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In your loading dock, your dock leveler (the plate that extends from the dock to the truck, compensating for any disparity between the height of your loading dock and the truck or trailer you are unloading) is a crucial piece of equipment. Failure of your dock leveler can be dangerous and costly. Here are some things you need to know when choosing a dock leveler with adequate capacity for your needs.
A dock leveler’s static capacity is an engineered calculation of the maximum weight that can be evenly distributed on the dock leveler. Typical capacity ratings for dock levelers range between 25,000 and 80,000 lbs. This figure does not take unevenly distributed loads, or the speed of frequency of loading on the leveler into consideration, and accepting it as a true maximum capacity for loading/unloading can lead to dangerous equipment failure.
A number of factors need to be considered to arrive at a leveler’s dynamic capacity, including speed, weight distribution of the loading equipment, frequency of use, and percentage of grade. These factors reduce the levelers capacity. The dynamic total load multiplier is the number that the total load to be carried by the equipment is multiplied by. The load, when modified by this multiplier, must be less than the rated static capacity of the dock. A typical total load multiplier is 2.5 – this means that a 20,000-pound load will require a leveler with a rating of 50,000 lbs. to be safely accommodated. Your multiplier will vary depending on the nature of the equipment used for loading/unloading, the angle of the leveler, and the number of loads carried per shift or per day. Load multipliers as high as 5.0 aren’t unheard of.
It’s best to err on the side of caution when selecting equipment. Consider upsizing, because increasing capacity when purchasing equipment is a lot more economical than replacing it later, and your needs may change. You might be using a palette truck today, but buying a forklift tomorrow.
If you’re outfitting a loading dock, contact Overhead Door of Winnipeg today. We do a lot more than just doors.