Retrofit kits for dock levelers control temperature, dust and cost
April 01, 2013 - MMH Editorial
What began as a small women’s fashion shop in Duluth, Minn., in 1931, is now Maurices, a clothing retailer with more than 800 stores in 44 states across the country. The heavy dock traffic at its air-conditioned Iowa distribution center made it difficult to control temperatures. After installing dock leveler equipment designed to prevent the transfer of heat at dock doors, the company was able to save energy, improve worker comfort, and even take advantage of energy rebates from the local utility company.
The company’s 365,000-square-foot DC in Johnston, Iowa, is a hub serving stores across the country. The facility is air-conditioned, but keeping the cold air inside during the summer and outside during the winter was a challenge. Although brush weather seals were installed on the sides of dock levelers, air movement into and out of the facility was still a problem.
Retrofit kits (APS Resource, apsresource.4frontes.com) were deployed at each of the facility’s 33 docks to improve the seal between the dock leveler and the pit wall. The kits’ design closes off the gaps between the sides and rear of the dock leveler and the concrete pit walls that are typically missed by traditional weather seal or under-leveler seals attached to the front of the dock leveler. By preventing the mass flow of air, the kits minimize the transfer of heat and energy into and out of the facility.
In addition to helping prevent energy loss, the kits help block dirt, debris and pests that may enter the facility through the leveler gaps. Designed to fit many brands of dock levelers, the kits installed easily and require little to no maintenance. “It’s easy to use and it keeps the department cleaner,” says Tom Rupp, manager at the Johnston DC. “Once it’s installed, you don’t even have to think about it.”
In addition to temperature and dust control, the dock levelers helped the company take advantage of energy rebates totaling $300 per dock position, making the return on investment even quicker than anticipated.