Improve the Useful Life of Your Warehouse Dock Doors

September 07, 2018

Sooner or later, everything in your warehouse will need to be replaced. Everyday wear and tear can, over time, cause your warehouse equipment to break down and become less efficient (or even dangerous). This is as true of your warehouse dock doors as it is of your forklift batteries, industrial shelving, and other key warehouse components.

When the loading dock doors you use are exposed to frequent abuse, they’ll wear out faster, causing you to have to carry out major repairs or replacements that drive up costs for your warehouse operations. To improve the useful life of your warehouse dock doors, and thus reduce your total cost of ownership (TCO) for them, there are a few things that you can do:

1: Install Trailer Restraints

Even the most experienced drivers can easily make mistakes when backing a truck’s trailer into your loading docks. A slip of the foot, a misjudgment of distance between the trailer and the door, and all kinds of other mishaps can cause a driver to accidentally back their truck’s trailer right into the door.

This, of course, can cause significant damage to both the trailer and the loading dock doors.

One way to prolong the useful life of your warehouse dock doors is to install loading dock safety gear that is designed to prevent trailers from impacting the doors directly—such as trailer restraint systems.

These trailer restraints come in many varieties—some of which can even help to keep a trailer from backing up too far and hitting the dock door. This prevents trailers from smashing your warehouse dock doors, keeping them in top condition for longer.

2: Add Seals & Shelters for Your Industrial Dock Doors

The exterior parts of your warehouse’s dock doors are continuously going to be exposed to the elements. Wind, rain, dirt, bugs—there is no end to the list of things that can eat away at your dock doors.

Adding seals or shelters for your warehouse dock doors can help keep some of the elements away from the outer edges of the doors—helping to prevent excess wear and tear from daily exposure to the elements.

An additional benefit of using dock door seals and shelters is that they can help keep outdoor pests, wind, and rain from getting into your warehouse. This helps improve overall loading dock safety (preventing lost time safety incidents) as well as helping climate-controlled facilities stay sealed to maintain their interior climate (reducing climate control energy costs).

Of course, to ensure that your dock seals and shelters provide the optimum fit and performance, you’ll need to take into account your loading dock door dimensions so you get the right size seal/shelter for the job.

3: Routinely Inspect Dock Door Systems

In a busy warehouse, it can be all too easy to fall behind on basic maintenance tasks. Things like routine inspections can fall by the wayside when other aspects of your warehouse operations are clamoring for your attention. However, it’s important to frequently inspect your warehouse dock doors for signs of wear and tear, foreign objects, or other issues that could impede their safe operation.

The challenge here is that different types of industrial dock doors may have different components. For example, a sectional door might have a track that the door is pulled along, whereas a roll up door rolls into a container just above the doorway.

Any moving components should be free of foreign objects, and chains should be well-lubricated to prevent rust and breakage. Panels in a sectional or roll up door should be checked for signs of significant denting, as this can prevent the door from sliding/rolling into place smoothly—causing jams.

Lighting systems near the warehouse dock should also be inspected to make sure that they can provide sufficient illumination to ensure safety around the loading dock. This is important for making sure truck drivers and forklift operators can see well enough to avoid collisions with the dock door.

4: Establish and Follow a Dock Door Maintenance Plan

Aside from inspecting your warehouse dock doors on a regular basis, it’s important to create a formal maintenance plan that takes into account the need for preventative maintenance, parts replacement, and safety surveys. This plan can help to keep your loading dock operations going at peak efficiency.

Being proactive with repairs can be a major time and money saver. For example, consider what can happen if the chain for pulling a sectional door breaks unexpectedly. At best, you simply won’t be able to keep that dock door open and will have to redirect traffic from that door to another one while you wait for the chain to be replaced. At worst, it could fall on an employee and cause severe injuries.

By creating and following a preventative maintenance plan, you could spot the issue with the chain before it breaks, replacing it quickly at a time that isn’t disruptive to your operations and preventing a sudden, catastrophic failure.

Need help finding the right industrial dock door systems for your warehouse operations? Or, would you like to take advantage of our planned maintenance services? Contact Southern States Dock & Door today for assistance.

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