New dock doors yield calm despite the storm
October 22, 2011 - MMH Editorial
You expect your dock doors to get a few bumps and bruises, but facilities in hurricane alley need an entirely different degree of ruggedness. When Florida-based Cheney Brothers installed heavy-duty dock doors, managers there got more than just protection from the occasional 150 mph wind. They also received a level of protection for refrigerated products from the tropical heat.
Controlling the chilled temperature was a challenge, according to plant manager Danny Wells. Door damage sometimes meant taking a door out of operation for repair, and damage was all too common.
At peak times, the dock floor was loaded with staged pallets, leaving little room for forklifts that are always trying to beat the clock. Forklifts frequently backed into doors, rammed them with pallets or clipped bottom panels.
“A lot of our door repair work involved replacing bottom panels,” says Wells. He considered using knockout bottom panels, but he knew that damage also occurred at other points in the door. Besides, all doors must meet Florida’s wind-load ratings, which poses a problem for those with knockout panels.
Door maintenance was costing Cheney about $6,000 a year, says Wells, and that didn’t count the increased energy costs that accrued just to keep the bay cool. What’s worse, the loss of doorways meant lost production and more man-hours as workers struggled to get more product through fewer doors.
The new doors meet all of Florida’s wind-resistance ratings and are certified to positive pressure up to 52 pounds per square foot and negative pressure up to 67.5 pounds per square foot.
The doors feature flexible panels and spring-loaded steel plungers that pop back into place after an impact. Sliding door locks enable workers to quickly transition from hurricane resistance to production. Wells says the bay holds its 40-degree temperature better than before, thanks to a weather seal around the door perimeter.
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