Modular enclosure keeps the loading dock in its place
June 01, 2013 - MMH Editorial
Cradles to Crayons (C2C) is a non-profit organization serving homeless and low-income children in Boston and Philadelphia. When C2C Boston relocated its “Giving Factory” warehouse and operations center to a new building, they encountered challenges in the loading dock area. Used for truck deliveries and customer drop-offs, the loading dock was open to the rest of the warehouse, creating weather and temperature problems.
In the warehouse, volunteers and staff inspect, sort and package all the donated materials. To keep workers comfortable and productive during the Boston winter, C2C wanted to enclose its loading dock area to help keep the snow, sleet and cold temperatures out. However, C2C also wanted the flexibility to open the area when the weather was nice.
Working with an equipment supplier (Zoneworks, zoneworks.com) and facilities consultants, C2C decided to install a loading dock enclosure consisting of flexible, insulated wall panels constructed with layers of industrial vinyl fabric wrapped around anti-microbial polyester batting.
The loading dock curtain walls have helped C2C keep its volunteers and staff comfortable year round. “We like our cool purple curtain wall more than a traditional wall,” says Sally Sharp Lehman, C2C’s director of operations. “It gives us the flexibility to close off the loading dock area during really cold or really hot days, but also allows us to open the warehouse for the beautiful days, which is great since our warehouse doesn’t have air conditioning. The insulated loading dock curtains do an excellent job and provide a noticeable temperature difference that has helped us to save on winter heating costs.”
The fabric curtain walls are made of 5-foot wide panels interconnected with Velcro to span the width of a given space. It can be installed as a stationary system or, as in the case of C2C Boston, walls that slide open and closed. A portion of the warehouse’s enclosure also included semi-permanent traffic doors that provide access for pedestrians, pushcarts and forklifts.