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How Does a Dock Leveler Work? [Quick Guide]

by Carllaen Joshua Gonzales 09 Dec 2023 0 Comments

dock leveler can be operated in three different ways: hydraulically, mechanically, or manually. They are all fairly similar in the end, but how do they actually work? This is what we'll go over in this article.

Let's jump in and take a look at how a dock leveler works. 

how does a dock leveler work

How the different types of dock levelers work: mechanical, hydraulic, air, and vertical

There are many different types of dock levelers, such as edge of dock levelers, and pit levelers like mechanical, hydraulic, air, and vertical dock levelers. Each works in a slightly different way, but they all serve the same purpose.

how different types of dock leveler works

How does a mechanical dock leveler work?

A mechanical dock leveler is powered by a compression spring and needs to be operated manually. It uses a simple release pull chain that lets go of the hold-down and raises the platform.

Then, the operator can simply walk over the deck to lower the leveler to its desired position.

Man showing how a mechanical dock leveler works

How does a hydraulic dock leveler work?

Hydraulic dock levelers are the easiest and most convenient type of dock leveler to use, since they don't require any manual labor. 

By simply pushing a button on the control panel, the leveler will slowly start to rise and the lip will extend. After the button is released, the dock leveler automatically lowers and settles down onto the truck bed. The dock leveler design ensures that the leveler can adjust to the height of the truck, regardless of the size of the vehicle.

After use, the user can use the control panel to once again retract the lip and lower the leveler back in its original position, flush with the dock floor.

Man showing how a hydraulic dock leveler works

How does an air dock leveler work?

An air dock leveler is similar to a hydraulic dock leveler. But instead of using hydraulics, air dock levelers are supported by an air bag and air pump.

Upon pushing the button on the control panel, an electric blower motor is activated, which pumps air into the airbag. This causes the deck to rise.

As the deck rises, the lip is extended. This lip is designed to smoothly transition from the dock to the truck bed. Once the air bag is fully inflated, the operator releases the button, and the deck and lip settle onto the truck bed automatically.

After use, the control system deflates the air bag. This retracts the lip and lowers the leveler back to its resting position, flush with the dock floor.

how air dock leveler works

How does a vertical dock leveler work?

Vertical dock levelers are stored inside the building in a vertical position, which allows the overhead doors to remain closed, providing a tight seal. The truck driver does not have to exit the vehicle, and the trailer doors can stay closed.

The dock staff opens the trailer doors from inside the building and lowers the leveler into place. Loading and unloading procedure takes place in the same manner as a typical dock leveler.

A vertical dock leveler is the ideal choice for establishments that have strict temperature regulations to follow. The overhead doors can close all the way to the pit floor, which enhances security, keeps the area clean and energy-efficient, and prevents energy loss and debris from getting in.

How does a vertical dock leveler work

How does an edge of dock leveler work?

Edge of dock levelers are mounted to the dock face instead of being installed inside a pit, as opposed to a standard dock leveler. And there's actually two types: hydraulic and mechanical.

RelatedHow to Install an Edge of Dock Leveler

How does a hydraulic edge of dock leveler work?

Hydraulic edge of dock levelers are an affordable option in closing a minimal gap between the loading dock and the trailer. The deck and lip are activated with a simple push-button control.

After the loading/unloading process is finished, it automatically moves back to its starting position without the need to move the trailer.

how hydraulic edge of dock leveler works

How does a mechanical edge of dock leveler work?

Mechanical dock levelers can be installed in a tiny recessed pit and is often mounted to the dock's face. When a pre-formed pit cannot be used, this is a lightweight, affordable substitute for a full-size dock leveler.

Using a mechanical edge of dock leveler involves an easy two-step process:

  1. By using the provided bar, simply insert it in the slot and pull it back to mechanically lift the lip over dock height.
  2. Then, a slight forward push will allow the lip to rest on the truck bed.

Man showing how a mechanical dock leveler works

To wrap up

Dock levelers are an essential piece of equipment in your warehouse. Each type of dock leveler - mechanical, hydraulic, air, vertical, and edge of dock - works in a different way, but in the end performs the same job.

If you're trying to learn how to use your dock leveler, I hope this article has been useful to you. If you're in the market for a dock leveler and are not sure which one to choose, I hope this article has been useful to you as well. Be sure to read our guide on the top 10 manufacturers of dock levelers to help you in your search.

Get your next dock leveler from WarehouseWiz

But if you are indeed in the market for a new dock leveler, where better to find one than here at WarehouseWiz? Our products are affordable, high-quality, and made here in Canada.

Contact us today and let us help you choose the right equipment for your needs!

Get a quote

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