Raising the Platform

April 1, 2007
Dock bridge trims costs for fitness equipment manufacturer.

ICON Health & Fitness Inc. (Logan, Utah, gets Americans out of their seats and onto their feet with a well-known array of fitness brands including NordicTrack, HealthRider, Proform, Reebok, Weslo, Image, Weider and FreeMotion. It has 11 locations around the world and in 2005 produced nearly 4 million units of fitness equipment. The company's 2006 sales topped $852 million.

Continued growth led ICON to move distribution to a new 600,000-sq.-ft. facility in July 2005 near the port in Savannah, Ga. The facility does 12 turns a year with brisk traffic during the holidays. Along with full trucks going off to retail locations, the facility also processes individual orders coming off of infomercials, direct mail and its website. It's people also perform some light assembly. All in all, the new DC helped ICON get its product to market more effectively. Nevertheless, there were a few problems adjusting to the new building, particularly in regards to lift truck access.

Some product comes from Asia through the Port of Savannah and arrives via container. The problem arose when lift trucks attempted to back out of the trailer with a load of product. "We had edge-of-dock levelers and the bump on their ramp caused the load to hang up between the roof of the container and the dock doorway lintel," says Darren Turley, DC manager.

Though this did not happen all the time, drivers would often use one of the large-wheel lift trucks to muscle their way over the bump. But when traffic got busy some of the drivers would not have these trucks available to them. When the lift truck got stuck in the doorway the crew had to take time to get a yard jockey to raise the truck to smooth out the incline. Furthermore when boxes got wedged coming out of the truck, there was the risk of damaging product.

The solution was the LoadHog (Carrollton, Texas, modular dock bridge. "The LoadHog offers a much more gradual incline and our loads do not get trapped in the dock door," Turley says. ICON's own employees installed the dock bridge. Four bolts anchor it to the floor and eight attach the bumper assembly to the dock wall.

The design of the dock bridge stands up to ICON's heavy products—dumbbells, exercise bikes, elliptical machines and treadmills. When the truck is ready to be accessed and the doors are open, the user steps on the LoadHog's side mounted pedal to enable the vertically stored platform to descend into place until the lip contacts the truck bed. Once in place a security latch engages the spring counterbalance mechanism to ensure the bridge remains downwardly biased. When the truck is ready to leave the user pivots the operating handle to raise the deck to its stored and locked position. Ergonomically friendly, only 38 lbs of force is needed to raise the ramp, and no is bending required. When stored LoadHog protects the dock door against lift truck damage and provides protection against energy loss since the overhead door can close tight to the warehouse floor.

For its many customers, ICON Health & Fitness equipment defines fitness and helps its consumers lose weight. The new dock bridge helps ICON's dock to be in great shape as well.

Once the truck is ready to leave the dock, just 35 lbs of force is needed to raise the LoadHog dock bridge platform into position.

In the erect position, the LoadHog protects the dock doors against damage from forklifts.

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