Hydraulic Dock Levelers

What is a hydraulic loading dock leveler?

A hydraulic dock leveler works automatically with the push of a button. These controls raise the leveler and extend its lip, and once the buttons are released, the leveler floats back down onto a truck bed or trailer’s floor. Hydraulic dock levelers have one single motor, two cylinders, and two hoses.

Hydraulic loading dock levelers tend to operate within the range of either 12 inches above or 12 inches below the level of a dock, and their normal operations do not require pulling a chain.

When the loading process is finished, the operator presses a command button on the hydraulic dock leveler’s controls that return it to its stored position (note that you can program automatic returns into the controls).

Because of their ergonomically efficient designs, hydraulic dock levelers provide a great benefit to warehouse workers, as there is no bending or chain-pulling, which in turn lowers the chances of injury. These dock levelers do not require any manual intervention at all, and this helps avoid any unnecessary accidents or setbacks, ensuring that your warehouse operations remain fast, productive, and mistake-free.

Hydraulic dock levelers are very user-friendly and tailored for high-traffic warehouse activities. They are incredibly durable and dependable and usually last for quite a while. Along with being a loading dock’s trusty steed, hydraulic dock levelers are also versatile. Their positioning and range abilities come in handy for a warehouse with various truck and trailer sizes.

Though they’re more expensive than their mechanical counterparts, hydraulic dock levelers are an excellent choice for a busy warehouse, as they are ideal for heavier loads, frequent use, and inclement or extreme weather conditions

Hydraulic loading dock leveler troubleshooting

If one of these dock levelers starts performing slowly or inadequately, it might be time to invest some time into hydraulic dock leveler troubleshooting.

Luckily, with every quality hydraulic dock leveler comes a detailed owner’s manual. Some of the most common issues that plague a hydraulic leveler’s performance include:

  • The motor doesn’t run when the push button is engaged.
  • The motor does run, but the deck doesn’t move.
  • The deck rises but doesn’t lower.
  • The main breaker/overload relay is tripping (skipping; sliding).
  • The leveler rises, but not smoothly (it bounces, shakes, etc.).

In these situations, it’s best to consult your hydraulic dock leveler’s instruction manual, as it will give thorough solutions on how to resolve problems.

Hydraulic loading dock leveler maintenance

Hydraulic dock leveler maintenance is usually low in cost since these levelers don’t have many moving or separate parts. However, routine maintenance is still critical for the hydraulic system to function properly and efficiently.

Here are a few examples of crucial hydraulic dock leveler maintenance procedures:

  • Monthly checks of the hydraulic oil levels. A 1-3hp (horsepower) hydraulic dock leveler’s oil reservoir should always be filled with enough oil to sit about 2-3 inches below the reservoir lid.
  • The hydraulic oil should be changed annually.
  • A maintenance log must be kept if a hydraulic dock leveler receives monthly maintenance (including inspections).
  • After repeated operations (or once weekly), a hydraulic dock leveler’s cylinder should be extended to its peak stroke; this ensures that the cylinder remains free of seepage buildup from oil. Be sure to lubricate the cylinder’s upper barrel as well.
  • Regular lubrication should happen at least once a month, but depending on more extreme conditions (such as freezing temperatures), you should lubricate more frequently.
  • For the more seasonal or semiannual maintenance practices, be sure to change the dock leveler’s hydraulic fluid and other fluid reservoirs and check for condensation that may have built up over time, as water can damage the hydraulic pump.

If the instruction manual’s troubleshooting guide still does not solve the problem, contact a professional to inspect the hydraulic leveler.