Trends in Dock Design
Dock design trends and technologies are changing. Here are six points to consider.
By Tim Gibbons, ESI Group Vice President of Design
INCREASED USE OF VERTICAL STORING LEVELERS:
Vertical storage levelers are stored inside the dock in an upright position. This facilitates pit cleaning, eliminates transfer of cold/heat through the dock plate, and provides a clean seal at the bottom of the pit for the overhead door. This also reduces rodent infiltration.
INCREASING DOCK DEPTH:
Dock depth of 70’+ feet maximizes the operational capacity of the dock during receiving and shipping activities. An entire 53’ load of goods can be staged in front of the doors while there’s still room for perpendicular traffic at the back of the dock.
INCREASING DOCK HEIGHT:
A common misconception during facility design is that there are operational and construction material savings if dock height is reduced in relation to the warehouse. On the contrary, height advantages can include (1) reduced construction complexity resulting in lower costs, (2) greater mass of tempered air to reduce large swings in temperature due to sporadic infiltration, (3) even light distribution and (4) overhead storage above dock doors.
NEW INSULATED DOORS:
Overhead door manufacturers have redesigned dock doors, increased the level of insulation and effectively reduced air infiltration. These new doors actually yield an energy payback on cold docks when used in conjunction with the vertical storage levelers.
IMPROVED DOCK SHELTERS:
New dock designs and shelter accessories allow the trailer doors to swing open—after a truck backs in (rather than before). This preserves cold chain integrity (in refrigerated docks) and provides a smooth in-and-out sequence for drivers.
INCREASING RAIL USE:
There’s greater interest in rail docks with more shippers and end customers considering bulk purchase and transportation savings. Rail dock levelers are increasing in use and the related technology is improving, making these docks easier and safer to use and also provide the ability to better position cars for unloading/loading.