Most warehouses are equipped with a loading dock. The dock is used to receive products from suppliers and to load up products being shipped out of the warehouse to retail locations.
Forklifts and hand trucks are utilized in a dock setting to help transition product from the dock to the truck (and vice versa) with ease. In order to safely and efficiently use a forklift or hand truck on your dock, you will need a quality dock leveler.
1. Activation System
The first thing you should consider when installing a new dock leveler is the type of activation system that you want the leveler to have. There are two primary types of activation systems: mechanical and hydraulic.
Mechanical systems require that an employee manually raise and lower the leveler lip that extends from the dock to the truck being loaded or unloaded. A hydraulic system allows for the activation of the lip with the push of a button.
Both activation systems can give you the access you are looking for, you just need to weigh maintenance costs and future convenience to select the system best suited for your warehouse dock.
2. Environmental Capability
The type of environment that exists both in and out of your warehouse should be taken into consideration when installing a dock leveler. Temperature-controlled warehouses will require specialized levelers that are insulated to prevent heat transfer.
If you routinely handle corrosive materials, then you will want a dock leveler capable of withstanding exposure to these chemicals. Galvanized levelers are able to resist corrosion and maintain their structural stability when exposed to harsh environmental conditions.
3. Load Capacity
Dock levelers come in many different sizes and strengths. You will need to carefully calculate the weight of the products you are moving through your dock on a regular basis to determine which leveler is right for your warehouse. The load capacity of a leveler should always exceed your expected weight requirements.
Be sure to include the weight of the forklift or hand trucks you will be using when calculating load weights. If you want to extend the life of your leveler then size up if you service numerous trucks throughout the day, use a forklift with front-end attachments, or rely on three-wheeled forklifts.
The right dock leveler will make it easier to transfer loads into and out of your warehouse. Be sure that you install the right leveler by considering your warehouse's unique needs.