A Quick Guide to Loading Dock Levellers

by | Jul 20, 2021 | Dock Levellers

When it comes to a business’ daily operations of commercial and industrial facilities, the loading and unloading of truck beds forms a significant part of the activities. Most often, this step includes moving heavy loads of merchandise from the truck bed to the facility (or vice versa) via a sometimes uneven platform. When you think about it, there’s a significant height difference between the warehouse loading dock and a truck’s trailer.

A business requires specific equipment in order to navigate and bridge this gap. This is where high-quality dock levellers come into the picture. Dock levellers are vital in creating a smooth and safe transition between a trailer bed and a dock. These vital commercial devices form part of a business’ loading equipment and are often attached directly to the dock face or lowered into a pit at the dock door. Here’s a quick guide to dock levellers – how they work and the two most popular types on the market.


How Does a Dock Leveller Work?

Traditional dock levellers are mounted within a loading dock pit. When a truck comes toward the dock, the leveler is raised upwards and a lip component folds out, connecting the dock with the trailer or trailer bed.

Dock levellers are designed so that they create a safe bridge for a wider variety of dock and trailer sizes. Loading dock levellers also offer more opportunities to incorporate loading dock communication and safety controls. This allows for multiple pieces of dock equipment to be interlocked, which enables a customisable sequence of operation, ensuring safety and security for trailers and staff at the loading bay.


Hydraulic Dock Levellers

For loading docks that receive higher volumes of loading and unloading activities, hydraulic dock levellers are best suited, as they are capable of handling the workload of even the highest volume leading docks. High-quality hydraulic dock levellers provide the smoothest transition for your operators, and is considered as the more environmentally friendly levelling option, as it uses biodegradable fluid.

Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of the hydraulic dock leveller is its ability to prevent rapid leveller descent – even while managing heavy loads. Without the hydraulic functions, the leveler may otherwise rapidly descend, if the truck pulls away unexpectedly, which could lead to staff injury and damage to products and capital investments. The hydraulic system helps maintain a safe and even slope from the facility floor to the truck bed, while floating above and below dock height.

Hydraulic dock levellers are simple to use – as they are usually operated by simply pushing a button. These systems are very reliable and require less maintenance than air-powered bay equipment.

Initially, this mechanical investment will cost you more than other dock levellers. However, in the greater scheme of things, they are an investment which will end up saving you money, as they are more durable, longer lasting, and require less maintenance.


Air-Powered Dock Levellers

Air-powered dock levellers (also known as an air pit leveller) are powered by a high volume, low pressure air pump that is operated by a single-push button control panel. The air-powered push button dock leveler provides a sturdy dock leveler that requires minimal maintenance. Air-dock levellers use this pneumatic bag system in conjunction with an appropriate power source, so as to raise and lower the leveller deck.

Air-powered dock levellers are a popular choice of warehouses because they are economical, simple to operate, and reliable. The moving parts in an air-powered leveller are few and are therefore easy to maintain, making them low-cost to own.

Air-powered dock levelers are designed to prevent potential stump-out problems and offer similar benefits to hydraulic dock levelers. No legs or rollers are required – so you can easily sense a free-fall situation. In addition, the leveller pit is easily accessible, which makes for quicker maintenance.

One thing to consider before choosing an air-powered machine is that electricity is required to power the airbag system, and as such, you’ll need to be near a power source. However, considering the inexpensive upkeep and convenience of the control button, the pros and cons may balance themselves out.

Loading docks are bustling bays of activities with a host of moving parts and machines. Dock levellers are a crucial component in these loading centres as they bridge the gap between incoming vehicles, the stock and the warehouse.

When choosing the dock leveller best suited to your facility, you want to make sure that it is the right model for your loading bay and that it will stand the test of time. Levelling a dock is a serious task, so it’s always best to consult with experts so that you can make an informed decision.

At MSDN, we are committed to providing businesses with the perfect industrial equipment suited to their facilities. Contact us today and discover our selection of loading dock essentials for safe, effective equipment to maximise your dock’s productivity.