When Spec'ing Dock Levelers
Companies in the market for dock levelers should keep a number of factors in mind that will impact on the safety, cleanliness and security of their docks.
Ensuring the use of the correct dock leveler size for a door opening helps maximize efficient cargo handling and minimize damages and spoilage, says Steve Greco of Blue Giant Equipment Corp.
He stresses that companies should factor dock design, load configuration, efficient cargo handling and material handling equipment requirements into their decisions to help minimize the interruption of materials flow at the dock as well as product damage. For example, they should make sure the leveler's width is adequate. If it is, an operator can drive straight in and out of the truck and won't have to worry about slowing down and turning around in the trailer.
Smoothing out the transition from the warehouse floor to the trailer is another big consideration, according to Rite Hite Corp.'s Joe Manone. He suggests companies look for dock levelers that have been designed with smooth hinges that minimize or remove the bumps that lift truck workers experience every time they go in and out of a delivery truck.
Another issue is productivity, which is affected by the amount of time it takes for a system to put a leveler in the bed of a trailer. Manone says hydraulic systems do this at the fastest rate, especially systems with dual controls that control both the deck and the lip. These can decrease the time to deployment by up to 30 percent, which can lessen congestion if there is constant traffic at the dock.