Going Green?

The Sustainable Loading Dock

The idea of going green and increasing sustainability is becoming a fact of corporate life, and the supply chain plays a major role in these efforts.  According to research conducted by an independent environmental consultant, the supply chain and logistics operations represent as much as 40 to 60 percent of a company’s environmental footprint.  The energy required for shipping products, heating and cooling the distribution facilities and fueling the trucks that transport products to their destinations all put a strain on the environment, natural resources and potentially companies’ bottom line.

A holistic awareness of the supply chain and its environmental, social and economic impacts is essential for companies that want to seize the opportunity to increase sustainability. Many facilities are making adjustments to policies and procedures that will allow them to run a more energy efficient business and many are turning their focus toward the loading dock.

Protect the Dock Door

Forklifts are essential for loading and unloading trailers. These vehicles are forced to maneuver product within a confined space which often results in damage to dock doors from fork lift impacts, especially when employing traditional metal overhead doors. These doors are similar to a standard garage door and are hardly built to survive a direct impact from a forklift.

As the name implies, TKO® impactable dock doors do not resist the force of the impact from a forklift or other material handling equipment.  Instead, the heavy-duty retractable plungers release the panel from the door guide absorbing the impact and preventing damage. A quick pull sets the door back in place, making it operational quickly and once again protecting the doorway against forklifts and energy loss.

Seal the Gaps at the Pit

Standard pit-mounted dock levelers provide safe trailer access for forklifts, but the nature of their design creates gaps along the perimeter of the leveler where air can escape and infiltrate, leading to energy loss or contamination.

However, Serco ENERGY GUARD™ is an advanced weatherseal system comprised of a combination of durable open-cell foam and heavy-duty vinyl that provides a superior perimeter seal along the sides and rear of the dock leveler to block dirt, debris, insects and most importantly prevents energy loss ENERGY GUARD can be factory installed on new Serco levelers or outfitted on most existing pit-style dock levelers .

Tighten the Seal on Trailers

Many docks utilize Serco dock seals or shelters to provide an effective barrier against the elements to keep the dock area safe and efficient.  Dock seals and shelters are a critical component in containing cooled air in the dock areas of temperature regulated and cold storage facilities.  These flexible structures can withstand damaging force and compression when a trailer backs up to the wall, providing years of reliable performance.

Shine the Light on Sustainability

Proper lighting on the dock and inside the trailer helps prevents injuries and damage to product. Replacing standard incandescent bulbs with energy efficient, long lasting LED lights which are available from APS Resource® can make a significant difference in energy usage. Studies have suggested that switching out 100 incandescent lights with LEDs can save the average warehouse facility $60,000 over the life of the lights.

Breeze into Energy Savings

Serco VELOCITY™ HVLS large fans were designed to create a comfortable environment for employees while maintaining an energy efficient facility. These fans produce a large cylindrical column of air to effectively circulate a variety of spaces and regulate the temperature of large facilities. The selection of sizes and power configurations are suitable for a variety of environments, and their ability to be run in forward and reverse enables year-round savings.

While Serco VELOCITY fans help to keep employees comfortable, they also can protect product integrity and improve working conditions in a facility.  Air circulation helps keep food and produce dry and fresh reducing spoilage while floor condensation is also minimized to keep floors drier and safer for foot and motorized traffic.

Execute Movements with Purpose

 Utilizing the proper loading dock equipment is the first step in maintaining sustainability on the loading dock. Configuring equipment to operate in a predetermined sequence ensures safe operation for dock workers while also providing more efficient operation of the equipment.

Serco Master Control Panels integrate the individual controls for vehicle restraints, dock levelers, overhead doors and dock lights into one control box.  This not only saves wiring and installation costs, but allows the equipment to be programmed such that the door cannot open or remain open and the dock light only runs while loading is in process.

A sealed loading dock area is key to a successful sustainability program. A properly designed loading dock system will enable operations to achieve both peak energy and optimal logistics efficiency. Product enters and leaves a facility through the loading dock area, and it is there that supply chain sustainability begins.

Posted by Stephanie Rogenski on Mon, Jun 11, 2012

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