The famous Chinese philosopher Confucius once said, “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
The same might be said about manual wheel chock systems that are designed to communicate operation status with drivers and dock personnel to ensure a safe and productive dock operation.
If you take time to conduct some research, you’ll quickly discover that the “smart” wheel chock systems available today are not all designed the same. That’s why it pays to know what to look for when deciding to invest in an intelligent wheel chock system for your facility.
Important features that you don’t want to overlook
Especially for those facilities that experience a high percentage of lift gate attachments, a manual wheel chock system such as the VERSACHOCK™ Wheel Chock Wireless Trailer Restraint System is the ideal solution.
VERSACHOCK is an effective and easy-to-use wireless trailer restraint system with full communication features that provide the ability to sequence with your dock leveler and door. And its wireless communication between the chocking unit and its controls means easier operation and placement, as well as a clutter-free driveway.
Just consider the following important VERSACHOCK features:
The Chock Itself
- A 6063 aluminum extrusion with clear hard anodize finish provides superior corrosion protection.
- A non-slip bottom offers better holding power on slick driveway surfaces. Also, a stainless steel sawtooth anchor prevents movement of the chock under wheel engagement.
- The chock’s aluminum handle is designed for easy grip and chock placement.
- A heavy-duty steel paddle in the chock’s face ensures proper placement of the chock. If the paddle in the chock is not depressed, the chock’s communication system will not activate.
- Once properly placed, the pivoting chock handle will lock in an upright position and expose its reflector to the chock’s communication beam (if the chock is not properly placed under the tire, the handle will fall to an approximate 45-degree angle).
Heavy-Duty Storage Cradle
- ¼-inch galvanized steel storage cradle design provides both secure wall-mounted storage for the chock as well as engagement detection lighting and sensor arm adjustability with all exterior power 24V DC.
- The two-fastener system cradle keeps driveways neat and the chock off of the ground.
Innovative Communication System
- VERSACHOCK’s storage cradle contains an attached laser sensor (24 volts) that’s adjusted horizontally and vertically for optimal positioning. The laser’s beam is cone-shaped and widens the farther it travels from the cradle. This maximizes the chock reflector’s ability to capture the beam.
- Laser beam features a rain shield for steady activation in inclement weather and is monochromatic meaning that it’s less sensitive to light than other sensors.
- Sensor in the storage cradle detects if the chock is in the correct storage position. When the chock is removed from the storage cradle, the outside LED communication light will turn red. The light will not return to green until the chock is correctly seated in its storage cradle. This helps to eliminate driveway clutter or damage to the VERSACHOCK unit itself.
- The storage cradle features a high-intensity white LED light that indicates when the laser sensor has acquired the reflector on the chock. This then turns the inside communication light green, eliminates guessing at engagement and provides a soft light source at night.
Which design features to clearly avoid
As mentioned earlier, not all intelligent manual wheel chock systems are designed the same. That’s why there are some features available that you would be better off avoiding. Such features include:
- A wheel chock system that relies on a tether between the chock and its communication system.
- Chock control rods that are difficult to operate, made of cheap material or material that might easily rust due to exposure to the elements.
- A wheel chock system that’s complex in operation or not aesthetically pleasing.
- Chocks that contain dangerous pinch points or sharp edges.
- A wheel chock system that is susceptible to debris accumulation which may hamper proper notification if not connected properly.
- Cumbersome or awkward energy extension springs and/or extension arms that are prone to excess wear and damage which can affect the system’s communication capability.
Simple instead of complex is always the best approach
When evaluating which intelligent wheel chock system is best for your facility, it’s smart to choose one that’s clean and simple, rather than complex.
A simple, intelligent wheel system that’s wireless (with no umbilical cord to get tangled or damaged), doesn’t require a permanent structure mounted to the drive, and is designed for clear and consistent operation — even during harsh weather extremes — is an investment that you’ll be pleased with for years to come.