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Dock levelers: mechanical vs. hydraulic

Dock levelers play an essential role in the materials handling industry, as they allow loading docks to be adjusted to the height of different trucks that drop off and collect merchandise. There’s no question that any warehouse needs one, but if you’re renovating or building a whole new facility, you’ll need to decide between mechanical and hydraulic dock levelers. Here’s how to pick the best type for your needs.

Mechanical dock levelers

This type of leveler is operated by a pully and chain system that doesn’t require electricity to function. This type of leveler has a lower up-front cost than other options and is overall a much simpler system than one that uses a motor.

On the other hand, a mechanical dock leveler will be harder on your employees than a hydraulic one. This is because your crew will have to move it by hand every time they need to use it. Unfortunately, this heightens the risk for accidents and injuries, especially during the colder months. In addition, these levelers need frequent upkeep, so while they have a lower up-front cost, they may be more expensive to maintain.

Hydraulic dock levelers

This type of dock leveler is more expensive than a mechanical one, but it’s also a lot easier to use, and safer to boot. Since it’s operated with the press of a button, your employees are much less likely to be injured. This also means the likelihood of mishandling the platform decreases, and the chance of something breaking becomes minimal, thereby saving you money on maintenance and repairs. However, if something does go wrong, repairs will be more expensive than in the case of a mechanical leveler.

Understanding your needs

The type of dock leveler that’s right for you will depend on your needs. It’s important to consider what maximum capacity your leveler needs to be able to handle. This will depend on the kind of merchandise you handle. You should also consider how frequently you’ll be using it. Frequent use means you should put a premium on convenience and ease of use, making a hydraulic leveler the better option. If, however, you almost never use it, then a mechanical option is likely the better choice.

Warehouse experts in Western Canada

ARPAC is proud to offer a wide range of warehouse equipment, including shelving, pallet racking, forklifts and more, in the Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton areas. Contact us today to find out more about our products and services.