Getting a handle on safe van loading


Composite door manufacturer Solidor has installed two van docking ramps from Thorworld Industries at its new Stoke-On-Trent facility, resulting in significant improvements to both the safety and efficiency of its loading operations.

During the design phase of its new facility, Solidor had originally specified adjustable dock levellers from another manufacturer. However, after moving into the premises in June 2022, Solidor discovered that the dock levellers were unsuitable for the vans used by the company’s logistics partners. Crucially, they couldn’t be lowered enough to allow the vans to be loaded or unloaded at the dock.

This led to a significant logistics challenge as Neil Bancroft, Operations Director at Solidor, explained: “Our original loading dock design didn’t consider the array of different vehicle sizes we use, which left us with significant ergonomic and safety issues for our loading operations.

“Safety is our number one priority at Solidor, and we needed a new solution that both met our high standards and allowed us to fully utilise our loading infrastructure.” 

Thorworld, through its dealer Loading Bay Service Ltd, designed, delivered, and installed a complete loading solution. This consisted of two mobile van ramps, complete with additional safety features such as Bimagrip Antislip coating, expanded metal decking and side access platforms.

Solidor’s drivers were involved in the selection and design phase of the project, providing vital feedback to ensure the most user-friendly solution. The van loading ramps were also supplied in non-standard Saffire Blue (RAL 5003) paint as per request.The new loading solution now allows vans to reverse directly to the facility loading bay, yielding a significant improvement in safety and resulting in a much smoother loading operation for the company.

Explaining why Solidor approached Thorworld, Neil Brancroft added: “We needed a robust turnkey solution and Thorworld was a local company that could do just that. The technical information, speed of delivery and expert advice provided was excellent and we’re really pleased with the level of service provided”. “The feedback from the drivers has been really positive, the new ramps are suitable for all our vehicle sizes and the safety risk has been eliminated”. 

Warren Craig, Director of Loading Bay Service Ltd commented: “This was a great project and we’re always happy to receive positive feedback from the people who use our solutions every day”. “Van ramp solutions such as this are becoming more common as businesses loading operations adapt to the rapidly changing logistics environment.”

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