Loading Dock Shelter Buyer's Guide

Are you considering the purchase of a loading dock shelter for your facility? Whether your company has been at the same location for decades or is moving to a new facility, ensuring that you select the correct loading dock enclosure for your needs is crucial. Buying the proper dock shelter for your loading dock will benefit your business by protecting against energy loss, product damage, safety hazards, diminished employee comfort, quality inspection concerns, and contamination risks.

What Are Dock Shelters?

Dock shelters are used at loading docks to maintain the indoor loading dock environment. They help seal the space between the trailer and the building during the loading and unloading process. Dock shelters seal the perimeter of a trailer by applying pressure against it using fabric curtains fitted with fiberglass stays. They deliver a wide host of benefits, including long-lasting durability, full access to the trailer, and the ability to serve a wide range of trailers and loading dock applications.

Before selecting which loading dock door shelter is best for your facility, it is important to understand that dock shelters and dock seals are not synonymous. Understanding the differences between a dock shelter and dock seal - their functionality and the unique applications they serve - is essential for selecting the right product.

Are Dock Shelters Worth the Investment?

Oftentimes, to justify the cost of a facility improvement, a cost-benefit analysis needs to be performed before moving ahead with a purchase. The research backing the benefits of dock shelters is unmistakable. Not only can dock door air gaps cost you money, but they can also result in costs related to worker safety.

  • The total annual cost of gaps in your dock doors can range between hundreds to thousands of dollars per dock position.
  • Gaps can also lead to safety issues — wet conditions at the loading dock that lead to worker injuries, and the entry of pests and contaminants into your facility that can lead to inspection failures.

What Should You Consider When Installing a Loading Dock Shelter?

Because there are so many different types of dock shelters available, there are numerous factors to consider before placing your order. Although not an exhaustive list, below are some of the core considerations to make as you decide which loading dock door shelter is ideal for your loading bay:

  • What types of trucks is your business receiving at the loading docks?
  • What are the sizes of your dock doors? How much space is around the doors on the outside of your building?
  • What type of load configurations do you typically send or receive at your dock?
  • What level of sealing efficiency and durability do you desire?
  • What is your budget?
  • Do you want a warranty/satisfaction guarantee to accompany the installation?

Do I Need a New or Upgraded Dock Shelter?

If your facility is already equipped with dock shelters, it is easy to tell if you are due for a replacement or upgrade.

  • If a trailer is parked at a dock door with an existing shelter and you can still see the light coming in around the perimeter of the truck, it is time to consider some level of repair or replacement. Consult with a loading dock repair expert in your area to see how the gaps can be sealed, whether that is with shelter upgrades, peripheral sealing products, or a new dock enclosure.
  • Inspect the integrity of all dock shelter components. If your dock shelters are showing signs of wear and tear, an upgrade could be appropriate to pursue.

Types of Rite-Hite Loading Dock Shelters

Rite-Hite is proud to offer nine different types of dock shelter models for your loading bay/dock doors.

Soft-Sided Dock Shelters:

Rigid Dock Shelters:

Inflatable Dock Shelters:

Rail Shelters:

Explore the benefits and functionality of each dock shelter to learn more about which option is right for your company.

Have questions related to our line of loading dock shelters? Contact our team of professionals today to get the answers you need, and to schedule your dock shelter installation.

Talk to a Local Rite-Hite Rep Today

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