Every warehouse has a loading dock. It’s where trucks and other vehicles are loaded and unloaded with goods—whether those are raw materials like wood or end products like furniture.
To keep loading docks running optimally, you sometimes need to replace various loading dock equipment. This helps ensure productivity and worker safety.
In this article, we’ll go over the different types of dock equipment and the process you should follow when replacing them. Let’s get started!
Understanding the Different Types of Dock Equipment
You may be surprised to learn that loading docks are made up of many components. It’s important to know what they are so that you only replace what’s needed. Here they are:
Dock boards. Sometimes known as dock platforms or dock plates, these are used to bridge the gap between the truck and the dock. Typically, they are flat and highly durable in order to support the weight of heavy loads.
Dock levelers. These are similar to dock boards. The main difference is that these can be lowered or raised in order to adjust to different-sized trucks. Many are also connected directly to the back of trucks instead of the dock itself.
Dock bumpers. These are used to protect the docking area from collisions with trucks. They can be mounted on the building, truck, or both.
Dock doors. These are used to secure the docking area when it’s not in use. Some dock doors function like regular doors. However, most are strip doors that hang vertically and are pulled up from the top to be opened.
Dock seals. These are seals between the docking area and the truck to help seamlessly connect the two.
Dock lights. These help light the docking area when dark so that workers can see better. They may also include warning and signal lights to help direct trucks to the docking area.
Dock shelters. These are overhangs that protect workers and supplies while loading and unloading a truck at the docking station.
Truck restraints. These help fix trucks into position at docks to help reduce the risk of a truck moving during the loading or unloading process.
Wheel guides. These help position a truck when entering a dock station so that it’s properly aligned with the loading dock.
Wheel chocks. These are wedges inserted behind a truck’s tires to help prevent it from moving while loading or unloading.
Looking to extend the service life of your forklift? Regular cleaning and maintenance may be your answer.
What’s the Mcguire Dock Leveler Replacement Process?
Now that you know the different types of dock equipment, let’s go over how to replace them. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
1. Assess the existing equipment.
The first step is to assess the loading equipment you already have. Is it working properly? Does it get stuck or otherwise slow down the loading or unloading process? If so, it may be time for a replacement. You’ll also want to watch out for any signs of wear and tear as this may be another indicator of a pending malfunction or safety issue.
2. Choose the right replacement equipment.
Once you’ve identified which parts of your dock need to be replaced, you can determine what you need to replace it with: a new dock leveler, bumper, seal, etc. It’s also important to check the specific dimensions of your loading dock so you get the right size of replacement equipment. Then be sure to weigh factors like cost, safety features, and ease of maintenance in your purchase decision.
3. Prepare the loading dock site for installation.
At this point, you should prepare the dock station for installation. Clear it of any obstacles and make sure the ground is level and stable. This will help the installation go much smoother and ensure there are no safety issues.
4. Hire a loading dock professional to install the new equipment.
Shop around for a reputable loading dock professional who can install your new dock equipment for you. Don’t do it yourself unless you have experience with this type of work. Trying to learn how to install docking equipment on the job could lead to costly mistakes.
The time it takes to install the new equipment will vary, but a good professional will get the job done in a prompt and satisfactory manner. Once finished, they should show you how to operate the new equipment so you can teach your warehouse team how to use it.
5. Test the new dock equipment.
Once the equipment is installed, you should test it to make sure it works properly. You can run a test by having a truck back up to the loading dock. Proceed to connect with the truck via the dock leveler or board. The process should run smoothly. If there are any signs of malfunction, make note of them so that you can report them to the installer or the manufacturer. And don’t forget to check that the dock equipment safety features work properly!
6. Train employees on how to use the new dock equipment.
Now you’re ready to train your employees on how to use the new dock equipment. This is an important step since the new equipment won’t do you any good if nobody knows how to use it. Consider hosting a training session so that you can demonstrate proper use. Go over the new equipment’s operation, safety features, and proper maintenance. All of this is important for your warehouse staff to know.
HTX: Your One-Stop-shop for Mcguire Dock Leveler Services
Replacing dock equipment can be intimidating at first. But by following the steps above, you can have your loading dock upgraded in no time. Just don’t forget about safety and regular maintenance. If you can do that, your dock equipment replacement should last you a long time without causing any injuries or accidents.
Interested in taking your warehouse loading docks to the next level? HTX Handling has you covered. We have a variety of loading dock solutions for businesses of all sizes. Whether you need to replace a single piece of equipment or you want to overhaul your entire warehouse, we’re here to help. Feel free to contact us today to learn more about what we have to offer. We look forward to chatting!