Air-Powered Dock Levelers

What is an air-powered dock leveler?

An air-powered dock leveler, as its name implies, is powered by an airbag or other pneumatic device that raises and lowers the leveler’s deck. Air-powered dock levelers require an electrical power source (one that can accommodate up to 110v power, which is the standard requirement for an air-powered dock leveler).

Air-powered loading dock levelers have similar benefits to hydraulic dock levelers. They are controlled by command buttons on a remote and demand less human intervention than their mechanical counterparts.

There are no rollers or legs with an air-powered dock leveler, just the airbag that powers the leveler’s deck to raise or lower onto a truck bed or trailer. The cylindrical air towers that air-powered dock levelers use are also extremely water-resistant and offer a long lifespan.

Air-powered dock leveler troubleshooting

Some common air-powered dock leveler troubleshooting problems include the following:

  • The platform doesn’t rise and the motor does not start/run.
  • The motor simply hums but doesn’t run, and the platform still doesn’t rise.
  • The platform still doesn’t rise, and the motor starts, but does not run.
  • Platform rises much slower than usual.
  • The platform rises, but not to its full height.
  • The platform does rise to its full height, but the lip does not extend properly.
  • The lip does not extend at all.
  • The lip extends when the raise command button is pressed, and the deck raises after the lip has already extended.
  • The lip extends, but doesn’t remain so once the leveler drops back down.

The majority of these problems can be solved in the air-powered dock leveler’s instruction manual, but be sure to consult a professional should any issues remain unresolved.

Air-powered dock leveler maintenance

Much like their vertical counterparts, air-powered dock leveler maintenance must happen both periodically and regularly. 

For weekly maintenance, an air-powered dock leveler requires the following tasks:

  • Operating the dock leveler through its full cycle to sustain proper lubrication.
  • Inspection of platform hinges and lip hinges (keep these parts free of dirt or grime; built-up debris can damage operations).
  • Inspection of platform area (such as around/underneath the airbag; built-up debris can cause damage to the airbag and disrupt normal functions).

For quarterly maintenance, air-powered dock levelers require:

  • Lubrication of lip hinge areas (with grease fittings) using lightweight machine oil.
  • Lubrication of platform hinge areas (with grease fittings) using lightweight machine oil.
  • Lubrication of lip prop pivots, lip link pivots, and safety leg linkage pivots using lightweight machine oil.

If an air-powered dock leveler’s hinge areas do not have grease fittings, be sure to use white lithium grease instead of lightweight machine oil.