Understanding Dock Levelers and Their Uses

Dock levelers are an important part of trucking at every dock, but often go unnoticed because of how simple they are. Realistically, docks without levelers would have issues bridging the gap between the truck and the loading bay, leading to time wasted jacking everything up to a truck or trying to position the trailer properly. These levelers are a great efficiency addition to each bay, and can dramatically change the loading process.

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Mechanical dock levelers are designed for ease of use and effectiveness. Three types are currently being produced and used, including hydraulic, pneumatic, and mechanical systems. Each of these have their individual strengths.

Hydraulic systems use oil to move the ramp up and down to meet the edge of the truck. This is effective at moving and holding excessive amounts of weight at a slightly lower speed.

Pneumatic systems use airbags to move the ramp, which allows for slightly less weight held but can move quickly and efficiently, as air can be manipulated very effectively.

Finally, mechanical systems do away with liquid and air and opt instead for a mechanical spring to do the heavy lifting with a motor to help it move. It doesn’t require as much maintenance, but may not move as quickly or hold as much weight.

These are all the different types of levelers you may see in a bay.


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