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Raised loading dock simplifies despatch at KAB Seating

Using a mobile yardramp to load containers at KAB Seating was not in itself the complete answer. It had to be manoeuvred around the despatch yard by forklift truck so it was in the correct position against the floor of containers, amidst a constant movement of trucks and other forklifts in an area of restricted space.

Cost efficiencies and improved safety have resulted from the creation of a modular loading dock system, supplied by Barloworld Handling and designed and manufactured by Thorworld Industries.

KAB Seating is a world renowned manufacturer of seating systems. It specialises in seating for a wide variety of applications including vehicles used in the construction, agriculture, commercial, transport, municipal and marine sectors, as well as office chairs.

As there was no loading dock in the despatch area at its Northampton factory, the 11m long x 2.2m wide mobile yardramp was bought to load finished goods into container vehicles.

Once the ramp was moved into the correct position, a forklift truck drove up the ramp with the load and placed it in the container. When the container was full, the ramp had to be manoeuvred to another empty container for loading purposes.

The other method of loading was a two-man operation not involving the ramp. A man would be positioned in the empty container with a pallet truck. The load would be lifted into place at the open end of the container using a forklift truck. The man with the pallet truck then had to transfer the load to the enclosed end of the container, with the operation repeated until the container was full.

With the decision taken to improve the loading system, KAB Seating approached Barloworld Handling with a brief to devise an efficient, economic and safe solution to the problem.

Barloworld Handling called in loading bay equipment specialists Thorworld Industries, who designed and manufactured a 1.4m high raised modular loading dock. It incorporates three vehicle bays and utilises the existing yard ramp.

The size of the raised metal platform is 12m x 7.2m and consists of seven modular platform units. Each of the vehicle bays is fitted with a Thorworld 6,000kg capacity counter balanced drawbridge-type dock leveller measuring 2m wide x 1.5 long.

With the yard ramp in a fixed position it's now always a one-man job for a forklift truck operator to load containers. Vehicles are turned around more quickly and there's a safer working environment. Another advantage is that loading can be carried on into the evening and night when only one man is available.

To operate the Thorworld dock leveller, which is also available with a 4,000kg capacity, the foot lock is released and the leveller is lowered to the vehicle bed, with any height difference between vehicle and dock self-compensating. When not in use it is stored and locked in a vertical position.

This type of dock leveller, which has safety side curbs fitted as standard, is ideal for fitting to existing docks without the need for any structural work.

Thorworld Industries also supplied various accessories for the loading dock. They included bumper supports to eliminate possible damage when vehicles reverse up to the dock, wheel alignment curbs, safety handrails – including two that are removable so a forklift can place its load directly on to the platform floor if necessary- and two personnel safety ladders.

A three-man KAB Seating team comprised of project leader Kevin Johnston, facilities engineer Brian Bateman and facilities assistant Melvyn Hunt worked closely with Barloworld Handling and Thorworld Industries on the project.

Said Mr Bateman: “The modular loading dock system gives us three fixed loading areas, where none existed before. The loading of containers has been made much more efficient and we have removed the two-man loading operation.

“It's also safer for our despatch staff as we don't have to keep moving the yard ramp around. With the cost savings being achieved, the payback should be achieved in one year.”

Thorworld provides a one-stop, single source for a wide range of loading bay equipment and accessories, such as dock shelters & seals, dock levellers, dock plates & boards, dock & vehicle bumpers and modular loading docks, together with the provision of mobile yardramps, for purchase or rental on a sale or return basis, through their specialist RentARamp operation, as well as the Truckloada mobile yardlift and the Dockloada scissor lift platform.

The company is now firmly established as a leading supplier to the loading bay and materials handling sectors, with numerous prestigious customers, throughout the UK and mainland Europe, in distribution, logistics, transport, retailing, food, drink, manufacturing, recycling and the service industries.

Tel: 01246 260981. Fax: 01246 260493. Email: info@thorworld.co.uk Web: www.thorworld.co.uk

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