A Short Guide to Dock Leveler MaintenanceFor businesses built around shipping and receiving, dock levelers are absolutely vital. They bridge the gap between the truck trailer and loading dock, enabling the smooth flow of goods and raw materials in and out of your building. However, when dock levelers break down, they can grind your business to a halt ‒ resulting in lost money, time, and productivity.

What’s more, a broken dock leveler puts employees at risk. Uneven floors significantly increase the odds of a trip, fall, or crash. Fortunately, these types of scenarios are easy to avoid. Regular dock leveler maintenance ensures your equipment performs its basic functions without a hitch, so you can safely continue shipping and receiving goods with no interruptions.

Essential Dock Leveler Maintenance

Standard dock leveler maintenance should be carried out every day. Before activating the unit, clear away any and all debris. Obstructions around the hinge and lip could affect the leveler’s performance. In order to prevent long-term problems, a qualified technician should inspect the unit every 90 days. The will need to:

  • Clean the Pit. Debris in the pit below the leveler can clog the system. It also collects moisture, which can corrode the leveler’s mechanics. 
  • Check the Lip Out Mechanism. The lip is the short, flat plate at the front of the deck. It’s attached to a lever and chain that causes it to swing out when activated. Because the lip is heavy, most units have an additional spring that pushes the lip out and helps support its weight. Each of these components needs to be checked and replaced if they’re worn or damaged.
  • Lubricate Steel & Moving Parts. Use a penetrating oil to lubricate the hinges, pins, springs, and any place rust is likely to form.
  • Check Dock Seals. Dock seals prevent dirt, dust, and moisture from seeping into the unit. Replace any that are worn or damaged.
  • Examine Dock Bumpers. Dock bumpers absorb the shock and weight of trucks as they back up into the docking bay. At least 4 inches of cushioning is required. Loose bumpers need to be replaced as well.
  • Evaluate the Structure. Check the concrete, angles, welds, and pins of your dock leveler. If you notice any signs of damage or corrosion, have them repaired or replaced.

Simple obstructions such as litter or leaves can be cleared away by the owner or staff. However, always lower the maintenance strut before reaching into the leveler put. It’s a standard component that keeps the unit from lowering while there is someone working underneath. 

Hydraulic Dock Leveler Maintenance

Most dock levelers are simple, mechanical units operated by a chain. However, many businesses choose hydraulic dock levelers instead, due to their power and reliability. Maintenance for hydraulic levelers is similar to mechanical ones, but they include a few additional components that require technicians with specific expertise and experience.

  1. Conduit Boxes, Control Boxes, & Electrical Equipment. Make sure the unit’s electrical connections are working properly. Check for condensation in conduit or control boxes.
  2. Cylinders, Hoses, Fittings, & Power Units. These and lower the unit. Replace them if they show signs of wear or damage.
  3. Fluid Level. Hydraulic fluid transmits energy through the system, enabling work and motion. Make sure the fluid is at the recommended level. If it’s not, refill it.

Contact Vortex to Install & Repair Dock Equipment

Besides doors, Vortex also assists businesses who need help upgrading their loading dock. Whether it’s dock levelers, edge mounts, dock seals, dock lights or truck latches, our technicians work to create a unique and optimal solution for your warehouse. With our team supervising the set up and care of your dock equipment, your operations will run safely and efficiently as possible. Reach out and request a free quote today.