
However, if you really want to be set, the next step would be dock levelers. Dock levelers are fixed to the end of the dock and are bookended by bumpers. This protects your dock and also gives the ability to bridge height differences between trailers.
Though elevated docks are meant to be level with semi-trailers, not all semitrailers are made equal. Not to mention the fact that other various loading trucks will probably be backing up to your loading dock. Depending on the dock leveler, you can clear a height difference of anywhere between 5 and 12 feet.
If your needs are a little more basic or you want a bit more versatility, a dock plate will do a great job of bridging the gap between the loading dock and the vehicle parked in your bay.
A dock plates are lightweight and easy to move by hand. They’re perfect for foot traffic as well as pallet jacks and carts. If you’re going to be using heavy equipment and moving larger freight, you’ll want to bring out the dock boards. They’re similar to dock plates but are much stronger with curbed steel edges.
Just Remember to Mind the Gap
Elevated dock areas can be dangerous. Always make sure to be using the right equipment in the right way. Otherwise people could get injured or your product could be destroyed by tipping over or falling off the edge.
The better equipped you are, the safer your loading dock will be.