A Guide to Dock Levelers

Posted On: March 26, 2014 in Dock Levelers

Dock levelers are critical for dock operations, both from an efficiency standpoint and also for safety. Dock levelers are designed to bridge the gap between a loading dock and a truck so that loads, equipment, and workers can easily and safely cross back and forth. Having the right dock leveler for your typical load capacities and truck heights is necessary for good loading and unloading operations. There are multiple options in dock levelers to suit many different facilities and load needs.

Air-Powered Dock Levelers

An air-powered leveler is a popular choice among many warehouses because it is simple, reliable, and economical. Air-powered dock levelers have few moving parts and are easy to maintain, which are all part of their low overall cost of ownership. The current standard for dock levelers was created by Kelley and has air bag dock leveler technology paired with push-button control for better ergonomics and worker safety.

Hydraulic Dock Levelers

Higher volume loading docks benefit from more rugged and powerful equipment, and hydraulic dock levelers fit the bill. They are designed to handle the workload of the highest volume loading docks. Closed-loop hydraulics simplify the design and maintenance of these levelers. Push-button operation is a standard feature for most hydraulic dock levelers.

Mechanical and Solar Powered Levelers

For loading docks without an electrical supply, mechanical or solar powered levelers are the answer. Mechanical dock levelers are an economical choice in a standard dock leveler. They are spring operated via a pull chain. For a more high-tech solution, a solar powered dock leveler can be installed at a loading dock that doesn’t have an electrical supply. These units run 100 percent off the power grid via solar panels and a rechargeable battery, which provides power for nighttime use. Taking advantage of solar power makes it easier for warehouse workers to operate the dock leveler while also lowering overall energy costs.

Vertical Storing Dock Leveler

These dock levelers also function as a barrier to the outside in facilities where climate control, cleanliness, or energy efficiency are of the utmost importance. These levelers rise up to a vertical position inside the dock door when not in use, minimizing heat and cold transfer between the internal and external environments. They are designed to provide easy access to the leveler pit for cleaning and maintenance. They are ideal for cold storage warehouses or for clean room environments.

Edge of Dock Leveler

For light-volume loading bays, an edge of dock leveler can be an affordable option. Instead of requiring a pit for installation, these units simply mount to the edge of the dock. They take the place of portable plates, offering a much higher degree of safety, and are much easier to install than other leveler systems. They are best suited for docks with a captured fleet of trucks, or a situation where the truck floor is within 3 inches of the dock floor as they have a limited service range.

Contact McKinley Equipment today to discuss which dock levelers would work best for your facility.