A dock leveler is used to bridge the height difference between the back of a truck and the loading dock. Dock levelers allow for trucks with difference loading heights to use a loading dock that is at different height. They allow forklifts and other loading equipment to make a safe and smooth transition to and from the trailer bed.
Firstly you should consider your companies specific requirements. The types of vehicles using your loading docks and the volume of traffic will dictate both the dimensions and type of loading dock leveler you should purchase.
Your next consideration should be employee safety. A dock leveler should provide for the following:
The remaining considerations for a dock leveler should be operational issues. How easy is the dock leveler to use, what will your training costs be, what will scheduled maintenance costs be, and what will your relationship with the supplier be like. A dock leveling system is likely to be along term purchase so you want to look for a system that is well designed and manufactured as well as a supplier who can provide knowledgable service and support over the long term. Try to select a loading dock leveler manufacturer with an established reputation for product quality.
There are three main types of loading dock levelers. Firstly, manual mechanical dock levelers which use a pull chain to raise the leveler to the required level. The second type uses a similar mechanism to the pull chain type dock leveler but may include a low speed electric motor and gearbox to raise the platform. The controls for leveler could be remote from the leveler or on a pendant. The final type of loading dock leveler is the hydraulic assisted system that uses a ram and pump. Again these sorts of levelers will have the controls located remotely or on a pendant.