If you own an overhead commercial garage door and manage a loading dock, you’re probably familiar with a dock leveler. It’s an essential tool in any warehouse, as important as the overhead garage door that secures the business. Here’s everything you need to know about dock levelers, including how to choose the best one for your loading dock needs.
What is a Loading Dock Leveler?
A loading dock leveler is a height adjustable platform that bridges the back of a truck and the warehouse floor. It provides a handy transition — a bridge if you will. Since the height of trucks can vary, the dock leveler is adjustable to handle a variety of differences.
Kinds of Dock Levelers to Consider
Like overhead commercial garage doors themselves, there are a variety of dock levelers to serve a range of needs.
Hydraulic dock levelers
This type of leveler is stored in the dock pit. The beauty of this leveler is it provides a highly seamless transition between vehicle and dock leveler. Its relative perfect smoothness prevents injuries and minimizes damage. They are a great option for safety. It’s low maintenance and easy to use.
This is by far the most common loading dock device. It operates with a mechanical spring that forces or restrains the leveler. The beauty of this dock leveler is it doesn’t require power to run. It’s also considerably cheaper than a hydraulic option. But the maintenance tends to be more expensive.
Edge of dock (EOD)
The beauty of an edge of dock leveler is there’s no need for installation. It’s easy to operate and costs considerably less than pit dock levelers. Their only drawback is they have limited range and limited versatility, since they are installed directly on the edge of a dock.
Factors to Consider
Naturally, price is a foremost driver when it comes to selecting the right dock leveler. Each option has a different cost. Hydraulic dock levelers are the most expensive. The end of the dock leveler is relatively affordable. What kind of budget are you working with?
Cost of Maintenance
In addition to the upfront costs of installation, you also have maintenance costs to consider. It is a piece of machinery, after all. It will get plenty of use and require repairs overtime. The beauty of hydraulic levelers is they cost less to maintain — which helps to offset their more expensive installation cost.
How often will you be using your dock leveler? How heavy are the goods you are transporting? The beauty of hydraulic lifts is they are easy to use — just a push of a button. If you are regularly using forklifts, you might want something less expensive that isn’t as automatic to use.
Like overhead garage doors, you’ve got your options for dock levelers. Choose carefully.