A dock leveler may seem like a long-lived piece of equipment, however there are multiple reasons why you may need to replace a dock leveler as they are used over time. Like bridges, they get driven over a lot, and eventually wear out.
First, a bit of Dock Leveler basics:
Dock Levelers 101
Dock levelers are used where a building has a truck-level door. Dock levelers are fixed to loading docks. They have a metal plate called a lip, which is raised from the dock and then lowered onto the back of a truck. Some lips are hinged, and others are telescopic. They are generally controlled manually with a pull chain, or hydraulically, (the most common method) through an electric pump that drives a piston to lift the plate and another that moves the lip.
The most common dock leveler is called a recessed, or pit, dock leveler. In this design the leveler is stored in a recess, or pit, beneath the dock door and floor.
Reasons For Replacement
Even though dock levelers are built tough, from time to time they do need to be replaced. You may also need to change or upgrade the design you have in place at your facility. Some common reasons to replace a dock leveler include:
• The top deck is warped.
• The lip is bent or warped.
• The leveler will not operate properly.
• The leveler wants to lift up as it’s driven over.
• It no longer meets your loading requirements.
• There are safety issues with the leveler.
• You’re looking to upgrade from a manual leveler, to a new leveler operated with an electrical control panel.
• You’re updating your loading bay.
Other factors that may make you consider replacing a dock leveler stem from the type of leveler you are using. Some specific dock leveler concerns include:
• Mechanical Levelers: These have a 5- to 7-year life expectancy, due to springs wearing out, hold-downs failing and lack of proper maintenance and adjustments.
• Hydraulic Dock Levelers: These are replaced as well because motors fail and welds break, especially when the leveler is used too far past its 10-year life expectancy and/or over its capacity.
Remember, this equipment may take a serious beating over time, making eventual replacement inevitable. Your needs, and the features you desire in a dock leveler, may also change in the future. In those instances, it’s better to upgrade and replace your leveler, rather than using a model that is less than ideal, and possibly, no longer safe.
Time to replace your dock leveler? Take a look at Koke’s full line of dock levelers. We have the equipment you need at a price you’ll love!