Easilift is top of the pods for logistics operations
09 June 2009
Easilift Loading Systems' Sales Director, David Whyatt, explains how loading dock pods deliver substantial benefits with increased productivity.
During the current economic climate, more and more companies are taking measures to reduce costs and increase productivity in order to become more efficient in all their business operations, including the vitally important loading and unloading function where there has been an increasing use of dock pods – also referred to as loading houses – at warehouses and distribution centres across the country.
A dock pod is a complete stand-alone loading bay enclosure which can be installed directly on to the external face of a building. Typically fitted with a dock seal, dock leveller or scissor lift and a sectional insulated overhead door, they are suitable for new buildings, extensions and refurbishments.
Easilift is one of the pioneers in the design and installation of loading dock pod systems and are therefore highly experienced with a proven track record in this specialist area.
There are numerous factors accounting for their ever increasing popularity – particularly in todays' highly competitive ‘belt-tightening’ business environment. They do not take up valuable internal warehouse space and maintain the loading and unloading function within a separate and distinctly confined area. With no cross traffic to worry about, this is a significant health and safety benefit.
The installation of a dock pod does not require any major civil engineering work or building modifications, as there is no need for a hole or pit to be created in the floor. Dock Pods are quick and easy to erect, without disruption to the inner warehouse operations. Their lightweight but exceptionally strong structure, provides an insulated, hygienic, weatherproof area with resulting energy saving potential, making them ideal for ambient and temperature controlled buildings such as cold stores.
Easilift dock pods are highly flexible and purpose-designed, with different options for the main construction materials and equipment to suit individual customer requirements. For example, pods can be equipped with a surface mounted scissor lift platform, instead of a dock leveller, for use with the latest double-deck trailers now being widely utilised by major high street retailers and logistics companies due to their increased load capacity which can help minimise journey cycles, fleet size, fuel and labour costs.
At Livingston, Scotland, we fitted bespoke exterior dock leveller pods to 162 of the 179 loading bays in the one million sq ft development; all incorporating swing lip type ‘PowerRamp’ dock levellers and insulated electrically-operated sectional overhead ‘PowerDoors’. A further 17 scissor lift dock pods, designed to integrate with Tesco’s fixed bed double-deck trailers are equipped with scissor lifts. They are capable of carrying 36 roll cages and an operator safely between the two fixed vehicle beds and the loading dock.
Similar Easilift pod systems, with swing lip type ‘PowerRamp’ dock levellers and PowerDoors, were supplied for 100 of the 108 bays at Tesco’s 850,000 sq ft Fradley Park, Lichfield, regional distribution centre. A further eight pods were equipped with 36 cage scissor lifts, plus insulated sectional overhead ‘PowerDoors’ and shelters.
Tescos' 700,000 sq ft Goole national distribution centre was almost identical to Lichfield, with Easilift dock pods, comprising swing lip type ‘PowerRamp’ dock levellers and ‘PowerDoors’ being supplied for 100 out of the 108 loading bays. And, once again, a further eight pods were equipped with 36 cage scissor lifts, plus insulated sectional overhead ‘PowerDoors’ and shelters.
The numerous advantages of dock pods in saving time, space and money, and delivering increased safety combined with vastly improved productivity, explains why they are now becoming such a common site in warehouses and distribution centres throughout the UK.
Easilift Dock Pods are complemented by a full installation and after-sales service, which includes the provision of preventive maintenance programmes designed to avoid costly loading bay down-time.