The efficient flow of products in and out of warehouse is important in today’s highly competitive world. Therefore, design of loading and unloading dock is crucial to ensure seamless flow of products within warehouse without any chocking.
While designing warehouse dock, future requirements should always be addressed. Additional docks and more storage capability should be incorporated into the layout of warehouse prior to its construction. Another important factor to be considered while designing loading dock is safety. Please refer this article for more information on loading dock safety.
The answer to how to design loading dock or unloading dock is carefully considering below variables while designing loading dock area.
1) Trailer configurations
2) Dock approach
3) Apron space
4) Dock positioning
5) Door size
To service any type of vehicle by dock It is essential to recognize the bed height of the vehicles that will be visiting the loading dock with the highest frequency. This will determine the most appropriate design for the dock. Vehicles visiting warehouse dock with lesser frequency should be given secondary priority. However, due to the range of vehicles utilized by freight companies and product suppliers, it is vital to consider all the possible variations that can occur.
Typical truck bed height of the vehicles is 4 feet whereas smaller vehicle can come up with bed height of 1.5 feet.
The dock approach is the level of the surface used when backing vehicles into dock. Suitable design is a slightly inclined approach that allows water runoff away from the building. This will also help prevent the potential damage to the building from trailers that are severely angled while positioning into the dock.
The area required to manoeuvre and position vehicles into dock is called the apron space. To determine apron space, find out amount of room trailer takes for the movement. another important factors to calculate apron space is traffic flow and vehicle length.
A simple guideline to determine apron space is to take the longest possible truck length and multiply by two and consider factor of safety.
Dock positioning for dock design
Physical layout of dock positioning will be either along straight wall or with saw tooth dock arrangement. Dock positioning along straight wall is most commonly used arrangement. But when space is limited for vehicle positioning into dock, saw tooth dock arrangement is used.
Selecting the proper door size in terms of height and width is important while designing the loading dock. Improperly sized doors can create logistic headaches, reduced efficiency, and product damage. Attention to be given to both the range of trailers and the loading method of the product.
Considering vehicle width and height, dock doors can be set as 10 feet in width and 10 feet in height.
Types of Loading dock
Another important factor to consider while designing loading or unloading dock is type of loading dock required for the warehouse facility. Following are the major types of loading dock constructed for warehouses.
Flush loading dock
In this type loading dock, face of the dock and outside wall of the warehouse are in same line. Dock bumper should be extended outside the wall to avoid damages or accidents to loading dock and warehouse wall.
Enclosed loading dock
Enclosed loading docks safeguard vehicles and products from adverse climate conditions. However due to enclosed roof, construction cost is quite high.
Open roof loading dock
Open loading dock provides additional staging space. But cons of loading dock are chances of pilferage and environment exposure. Canopy may be provided over the dock area.
Saw tooth loading dock
When apron space is limited to maneuver the vehicles, then loading docks are designed as saw tooth. The con of designing saw tooth loading dock is that, usable dock space and staging is reduced