Understanding When to Repair or Replace Loading Dock Equipment
The loading dock is an area where the safety, productivity and efficiency of your facility is put to the test. Taking the time to ensure that key pieces of equipment are damage-free and in prime working order is essential in keeping things running smoothly and safely — no piece of equipment should evade routine inspection and maintenance. And while you should always consult a trusted team of preventative maintenance specialists, it also helps to have a basic understanding of when to repair or replace loading dock equipment.
In this article, we will cover some signs that your key loading dock & overhead door equipment may need repair or maintenance.
Preventative maintenance involves inspecting, servicing and maintaining facility equipment at regular and routine intervals to ensure proper functionality and avoid unexpected breakdowns. Industrial facilities can be hectic, dynamic places. As a result, there is always a risk that operational accidents and mechanical breakdowns can occur. Unscheduled periods of downtime can put facilities behind, affecting customer and stakeholder satisfaction. This is why the idea of preventative maintenance is so important.
Preventative Maintenance From Lenworth:Lenworth’s Preferred Service Program (PSP) is a preventative maintenance service meant to mitigate facility risk. There are a number of tangible items that our Preferred Service Customers can take advantage of to ensure their facilities are operating at maximum efficiency, and to maintain facility equipment that is safe & reliable. Learn more here!
Signs Your Loading Dock Leveler May Need Repair or Replacement
Loading dock levelers are essential to loading and unloading procedures. They act as a bridge between your facility and truck trailer, ensuring that employees and forklift operators can bridge this gap safely and perform their duties efficiently. As such, keeping an eye on these pieces of equipment for any signs of malfunction or waning performance is very important. Here are some key signs to look out for:
Cracked Beam Welds
Check the beams of your dock leveler for visible cracks. The welding that affixes the beam should be solid and appear intact. Even the smallest cracks can signal major problems down the line.
Dock Platform Issues
If the dock platform has visible waves or grooves in the surface, this is a clear sign that the steel is either dangerously stretched or fatigued. If you notice this, cease all dock leveler activity immediately and call a qualified technician to assess the situation.
The Dock is Not Raising (Or Raises Slowly)
If the dock of your mechanical or automatic leveler is not raising— it isn’t working properly. This is cause for a repair rather than a full replacement. Conversely, a slow dock leveler can mean lost time and lost money. A hydraulic leveler and mechanical dock leveler experience changes in speed for different reasons. As a result, it’s best to call a technician to assess your unique model.
The Dock Leveler Lip Does Not Fully Extend or Close Properly
The lip extends to create a bridge between your facility and the trailer parked at your loading dock. If the lip is failing to extend, the leveler is damaged to the point of being unusable. A variety of mechanical issues could be the source of this problem. Consequently, you should have the leveler assessed to determine what type of repair is necessary.
Similarly, the dock lip must fully close to ensure safety while joining a trailer or truck to the deck. Thankfully, a simple mechanical repair can fix the issue. That said, you should have it repaired the moment you notice the issue.
It’s important to check the dock pit after a dock leveler is in use for an extended period of time or after a high frequency of cycles. A damaged and leaking powerpack or hose can cause excess oil to build up in the pit—this can cause problems and interfere with normal functioning.
Signs Your Loading Dock Overhead Doors May Need Repair or Replacement
Aside from the fact that the majority of traditional overhead doors are hard-edged and composed of heavy, rigid parts, these systems are inefficient, prone to failure, and can lead to accidents in high-traffic areas without routine maintenance and inspection. Here are a few warning signs to keep in mind.
Slow Opening & Closing Speeds
While this is not necessarily a sign of damage, slow overhead door cycle times can create inefficiencies, sub-optimal working conditions, and a lack of temperature control. For facilities looking to address these slow cycle times, High-Speed Overhead Doors present an excellent solution.
Compared to a standard overhead door, high-speed doors are up to 10 times faster, moving at speeds of up to 140 inches per second in some cases. This difference of seconds may seem small, but when you consider the amount of open/close cycles loading dock doors complete on a given day, the difference becomes significant.
Over time, the heavy-duty cables that support the operation of traditional loading dock overhead doors can fray, lose tension or snap. If your door system shakes during opening or closing, fails to open, or opens with excessive noise, this could be a sign of cable degradation.
Damaged, Clogged, or Misaligned Tracks
Many traditional loading dock overhead doors run on tracks that guide the door up and down. Whether by wear and tear, extensive use in high-traffic facilities, or accidental contact, these tracks can become misaligned or damaged. They can also become blocked or clogged as dirt and/or debris builds up over time. Once impacted, these tracks will prevent your system from running properly and create a number of issues. Depending on the severity of the damage, a technician can straighten or reinforce these tracks. However, the doors or tracks may also need to be replaced entirely.
Faulty or Damaged Door Sensors
Door systems that use photo-eye sensors can run into problems when these sensors become dirty, damaged, or misaligned over time. If your door system begins to run into issues opening and closing normally, a sensor issue could be to blame. Consult a trained technician to reset your sensors or replace them completely.
Door Panel Issues
It’s common for interior and exterior overhead door panels to become damaged over time. This can happen due to wear and tear, impact damage, or damage caused by the elements. If you notice any damaged door panels on any of your overhead doors, it’s important to address the damage right away. While the damage may seem minor, it may lead to bigger issues over time.
Signs Of Improperly Sealed Loading Dock Doors
Energy efficiency and environmental control in warehouses and other industrial facilities should be a year-round priority for facility managers. With the amount of time that loading dock doors remain open for loading and unloading purposes, the need for an airtight seal between the trailer and the dock is essential. If you notice the following signs, it’s important to have your loading dock doors inspected and properly sealed.
Reduced Indoor Climate Control & Inflated Energy Costs
It’s essential to maintain as much climate control as possible in and around the loading dock area. This is especially important in high-traffic facilities during periods of extreme heat and cold. When opened, improperly sealed loading dock doors can lead to excess air penetration and increased exposure to extreme temperatures. Not only can this lead to uncomfortable working conditions, but it can also lead to inefficient energy use and inflated heating and cooling costs.
Excessive Rain, Wind, or Snow Penetration
Loading dock doors should be able to provide effective, lasting protection against the elements, especially when they are open for loading and unloading purposes. Improperly sealed doors and exposed perimeter gaps can lead to working conditions that are both unsafe and uncomfortable. If you or your employees are contending with wet, slippery floors during periods of rain or snow, wind penetration on gusty days, or even the appearance of dust, dirt, or bugs in and around the loading dock, it’s time to address the integrity of your loading dock doors, add additional protection or replace the doors/seals altogether.
The Solution: Add, Upgrade, or Replace Dock Seals
Adjustable dock seals and shelters provide a layer of added protection around the edges of loading dock doors. They can prevent unwanted air transfer and protect the loading dock area from external elements and extreme weather conditions. Ultimately, these simple additions to your loading dock door can lead to better working conditions, better climate control, and more efficient energy usage.
So if you currently have dock seals installed and are still noticing the problems listed above, or you are interested in installing them for the first time, Lenworth offers the solutions you need.
Adjustable Curtain Dock Seals form an airtight seal around loading dock openings. These seals are made with resilient foam pads covered by an abrasion-resistant fabric. They create a perfect canopy around the full perimeter of any trailer to keep warm air inside the facility and foul weather outside. These adjustable dock seals allow a facility to better control and maintain its internal environment. By containing warm air and preventing infiltration, they can help facilities reduce their energy costs.
Need to Repair or Replace Loading Dock Equipment? Contact Us Today!
If you’re looking to repair or replace loading dock equipment, contact us today! At Lenworth, we’re committed to doing things right and providing our customers and clients with the best services possible no matter the situation. This means providing the best-performing products and ensuring quick, reliable facility services and preventative maintenance through our Preferred Service Program (PSP).
In order for us to better accommodate you during this time, call ahead to book a showroom visit! One of our representatives will walk you through our lineup of high-quality products!
As the VP of Sales & Marketing, Spencer is an energetic and company-oriented manager that places an emphasis on continuous organizational improvement. Spencer's acute focus on building a customer-centric business drives his team to consistently go above and beyond customers' expectations. At Lenworth, Spencer places the customer as the focal point of all decisions.
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