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Future Freight Networks : Yearbook 2017
BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN TRUCK AND LOADING BAY: HOW THE RIGHT DOCK LEVELLER OPTIMISES YOUR SUPPLY CHAIN Warehouses and distribution centres are becoming increasingly important. In Australia, while service related sectors are booming, manufacturing continues to decrease. This decrease has meant more goods are being imported. These goods are then stored in distribution centres and deployed to locations across the country. To underline this development, Deloitte has published a report, which shows a 3.49% higher growth of the transport and logistics industry in Australia than its global equivalent. One essential part of every logistics hub – that may be forgotten easily – is the interface between the truck and loading bay. Dock levellers are just as simple as they are important for smooth transfer of goods from trucks and trailers to loading docks and vice versa. There are two major types of dock levellers - mechanical and hydraulic dock levellers. Mechanical dock levellers have the advantage of not requiring electricity to be operated, but at the same time there are significant shortcomings in both productivity and safety, compared to hydraulic solutions. While mechanical applications need operators to physically adjust the deck of a dock leveller, for goods to be transferred, hydraulic dock levellers can be controlled by the push of a button. This allows necessary distance between machine and operators for hydraulic solutions, compared to mechanical units. The MHE-Demag Division Manager, Sales Rowland Hudd explains: “We find that many currently used dock levellers are still the old style mechanical solution. These units bear potential safety risks and diminish productivity at every loading bay. Knowledge about the right docking equipment is key for best practice goods flow.” When looking to purchase a dock leveller, there are four key criteria to consider: Dock leveller capacity is one of the most crucial factors when determining the type of dock leveller to use in any loading dock installation. The capacity refers to the total weight that can be evenly distributed across the deck of a dock leveller in the static position or the maximum weight that can travel across an extended leveller in use. Static capacity ratings for hydraulic dock levellers can range from 12 to 36 tonnes. However over 90 per cent of all dock levellers installed are within 22 tonnes capacity. Frequency of usage, weight of loads, percentage and rate of incline and decline of the leveller can influence the overall capacity of the leveller. There are two key determinants you can use to judge whether you have a reliable dock leveller: i. Structure of the deck, lip and hinge: The structural build of the dock leveller greatly influences its lifetime. Cold rolled profile I-beams are the sturdiest type of structural members. They have the highest structural strength to weight ratio when compared to U-beams, T-beams and angle bars. Therefore, dock levellers built with I-beams generally have the sturdiest decks. ii. Hydraulic system: A good hydraulic system lasts the entire lifespan of the dock leveller. On the other hand, under designed or substandard hydraulic components will end up giving endless headache to the user. In addition, the hydraulic system should also be easily accessible for periodic checks and maintenance. 1. Dock Leveller Capacity 2. Dock Leveller Reliability 501807A_MHE-Demag I 2318.indd 1 1/02/2017 3:06 PM