Koch Foods, Inc. has built its top-notch reputation in the Poultry industry as a dependable source for a variety of quality poultry products, a portion of which are sold under the Koch label. The Koch supply chain is vertically integrated through their network of processing facilities and distribution centers throughout the Southeast and Midwest, being committed to the highest quality throughout the entire process. To ensure the chill stays on the dock when the product reach its distribution point at the Koch facility in Franklin Park, IL, the processor uses impactable dock doors to seal their doorways.
Maintaining the highest product quality is the primary objective of general manager Rich Barthel at the distribution center, and it starts at the dock. Among their food service accounts are many restaurant chains and hotels. "Maintaining adequate dock temperatures with no condensation is essential to product quality. To our company and to our customers, a bulging box is a damaged box," says Barthel.
The eleven impactable TKO Dock Doors on the 8,000 sq ft dock provide the Franklin Park facility with the quality protection demanded by Koch and their customers. The costs of dealing with a poorly sealed dock are also a major consideration. To completely control dock temperature, Koch also installed three larger impactable doors between the dock and heated interior rooms. The design of theses doors withstands moderate to severe panel and track damage.
"Koch continuously maintains dock temperatures between 32 to 34°F and if there is any warm air seeping in it is going to require more kilowatt hour demand/electrical supply cost to maintain the desired dock temperatures," notes Barthel.
This very busy dock also handles chilled fresh product, which is in and out of the facility the same day, along with frozen product that turns quickly.
Minimizing refrigeration and maintenance costs are a major objective of the operating plan. Back in 2001 when Koch Management was planning the construction of the Franklin Park DC, "due to our experience with serious space constraints on the docks at the Chicago Plant, it was the opinion of the Maintenance Manager and myself that it would be prudent to select impactable doors for the new DC," said Barthel.
Impactable door panels glide along an indestructible UHMW track on 3/4" spring-loaded, quick release, zinc-plated steel plungers. The track has a V-Groove cut into it, enabling the plungers to slide out when the panel is hit, preventing damage to the panel. Yet, the V-Groove prevents the door from being pushed in from the outside for dock security.
When the door is hit and the panel releases from the track, a quick pull on the plunger resets the door and it is back in operation in seconds. In addition to escaping damage, the quick reset means the doorway is always available for shipments and keeps delivery schedules intact.
According to Barthel, in over six years of operation, they have had to replaced just two panels. He estimates that in the same time period they would have had to take down and install three or four doors and a number of panels. Along with costly repairs, the damaged dock doors would have taken those doorways out of service for extended periods of time thereby reducing their ability to move trucks in and out in an efficient manner.
Koch places a high premium on having the door as a barrier against energy loss, but closing standard doors would not necessarily mean the doorway would be tightly sealed. Visit a similar dock and in many cases the side seal would be missing, and the impacted panels and sheet metal track would be misaligned allowing the loss of cold storage energy and threatening product quality. Additionally, the design of insulated impactable door panels provides an extra measure of energy loss protection. Rather than mounting the seal on the doorjamb, the impactable door seal is on the door panel and protected within the rugged V-Groove guide track. The seal is pulled out of the way of passing forklifts when the door opens.
Prospective and current customers often tour the Franklin Park facility and cleanliness and appearance are paramount. "We are held strictly accountable at all points along the supply chain and all our customers have the highest quality standards" notes Barthel.
"We are going to continue to do everything we can to insure the highest quality product. To have dock doors weeping warm air or the dock area dripping with condensation implies that we have a dirty environment."
Barthel points out that the impactable doors look as good as when they were installed.
"Thanks in part to the doors," says Barthel, "we are always ready for a visit any time customers drop by to check out our facility."
For more information about impactable dock doors, visit the TKO Dock Doors website at www.tkodoors.com.