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Choosing the Right Loading Dock Leveler

February 9, 2021

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Loading dock planning and design looks much different today than it did just a decade ago. Planning the right loading dock equipment and design will ensure that safety, productivity, and quality control standards are met. Once site design, traffic flow, configuration, and exterior commercial garage doors and details are finalized, choosing the right loading lock leveler is one of the most important choices you'll make for maximizing efficiency.

Use our loading dock leveler guide to achieve a set-up that ticks all the logistics boxes, giving your dock operations team the best safety and efficiency standards available.

The dock is one of the main locations listed among OSHA's Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards. According to OSHA, "many workers can also be injured when (1) lift trucks are inadvertently driven off loading docks; (2) lifts fall between docks and an unsecured trailer; (3) they are struck by a lift truck; or (4) they fall while on elevated pallets and tines." 

Choosing the right dock leveler will help your dock operations team prevent injuries and maintain productivity standards. 

Types of Dock Levelers

Dock levelers bridge the gap and height difference between your dock and the trailer, and choosing the right design will make unloading trucks and trailers easier, while reducing the risk of accidents. There are two main types of dock levelers, and each of these types offer different load capacity, activation systems, environmental capability, and specific cleaning and maintenance requirements. 

Recessed Dock Levelers

Recessed dock levelers have a high load range and a long life expectancy. Recessed dock levelers are available with three main types of operators:

1. Mechanical, Spring Loaded Dock Leveler

Mechanical dock levelers utilize a mechanism of chains, pulleys, levers, and fulcrums to allow easy positioning for your docking area. The design of our mechanical dock levelers offers the advantage of a single adjustment point for high strength, durability, easy walk-down, with an open frame design for easy pit clean out. 

Mechanical dock levelers don't consume as much power and are usually more affordable to install. 

2. Air-Powered Push Button Dock Leveler

A simple, single-push button control panel combined with the power of a high volume, low pressure air pump allows for years of reliable performance. The air-powered push button dock leveler provides a sturdy dock leveler that requires minimal maintenance.

3. Push Button Hydraulic Dock Leveler

Push-button hydraulic dock levelers are very reliable, but they require more maintenance than air powered designs.  They will initially cost more than an air-powered or mechanical leveler, but they're a better investment for high-traffic loading docs. 

You need a durable mechanical dock leveler that is going to stand the test of time and a model with the right hold-down set-up to reduce wear and tear on parts. As you will be utilizing your loading dock frequently, this will save you money on maintenance, repairs, and even replacement in the future.  

Edge of Dock Levelers 

Edge of dock levelers are the best choice for docks where there is little variation in truck bed height and light volume loading bays.  They can be mounted directly to the dock. They're perfect for businesses that have light load capacities and limited budgets for dock equipment.

Edge of dock levelers are also available in mechanical, air-powered, or hydraulic options. 

Find the Right Loading Dock Leveler with Expert Support

When you work with Door Systems commercial door specialists, you can enjoy a variety of benefits, including:

  • High-quality brands and parts that will hold up under extended use
  • Fast and efficient installs – no costly downtime
  • With Door Systems, you can focus on your business, we'll focus on your dock and door equipment 
  • Dependable expert advice from trusted master technicians
  • Customer-centered service from a global company that is backed by over 120 years of industry experience and skill 

Discover the possibilities for your location with our Interactive 3D Warehouse. Give one of our door experts a call at 1-800-THE-DOOR or use our Request a Quote Form.