Levelers Boost Dock Safety
EP Editorial Staff | April 1, 2023
Vertical-storing levelers eliminate several dock safety issues and smooth forklift travel.
Since 1965, Glenroy Inc. has been an award-winning supplier of customized packaging and printing. Glenroy’s customer-focused development approach has allowed it to specialize in flexible packaging laminations and innovative stand-up pouches. Based in the Milwaukee suburb of Menomonee Falls, the company has developed a range of laminations, including high-barrier versions for “hard-to-hold” products. Process innovation and safe working conditions have also been critical factors in its growth—and were major considerations in the recent expansion of its distribution and manufacturing buildings.
Arbon Equipment Corp., Milwaukee, a Rite-Hite company (Milwaukee, ritehite.com) worked with Glenroy to identify and address their needs. From project start to installation, the Arbon team was able to guide the entire process and continues to assist with service needs.
For the five loading docks installed as part of the expansion, Glenroy chose Rite-Hite’s RHV vertical-storing levelers, which offer several benefits when compared to traditional pit-style levelers. From a maintenance standpoint, they are much safer and easier to work on since staff members don’t have to crawl underneath them to perform service in the pit. They also feature Safe-T-Pit, a safety sensor that disables leveler operation when personnel movement is detected. It will not allow operation to resume until the pit is cleared and the operator is safely at the control panel.
Additionally, the RHV is a power-up/power-down unit that requires constant control pressure to function. Removing pressure from the raise or lower buttons immediately stops movement.
“The vertically stored levelers are a drastic improvement for our maintenance team,” said Glenroy’s Maintenance and Facility Manager, Kevin Kluck. “We’ve definitely been happy with their serviceability. Our PM times are much shorter now.”
Vertical-storing levelers also have an operational benefit. When designed as part of a “drive-thru” dock configuration (as on two of Glenroy’s new docks), they allow workers to securely open trailer doors inside the building rather than placing pedestrians outside to unseal and open the doors before the trailer is backed into position. This not only keeps “boots off the ground” on the dangerous drive approach, but also minimizes air and pest infiltration and enhances cargo security and supply-chain integrity. Since vertical levelers allow overhead dock doors to close directly onto the ground, they minimize the outside air, dust, and humidity intrusion that can occur around gaps on traditional floor-style levelers.
“These vertically stored levelers allow us to close the overhead door and not see any ‘white light’ from leveler gaps,” said Kluck. “Our auditors prefer this style over traditional pit-style levelers.”
Rite-Hite’s levelers are engineered to provide the smoothest possible transition for forklifts moving from the warehouse floor to the trailer bed. Thanks to their Smooth Transition Dok System, they minimize the jolt (dock shock) that often occurs, helping to reduce the potential for chronic back injuries or damage to products and equipment.
The Smooth Transition system includes a constant-radius rear hinge that reduces the gap between the leveler deck and rear weldment, keeping the space consistent no matter the leveler position. It also offers a two-point crown control that reinforces the front hinge in two places, lowering the crown at the transition point from leveler deck to leveler lip. This reduces the “speed bump” effect lift drivers experience during loading. An optimized lip chamfer also helps reduce bumps, as it can be extended to a 3-in. length to provide the forklift with a more gradual transition from leveler lip to trailer bed floor. Safety features on the levelers include an extended lip length, which provides at least a 9-in. lip purchase inside the trailer bed, and an L-beam stringer design under the leveler deck for increased strength and flexibility. “The new levelers seem to provide a smoother transition from concrete to leveler to truck and back out for the forklift drivers who go over them multiple times a day,” Kluck noted.
Glenroy personnel have been pleased with the equipment installations in terms of operational improvements and the message they send to employees, customers, and auditors. “By choosing vertical levelers, we prioritized the safety and comfort of the forklift operators who’d be driving over the loading dock levelers and the maintenance techs who would be servicing them,” stated Kluck. EP
For more information about RHV levelers, visit ritehite.com.