Automated loading systems have become highly useful in the world of logistics and are a way of helping factories, warehouses and other operators to load and unload trailers and containers much quicker. Businesses use them as a tool to improve their efficiency, cutting loading times considerably, and conduct loading and unloading more safely when goods arrive at the loading docks or when the business is dispatching them.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at what automated loading systems are and how businesses can benefit from them. We’ll also take a look at loading methods, plus a deeper look at how Joloda approaches automation and how the company’s systems can make a difference to your loading processes.

 

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what are automated loading systems?

Automated loading systems are systems that allow you to load pallets and other items into a trailer or container, or remove them from them, with only a minimum amount of operation. That means they require little or no human effort. Some warehouse managers think if they had twice the amount of loading bays, their operation would be twice as efficient, but this isn’t the case. Automation creates efficiency.

Often, fully automated loading requires a combination of systems: one in the truck or trailer, and a fixed installation in the facility. Conveyors and other systems bolster efficiency. An automated loading and unloading system shifts the product from a standard system to a customised one, especially when combined with a conveyor. Streamlining loading and unloading processes captures the core principle of lean management: reducing time and labour wastage.

the benefits of automated loading systems

Investing in an automated loading system can have several main benefits:

  • efficiency;
  • better use of space;
  • elimination of inappropriate equipment and manoeuvres;
  • contribution to the creation of a safe, organised environment;
  • elimination of manual labour and health and safety risks;
  • avoidance of issues with a labour crisis;
  • systems that are effective across lots of different SKUs.

Efficiency

Automating your container loading and unloading will definitely speed things up. Not only will the system transfer items in and out of the container more quickly, but, unlike humans, automated systems don’t have to stop to take breaks. If you have high volumes of loading or unloading to conduct, the automated system will lighten the operation considerably so teams can power through the task.

Better use of space

The automated system will help you to make full use of the cargo space, rather than leaving cargo scattered around the loading dock. If you’re unloading goods, the system will deposit the goods all in a condensed area. The more efficient use of cargo space also means you’ll have more cargo space, should you receive an unexpected delivery of goods or have to conduct an unexpected dispatch.

Elimination of inappropriate equipment

By implementing an automated system designed specifically for loading and unloading, you’re avoiding the use of alternatives that could place staff at risk, and of damaging goods, equipment or the building in general. An automated system may also require less maintenance than the other equipment you’re using.

Contribution to the creation of a safe, organised environment

Operating with specialised equipment fosters a safe working environment. You’ll be encouraging good manufacturing practices (if you’re implementing the system in a manufacturing facility) and developing a more organised, more orderly premises. Staff will be able to locate goods easier, which will increase their own level of job satisfaction.

Removal of need for manual labour, and of health and safety risk

One of the main benefits of automated loading systems is that they reduce the need for manual labour and also the costs associated with it. Employing the minimal labour necessary allows operators to assign workers towards other tasks in the warehouse, terminal or other facility.

This becomes a key factor in the return time on your investment. Not only does the system remove a lot of manual labour, but it also eliminates a lot of health and safety risks, and, by extension, also spares the business the costs associated with these issues.

Few or no labour crisis issues

In the current climate, recruiting workers to load and unload containers and trailers is challenging. Installing an automated system will solve the problem by either removing the need to recruit for this or by minimising the amount of training necessary.

Some systems can tackle lots of different loads

Naturally, before you invest in any kind of automated loading system, you must assess your needs both in the present and in the future carefully so you can choose the best one. There are several systems out there that can tackle a wide range of loads and different sizes of pallets, so consider the different items you’re loading into your containers and from them, and select a system that meets your business’s needs.

loading automation methods

Of course, there’s more than one way to skin a cat, which means there are different automation methods you can implement when it comes to loading or unloading your trailers. Here are a few to consider:

  • automated guided vehicles (AGVs);
  • Automated Trailer Loading Systems (ATLS) with skates;
  • roller conveyor systems.

Automated Trailer Loading Systems

As you might expect from the name, these automated systems make use of skates that can connect the trailer with the loading dock. The operator merely loads the pallets or other goods onto the skates; then the skates can take care of the loading.

roller conveyor systems

Conveyor systems transport goods from one location of a facility to another and can connect up with trailers. Often, operators will set up roller conveyors in the reception and dispatch areas. They’re used to deposit pallets that are still to be unpacked or unbundled. The rollers on a conveyor will carry the load and propel it further along the circuit.

One of the benefits of roller conveyors is their high versatility. Operators can create a variety of different circuits with them. The conveyors are tough and durable, are firmly established pieces of equipment in the logistics industry, and are a fast and safe way to transport loads around warehouses.

Automated guided vehicles

Although used more for getting materials from A to B within warehouses and factories, AGVs are a major means of automated unloading. These vehicles are driverless pieces of technology that can retrieve raw materials from reception or other areas of a facility and carry them through to the production line. Without them, the production line can grind to a halt while it waits to receive the materials.

AGVs handle tasks that operators might normally call upon a manual cart, conveyor or forklift to address. Often, they transport raw materials such as rubber, plastic, metal and paper, and can deal with large volumes of materials.

our approach to trailer loading

At Joloda Hydraroll, we’re all about lightening the load and making your loading operations as swift and as safe as possible with our equipment. We understand how costly logistics operations are to run, which is why we offer a variety of automated systems to help you reduce your expenses and still increase the efficiency of your operations.

Our automated Loading systems reduce the number of employees necessary to conduct loading, and they also make loading and unloading safer by removing the need for forklifts to enter trailers. This reduces the amount of traffic in the loading area and decreases the potential for accidents.  To load the trailer, the operator simply places the pallets or other load onto the system and then pushes a button. The system takes over the loading from there.

We understand how complex it can be to implement such a solution in a business premises. When you decide to invest in a system, we’ll help you to determine the most suitable one for your warehouse or other business premises. We’ll also help you install it. The good news is the design of a lot of our systems will require you only to make minimal changes to your premises or trailers for installation, if any at all.

what difference can automated loading make?

McPherson is just one of the many companies who have benefited from implementing one of our automated systems. The company shifts tonnes of spirits around the UK and needed a fast, flexible loading system. Most importantly of all, they wanted one that was safe because they’d have to transport highly flammable liquids, in which case all equipment must be Atmosphere Explosive (Atex) compliant.

Enter Moving Floor Conveyor System, which is ATEX compliant and has sensors that are all fire and explosion-proof to ensure complete safety when moving heavy loads. The system restricts the movement of loads during transit. For extra safety, we fitted an automatic safety bar.

McPherson have been implementing our solutions for more than 20 years. Thanks to the use of the moving floor, the company can use the same trailers to deliver barrels of whisky between distilleries and bonds. The extra safety the system brings guarantees they can rely on this system to deliver their goods quickly and safely. The on-board control unit of the system works together with McPherson auto docks, but can also operate independently, which provides the company with the necessary flexibility.

If you think one of our automated loading solutions could be the piece of equipment your business needs to boost your logistics operations, contact us. We’ll be happy to advise you on the best system for you.

benefits of automated loading solutions

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100% end-of-line automation

Less labour required

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Reduction of All Operating Costs

Including, People, Trailers, and Forklifts (FLTs)

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Health and Safety

Reduced accident rate during high-volume loading and unloading.

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Reduction in CO2

No forklifts required and reduction in trailer fleet.

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return on investment

typical business case example

In the scenario that a business produces and ships a high number of pallets each day, we’ve put together an automated loading system typical business case example to help explain the benefits and how an ROI can be achieved with the investment of an automated loading system.

If a business is running a shuttle run from a factory to a warehouse and back again, they’ll benefit from an automated loading system with fewer people, trucks and forklifts.


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Wondering if an automatic loading and unloading solution is right for your warehouse, factory, or business?

Download our FREE Automated Loading Systems leaflet to find out how they can help streamline your operations and reduce your environmental impact. Plus, discover the benefits of our different automated loading systems, including Moving Floor, Slipchain and Trailerskate.


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less means more...

Joloda Icon Less Fuel Usage

LESS FLTS AND TRUCKS/TRAILERS

Less fuel consumption

Joloda Icon Environment

DECONGEST TRAFFIC

Less fuel consumption

Joloda Icon Product Damage

ELIMINATE PRODUCT DAMAGE

Less product waste

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why invest in an automated loading solution?

We've explained why you should consider investing in an automated loading solution, the features and benefits of our solutions and the return on investment you can come to expect from a tailored automated loading solution.

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Complete Guide

the benefits of automated loading systems

Working with an automated loading system brings with it many advantages for your business. It gives you an opportunity to increase efficiency, enhance worker safety, make room for flexibility and add savings. 

There are a variety of reasons why it is of benefit to rationalise as to whether the investment and The Benefits of Automated Loading Systems is worthwhile for so many businesses. Automated loading systems also have a longer lifespan, which provides your business with a higher return on investment. We’ve drawn on some of our most popular benefits here…


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