Paper360 - March/April 2018 - 54
techlink | LOADING DOCKS
Benefits of Drive-Through Design
Drive-through loading docks provide cleanliness, safety, and efficiency.
Since finished paper products
are typically designed to have words or images
printed on them or to package another product,
it is essential that they look-and are-clean.
When food and beverage labels or packaging
are being manufactured, cleanliness is more
than best practice: it's the law.
Any paper products that will eventually
store or come in contact with food or beverages
must comply with Food Safety Modernization
Act (FSMA) standards. This includes keeping
the loading dock clean, which is quite a challenge considering that the repeated opening
of dock doors during loading and unloading
is a prime opportunity for contaminants like
rain to enter. Additionally, the loading dock
is notoriously dangerous for workers and can
be highly inefficient in terms of energy use.
To address these challenges, an increasing
number of paper mills are upgrading their
loading dock areas with a new dock configuration: the "drive-through."
Unwanted intruders like rain, snow, dust,
and debris can easily make their way into a
paper mill through open loading dock doors.
Because of this, most facilities are good about
keeping doors closed when a truck isn't there
to be loaded or unloaded. However, most dock
stations still provide passageways for these contaminants to enter even when trucks are secured
to them and ready for loading and unloading.
When traditional trailers are docked and their
swing-open doors are opened, 1- to 2-inch gaps
often exist between the trailer and the edges
of the dock opening. While that might seem
insignificant at first glance, it equates to a
2.5-square-foot hole at just one dock opening.
Perhaps the worst gap of all exists at the top
of the dock opening. Many loading dock workers are all-too-familiar with the "waterfall" that
can form at the top of the trailer if the opening
is not completely sealed with a proper header.
These gaps also compromise temperature
and humidity control, which can further lead
A good dock shelter creates an environmental barrier between the back end of the semi-trailer and the
outside border of the dock opening.
to damaged goods. If not immediately damaged
by water intrusion, any surviving paper products are more susceptible to being crinkled or
torn when damp. That can mean entire orders
Considering the amount of energy it takes
to run a paper mill, the 2.5-foot hole described
is an unnecessary drain on resources. In fact,
these gaps around trailers can translate into
thousands of dollars flying out the door. Just
one dock position can represent anywhere
from US$600 to US$1,200 worth of lost energy
in a year. Multiply this over multiple dock
doors and the financial loss can be significant.
But the sides of the dock opening aren't the
only gaps in the building's perimeter. There's
also the "fourth side" of the dock - the bottom
end, where the leveler, trailer, and dock seal