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We talk a lot about loading docks here at Strip Curtains Direct after all a lot of what we do is concerned with providing PVC roll for warehouse environments. Loading docks perform a crucial function for warehouses as they are the link between the manufacturing, transport and storage functions of most industries. But what is a loading bay and why are there different types?
What is a loading bay?
A loading bay, or loading dock as it is sometimes known, is the area within a warehouse where goods vehicles are loaded and unloaded. They are the main point of contact when it comes to the movement of goods.
What is the purpose of a loading bay?
As they are concerned with the loading and unloading of goods, the main purpose of a loading bay is to facilitate the movement of goods in and out of the warehouse in as safe a way as possible. They tend to be the most fast-paced area within the warehouse as vehicle traffic and workers will be continually moving around the area, and so health and safety are key. We have covered this in previous blog posts.
What are the different types of loading bay?
There is not one design of loading bay which is fit for all purposes, and this is why there are so many different designs used today. Let us take a look at some of them:
This is the name given to loading bays which feature a sloped driveway and are usually found in warehouses where there is no basement or dock floor level. It is crucial in these cases that the driveway grade does not exceed 10% or you may find that your trucks topple over as they cannot hit the wall of the building. A higher grade may also cause issues in wet weather conditions as the vehicles may not be able to pull away.
This design of bay tends to be used when climate control or security is an issue, as they are designed to allow trucks to park inside the warehouse during loading and unloading. They tend not to be a standard design used in the UK due to the high cost of construction and limited space that there tends to be. If you do go for an enclosed bay design, you also need to take into account ventilation costs, as vehicle exhaust fumes will be higher in this area.
This is the most common dock design used in the UK today as the face of the dock is flush with the outside wall of the building. In order to avoid damage to trucks through this type of bay will be built with a bumper which extends four inches beyond the exterior wall of the building.
These are not generally recommended today as they mean that not only will the goods be exposed to the weather while being loaded and unloaded, but they are also not great from a security point of view either. If you inherit one of these bays, then you should think about installing a canopy to at least protect your employees and goods from the weather.
Saw Tooth Bay
These are the most common types of loading bays when there is limited space in the area as they consist of angled spaces for the trucks to unload which are aligned next to one another. They require less manoeuvring space as the trucks will be lined up in the driveway direction already, but they will need more building space.
As you can see loading dock design plays an important role in ensuring the efficient movement of stock throughout the supply chain.