The warehousing industry has made quite a lot of technological advancements over the years. One element which has gained significant importance is a dock leveler, mainly because it is crucial for unloading and loading trailers and trucks. Most importantly, dock levelers help reduce the chances of accidents.
Safer working conditions lead to better work environments and happier employees, and happier employees lead to a productive business.
Before we discuss the importance of such levelers, let’s first understand what these levelers for docks are and how they function.
What Are Dock Levelers?
To put it in simple terms, dock levelers are permanent fixtures placed at the dock’s door. It primarily comprises of a metal plate known as a lip. It is placed in a stowed position and functions by being lowered onto the trailer’s or truck’s body.
These levelers are responsible for various functions and can either be telescopic or hinged. Similarly, they can also be automatic or manual.
Different Types Of Dock Levelers
Having the correct dock leveler considering your truck’s height and load capacity is essential for smooth and safe unloading and loading operations. When it comes to the type of dock levelers available, there are different kinds with different functionalities.
Let’s take a look at the various kinds of dock levelers:
Air-powered dock levelers are very popular with warehouses because they are economical, simple, and reliable. Moving parts in air-powered levelers are few and are easy to maintain, making them low-cost to own, too.
For loading docks that receive a higher volume of loading and unloading operations, a hydraulic dock leveler is best suited. These are more powerful and rugged. They are capable of handling the workload of even the highest volume leading docks.
If the loading dock doesn’t have an electrical supply, then a mechanical leveler is the ideal option for you. Mechanical levelers are an economical choice because, again, they don’t require an electrical supply to function. They are either operated via a spring or a pull chain.
Dock Levelers-Varying Functionalities
Primarily, there are three different kinds of operations when it comes to levelers used at docks. When you purchase your preferred type of dock leveler, with keeping its purpose and functionality in mind, you get to enjoy better-operating results as well as efficient and smoother loading from the dock.
Vertical style loading dock levelers
These levelers also function as a barrier in facilities where cleanliness, energy efficiency, and climate control are quite important. As the name suggests, when not in use, these levelers can rise to a vertical position, thus minimizing the transfer of cold and heat between the external and internal environments.
These levelers are also designed to offer easy access to the leveler pit for easy maintenance and cleaning. Ideally, these are best suited for clean room environments and cold storage warehouses.
Edge of dock levelers
An affordable option most commonly used in light-volume loading bays is the edge of dock leveler. Unlike other kinds of levelers, these don’t need a pit to be installed. Instead, these can be simply mounted to the edge of the dock, hence the name. Such levelers replace portable plates and offer more safety. Plus, compared to other leveler systems, these are much easier to install.
Such levelers are most suited for docks that have a fleet of trucks. These are also best in cases where the truck floor is less than three inches off of the dock floor because of a limited service range.
Pit style leveler
Pit style levelers also known as recessed style levelers are the most common kind. They are commonly found at the warehouse dock in the recessed concrete openings. You can find such type of levelers in different capacities and sizes to match your company’s needs.
The Importance Of Dock Levelers
Unlike truck lifts, dock plates, and dock boards, dock levelers are highly functional. Primarily, this is because of how feature-rich they are.
In most cases, your dock will not match the height of all the trucks that serve your loading zone which is why dock levelers are quite essential.
When your dock and the truck’s height doesn’t match, there is a gap left between the truck and dock which not only makes it cumbersome for you to load at your dock but dangerous, too.
Dock levelers can form a permanent part of the dock, thus bridging the gap between the dock and the truck or the warehouse floor, too.
Dock levelers are worth investing for the following reasons:
- They are sturdy and are capable of carrying heavy loads.
- Many types are highly suitable for motorized forklifts.
- With such levelers, safety in the warehouse is vastly improved. According to safety regulations, all dock levelers have restricted and fixed ranges. Thus, individuals are only allowed to install these levelers in a standardized dock height and design which ultimately ensures security.
- They ensure an easy and smooth transition between the trailers and docks. As a result, this prevents various warehouse accidents that could lead to serious damage and injury.
- They are particularly designed to absorb bumps and shocks during the daily unloading and loading process that goes on at the dock.
- They are known to improve the efficiency and the effectiveness of your unloading and loading operations.
- Such levelers are not only durable but also come with a low maintenance cost because of the material they are made of and the number of parts they have.
Choosing The Right Dock Levelers
Before you settle on a dock leveler, you should consider the following factors so you can pick the ideal option:
What you need the leveler for
When determining the right leveler, you need to determine whether you will be using a pallet jack or forklift to load and unload the trucks, and how much weight capacity you will need.
Meanwhile, levelers like the hydraulic ones are well-suited for handling heavy loads. Similarly, if you have wide trailers coming to your dock, then make sure you choose one that is functional enough to meet all those needs.
The width and the length of the dock leveler are determined by the vehicles that come to your warehouse. High capacity trailers with a bed of 6-18 inches have become quite popular.
Similarly, low profile tires and air ride suspensions are also gaining popularity. These create a huge gap between the truck bed and the dock. In such cases, you need a dock leveler that is long enough to ensure a smooth operation.
Safety of your workers and your workplace is imperative if you wish to run a productive business. Therefore, you need a safe dock leveler. Take the time before deciding on a dock leveler to make sure all factors regarding the goods being loading and off loaded and the truck specs are taken into consideration.
Contact Authority Dock & Door When It Comes To Installing Dock Levelers For Your Facility
If you want a trustworthy and high quality service provider for the installation of dock levelers, Authority Dock & Door is your best option.
Not only do they offer various kinds of dock levelers, but the team of experts that Authority Dock & Door has is ready to help choose a dock leveler that is ideal considering your business needs.
To take advantage of the different benefits that dock levelers have to offer, get in touch with us via a message or email or call us to get a free estimate.
Remember, a dock leveler can make your operations easy and more secure too!