Finding the Right Dock Leveler
Posted by AJ Porter on
If you are needing specific, brand-related answers on which leveler to choose, send us an email. In the meantime, here are a couple things to keep in mind.
In the warehouse setting, the loading dock is the central hub of activity. The efficiency of on-loading and off-loading goods represents the intricate circuitry of a company and anything that hampers or disrupts that activity is a threat to the wellbeing of the company.
Finding the right interface between the dock itself and the delivery trucks is crucial. Failure to do so only spells doom in dock use as well as jeopardizing the safety of workers. It can potentially lead to time wastage, stalled work and even damage other relatable equipment or product. Companies working onloading docks need to understand their docks, and the products they are interacting with to better find the recommended leveler better suited for their applications.
Vertical Dock Levelers vs. Mechanical Pit Levelers
Most companies have discovered that having mechanical pit levelers present a number of challenges in bridging the gap between the loading dock and delivery vehicles. The solution presented is switching to vertical dock levelers, which not only makes it easy to clean but also runs the whole length of the dock.
Vertical dock levelers also maintaina tighter seal against rodent and insect infestation.
Heavy Duty Levelers for Demanding Applications
In some instances, warehouse companies could be faced with the problem of having few dock handling vast amount of businesses. Standard dock levelers may crumblebeneath all this heavy work and therefore, there is a needfor having heavy duty dock levelers to cover the heavy traffic in and out of the dock. Hydraulic levelers also have the capacity to handle heavy duty work.
Rusty Dock Levelers
Warehousing enterprises with exposed levelers, especially those not covered - need to keep tabs on rust, commonly due to the humid conditions, rain/snow, and rock salt used to prevent ice. Manually/mechanically operated dock levelers are not always recommended as the rust can accelerate wear on springs and activation components. Hydraulic levelers, especially those where the motor unit can be mounted remotely, can increase general reliability and generally have fewer maintenance costs.
The cost savings of a cheap leveler aren’t always worth it. Companies that manufacture their levelers outside of the US (ie Canada), often use Chinese steel – which is prone to excessive delamination when exposed to moisture over time.
Specifying Dock Levelers
Most warehouses these days are scouring the market for specialized dock levelers based on a number of factors like cleanliness, safety, and security of their loading docks. Requesting a dock leveler that is customized for your very needs maximizes efficient cargo handling and further reduces the riskof products/goods getting damaged.
Furthermore, warehouses need to factor in aspects like dock design, cargo handling, load configuration, and any requirements that will ensure smooth loading/unloading operations. For instance, the leveler’s width needsto be matched to accommodate quick entry and exit of lift trucks without the need for special maneuvers when end-loading.
A Smooth Transition
Having a smooth transition from the warehouse floor to the truck is also another critical consideration. You’ll need dock levelers designed with smooth hinges that minimize bumps experienced by truck and forklift operators. The length of the deck is paramount to maximizing smoothness. Generally, the long – the better. Other factors to consider are the sub-frame of the leveler and the deck support design. Levelers are designed to flex and twist in a manner that interfaces with the semi-trailer, while not damaging the concrete pit.
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