Loading dock levelers help to ensure a smooth and safe loading and unloading process at your facility. The leveler acts as the bridge between your facility and the truck or trailer parked at the dock. The loading dock is a high-traffic area that is especially susceptible to injury or damaged products when equipment isn’t functioning properly. Many people don’t recognize that their dock leveler needs to be repaired—until it’s too late. These are several signs you can use to determine whether or not your loading dock leveler needs repairing or replacing.
1. The Beam Welds Are Cracked.
Check the beams of your dock leveler for visible cracks. The welding that affixes the beam should be solid and appear intact. Even small rifts in an otherwise sturdy beam could cause problems down the line and be an indication of outdated equipment.
2. Dished Deck Platform.
If the deck platform has visible waves or grooves in the surface, this is a clear sign that the steel is either dangerously stretched or fatigued. Age, lack of maintenance, and overloading can cause the main support beams to break away from the deck. If you notice any signs of dishing, you should halt all activity on the dock and book a thorough inspection by a qualified technician.
3. You Observe Excessive Rust or Corrosion.
Rust or corrosion is an easy indication of an aged dock leveler. Many dock levelers are exposed to the outside elements, and for this reason, a moderate amount of oxidation is normal. If the material becomes so rusted that it begins to interfere with the leveler’s effectiveness—it’s probably time to replace the equipment.
4. The Lip or Lip Spools Are Cracked.
The dock leveler deck assembly, lip assembly, hinge pins and spools, must all be structurally sound to ensure operational capabilities. The lips, hinges, and spools are smaller pieces that contribute to the larger function of the leveler. Check all of these pieces for visible damage or decay like cracks and excessive rust.
5. The Dock Isn’t Raising.
If the dock of your mechanical or automatic leveler is not raising— it isn’t working properly. This is cause for a repair rather than a full replacement. If you’re unsure why the dock isn’t raising, you should call a professional to conduct an inspection.
6. There’s A Build-Up of Oil.
It’s important to check the dock pit after a dock leveler is in use for an extended period of time or after a high frequency of cycles. A damaged and leaking powerpack or hose can cause excess oil to build up in the pit—this can cause problems and interfere with normal functioning.
7. The Lip Isn’t Fully Extending.
The lip extends to create a bridge between your facility and the trailer parked at your loading dock. If the lip is failing to extend, the leveler is damaged to the point of being unusable. A variety of mechanical issues could be the source of this problem. You should have the leveler assessed to determine what type of repair is necessary.
8. The Dock Is Sitting Above or Below Floor Level.
You can tell that your dock is misaligned if it’s sitting below or above floor level. The dock deck should be perfectly aligned to prevent tripping, falling, and other potential accidents.
9. The Rear Curb Angle Has Pulled Away From The Concrete.
The rear curb angle should be securely affixed to the concrete. If wear and tear have caused the curb angle to be pulled away from its place, a repair can be done to enhance the security of the leveler overall.
10. The Diamond Plating Has Worn Out On The Deck or Lip.
The deck and lip feature diamond plating to create traction that prevents slipping or falling when transporting products from a truck or trailer, into the facility. If friction has worn down the diamond plating you may want to replace the deck on the leveler.
11. The Dock is Raising Slowly.
Speed is essential to guarantee deliveries happen efficiently. A slow dock leveler can mean lost time and lost money. A hydraulic leveler and mechanical dock leveler experience changes in speed for different reasons. Hydraulic levelers use a single push button for quick and easy operation, whereas the mechanical leveler requires 3 lbs of force to deploy the deck. Call an experienced professional to assess your type of leveler.
12. The Dock is Stuck Below Floor Level.
It’s not uncommon for a dock to become wedged below floor level and fail to readjust. This is often due to misalignment of the leveler to the floor level. The deck may need a repair and basic adjustment to resume regular functioning after this occurs.
13. The Dock is Sitting on an Angle in The Pit Instead of Level.
Yet another factor that can interfere with proper functioning is the angle of the dock in relation to the floor. Substantial use and abuse, like dropping heavy deliveries or backing up into a dock can bend even the strongest of materials. A dock sitting at an angle that interferes with its safety may need to be replaced.
14. The Dock Lip is Not Closing Properly.
A dock lip must fully close to ensure safety while joining a trailer or truck to the deck. This can be remedied with a simple mechanical repair but should be done as soon as it’s identified.
The Importance of Maintaining a Safe Loading Dock.
Apart from efficiency, safety is the primary concern of a loading dock zone. It’s important to regularly survey equipment in the loading dock area so you know your employees are working in a secure environment. At Lenworth, our dock levelers come with a 12-year structural warranty, so you can buy with confidence and know that we’ve got your back when you need repairs or replacing.
Book a Consultation
If you think your dock leveler needs a repair, but aren’t certain, book a free consultation with a Lenworth representative. They talk to you about your facility needs and suggest remedies to enhance productivity and safety in your building.
As the VP of Sales & Marketing, Spencer is an energetic and company-oriented manager that places an emphasis on continuous organizational improvement. Spencer's acute focus on building a customer-centric business drives his team to consistently go above and beyond customers' expectations. At Lenworth, Spencer places the customer as the focal point of all decisions.
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