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Buyer's Guide

Smoother Transitions and Loading Efficiency:
The Complete Guide to Edge of Dock Levelers

 Posted on: May 12th, 2021

Bluff Edge of Dock Leveler welded to steel dock plate and secured with bolts
Bluff Edge of Dock Leveler welded to steel dock plate and secured with bolts

Designed to bridge the gap between your loading area and a truck or ramp, an edge of dock leveler is a permanently-mounted solution that trumps the labor of placing a dock board and the cost and skill required to install a pit leveler. Best suited for average to heavy traffic, the capacity ranges are designed for light to medium loads and shine the best in warehouses with limited space.

Features and benefits at a glance:

  • Fixed design saves space and set-up time
  • Reduces tripping hazards
  • Ergonomic operation reduces workplace injuries
  • More affordable than pit levelers
  • Best for receiving or loading trucks with a limited working range a few inches above or below the dock
  • Returns to stored position once truck pulls away
  • Great for facilities with small staging area, tight center lines in the drive approach, light load capacities
Overview of basic features highlighted on Guardian Edge of Dock Leveler (Barlift Operation)
Overview of basic features highlighted on Guardian Edge of Dock Leveler (Barlift Operation)

Key options for edge of dock levelers:

  • Choice of installation type to match the exact set-up and condition of your loading dock:
    • Weld to dock
    • Weld to dock and secure with bolts
    • Bolt on with approach plate
    • Weld on and raise the approach plate
    • Formed angle weld on and raise the approach plate
  • Choice of operation type:
    • Hydraulic with push button control
    • Compressed-air
    • Manual mechanism (most popular)such as barlift or lift hook
  • Rubber bumpers prevent trucks from reversing too far and colliding with the dock
  • Multiple capacities
  • Multiple widths

Installation Options

For proper dock level installation, it is crucial the installer reviews the edge-of-dock manual and considers the precautions. Initially, it is the installer’s responsibility to evaluate the health of the dock area and make any necessary repairs. All anchors must have a minimum strength in shear of 10,000 lbs force and a minimum of 6,000 lb pullout strength in uncracked concrete. The dock leveler must also comply with all local codes. Here are some of the ways to install edge of dock levelers:

Weld to dock
1

Weld to Dock

Best for new construction where the dock edge vertical steel is 8" tall or more.

  1. Tack weld ends of base plate to dock face steel
  2. Tack weld both bump blocks to either side
  3. Continuously weld both bump blocks and base plate
  4. Spot weld the pre-punched holes along the bottom of the base plat to prevent moisture build-up.

Weld to dock and secure with bolts
2

Weld to Dock & Secure with Bolts

Best for construction where the dock edge steel is securely anchored, but not adequate for a complete weld.

  1. Complete all the steps under "Weld to Dock"
  2. Bolt the leveler and bump blocks to dock face using the pre-punched holes so it’s secure to the dock.

Bolt on with approach plate
3

Bolt on with Approach Alate

Best for construction where the dock edge has no steel, is poorly anchored, and when the dock face is adequate for bolting.

  1. If the approach plate is not flat and beveled, a groove cut into the floor will help it lie flat for a smooth transition. Install anchor bolts then weld and grind the bolt heads to a smooth dome shape.
  2. Continuous weld the approach plate to the top of the base plate.
  3. Finish by bolting everything together.

Weld on and raise the approach plate
4

Weld on and Raise the Approach Plate

Best for construction where there is a steel plate on the dock and you need a little bit of extra height.

  1. Raise up the leveler and bump blocks and weld the base plate to the dock edge steel.
  2. Tack weld the bump blocks.
  3. Cut a groove into the floor if needed so that the approach ramp creates a smooth floor to ramp transition
  4. Finish bolting everything together
  5. Continuous weld all points of contact between leveler, dock steel and approach plate.

Formed angle weld on and raise approach plate
5

Formed Angle Weld on and Raise Approach Plate

Best for construction where the dock edge is crumbling and you need a little bit of extra height (for instance, if you’re operating in an older facility).

  1. Compensate for the crumbling dock by forming a steel angle before installing the leveler.
  2. Raise up the leveler and bump blocks and weld the base plate to the dock edge steel.
  3. Tack weld the bump blocks.
  4. Cut a groove into the floor if needed so that the approach ramp creates a smooth floor to ramp transition
  5. Finish bolting everything together
  6. Continuous weld all points of contact between leveler, dock steel and approach plate.

Operation Options

Manual mechanisms

No electricity required. Manual edge of dock leveler mechanisms are usually spring-assisted with an option of lifting support to prevent back injuries and excessive bending.

How to use an edge of dock leveler with a lifting hook:

With the leveler in the stored position, back the truck into position against the bumpers.
1

As the truck reserves into position against the bumpers, the leveler must be in the stored position.

  Always chock the wheels for safety
Actuate the leveler by hooking the front hinge rivet with the lifting hook and raising the leveler as shown
2

Actuate the leveler by hooking the front hinge rivet with the lifting hook and raising it.

Actuate the leveler by hooking the front hinge rivet with the lifting hook and raising the leveler as shown
3

Use the lifting hook to raise the front lip plate vertically.

PLace the lifting hook against the dock edge and behind the front hinge rivet and push the leveler into the truck as shown.
4

Place the lifting hook against the dock edge and behind the front hinge rivet and push the leveler into the truck.

5

When the truck departs the leveler automatically returns to the stored position.


How to use an edge of dock leveler with a bar lift:

After the truck has backed into position against the bumpers, lift bar from stored position on the right hand side below the deck
1

After the truck has reversed into position against the bumpers, lift the bar from the stored position on the right hand side below the deck.

  Always chock the wheels for safety
Pull leveler back until it automaticially looks in raised position.
2

Pull the leveler back until it automaticially locks in raised position.

Using the bar as a lever, push the bar forward, allowing the lips to ride out onto the truck bed.
3

Using the bar as a lever, push it forward so the lip plate extends out onto the truck bed.

To prevent damage to the bar, return it to the stored position.
4
 Very important!

To prevent damage to the bar, return it to the stored position.

5

Before the truck departs, recycle the leveler to the closed position.


How to use an edge of dock leveler with an electric switch

Although individual model operation may vary, your employees will just have to make sure they don’t injure their fingers pressing the buttons! Edge of dock levers that operate electrically might use hydraulic or compressed air.

1

After the truck has reversed into position against the bumpers, press wall switch and hold button until both sections of leveler are fully raised.

  Always chock the wheels for safety
2

Leveler will automatically lower and extend to truck.

3

Leveler can be recycled while truck is still in position, press wall switch and hold button until both sections of leveler are fully raised.

4

Leveler will automatically return to stored position


Maintenance

In addition to keeping the edge of dock leveler clean and free of debris, most models will require occasional lubrication to keep the joints greasy.

Comparing dock solutions

Depending on your facilities operation capacity, an edge of dock leveler might be not versatile enough, or might be overkill. Dock plates, dock board and pit levelers offer a variety of capacities and function that might be better suited to for your warehouse operations.

Dock Plate Dock Plate Dock Board Dock Board Edge of Dock Leveler Edge of Dock Leveler Pit/Dock Leveler Pit/Dock Leveler
Price
Capacity 1000 lbs. 1500 lbs. 1500 lbs. 2500 lbs.
Capacity Range 2,000 lbs. up to 6,400 lbs. 10,000 lbs. up to 15,000 lbs. 20,000 lbs. up to 25,000 lbs. up to 50,000 lbs.
Platform Pallet Jacks Forklifts Forklifts Forklifts
Operation Manual placement Forklift placement Manual spring assisted,hydraulic, or compressed Manual spring assisted,hydraulic, or compressed
Installation None None Surface Level Deeply inset