Understanding the Types of Dock Levelers Available
When constructing or upgrading a warehouse, one major consideration is how products are going to be moved onto and off of the dock connecting the warehouse to trucks. The dock is rarely perfectly level with the warehouse floor, which makes safely loading and unloading materials into a significant challenge.
A dock leveler is what solves that problem. A dock leveler is a type of ramp which can be moved up and down as needed, to bridge the gap between a truck and your dock. It creates a stable surface for loading and unloading, with far less chance of injury or breakage.
Depending on your situation, there are several types of dock levelers available that might meet your needs. Our team at Industrial Products Plus highlight some options.
Deciding Which Types of Dock Levelers Are Right for You
1) Mechanical Dock Levelers
These are the default “jack of all trades” dock levelers. They’re installed into a pit and use reliable mechanical parts to raise and lower the deck to create a stable surface. Usually, they utilize chains and pulleys, so they can be operated even without electric power.
2) Hydraulic Dock Levelers
Hydraulic levelers are the most popular option for high-use warehouses where you’d prefer push-button electro-mechanical operation. The hydraulic lifts controlling the docking surface can stand up to huge amounts of cargo, while remaining simple to raise and lower while needed. They are also among the most low-maintenance options, since hydraulic pistons rarely need servicing.
3) Air Dock Levelers
Air docks work in much the same way as hydraulic systems, except with a large airbag handling the lifting duty. These are more of a specialty device, an alternative which can function under extreme conditions -like high heat- which might cause problems for hydraulics. Otherwise, hydraulics are usually a better choice.
4) Edge-of-Dock Levelers
The main selling point of an edge-of-dock leveler is that, unlike most other types of dock levelers, they do not have to be installed in a pit. They’re more compact and can be installed right next to the dock. However, this does limit their strength and range of movement – but they’re cost-effective in warehouses where space is at a premium. Plus, edge-of-dock levelers are among the most affordable options.
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