Loading docks keep goods moving in and out of most businesses. From a single installation to dozens the loading dock leveler plays a key role. No matter the size of your Janesville WI area business, well-maintained loading docks increase productivity. Lack of maintenance, repair and timely service is a fast-track to expensive downtime. Breakdowns and failures are facts of life, especially with aging equipment.
A fact in most operations is that line item budgets for new dock equipment are almost always far less than for repairs. Replacement costs might be steep, but constant repairs are inefficient. Poorly-maintained equipment costs more in the long-run.
Invest In Timely Service
Routine maintenance is the most valuable preventive you have. To set up a timely service and maintenance schedule begin with a routine checklist. Timely prevention and advanced planning saves time and money.
Focus your checklist on the demands of your operation. While most are similar, no two are really the same. Set up weekly, monthly and semi-annual inspections. In the Janesville area the whims of weather regularly play a role. Rain and snow add to the demand for cleaning and corrosion prevention. Treat your equipment at least twice a year to remove ice melting chemicals, sand and salt. Dirt and grime lead to rust and failures. Downtime from dirty equipment takes a loading dock out of service.
A weekly inspection checklist should include:
- Cleaning the leveler pit
- Moving levelers below docks to clean, visually inspect and line up the rear hinge
- Running all the dock parts – observe that they’re working properly
- Checking platforms and lips for damage or bowing
- Examining curb steel and adjacent concrete
- Reviewing all safety decals and warmings – replacing and updating any that need attention
At least once a month add these to the list:
- Visually inspect all welds for cracks
- Inspect all lift arm pins and mounting holes
- Inspect lip hinge and rear hinge pins
- Lubricate all hinges
- Inspect all weather seals
- Tighten all bolts
- Lubricate counterbalance systems and lift arms
- Inspect frames and bumpers
- Be sure all lighting inside and outside is working
- Carefully inspect conduits, wiring and controls
Pay specific attention to vehicle restraints. They are keys to loading dock safety and prevent trailer “crawl” and premature truck departures.
Adjust each leveler according to its manufacturer’s specifications. Detailed adjustments should be completed by a professional technician.
Customize A Loading Dock Leveler Program
Review the day-to-day demands of your business. Then create a list of the most frequently serviced and most frequently replaced parts. Keeping a small supply of parts like springs in house makes sense. Not waiting for parts is a vital element in controlling downtime.
Cleaning, adjusting and lubricating all loading dock equipment in the fall and again in the spring keeps equipment in good condition.
Dock levelers come in several shapes, sizes and capacities, including:
- Pit styles – both hydraulic and mechanical versions are installed in a poured concrete floor. They are easily removed and replaced.
- Vertical installation – hydraulic and mechanical models either for concrete floors or welded to imbedded channels.
- Edge of dock – lower cost alternative to pit installation available in both mechanical or hydraulic versions. Best for low traffic and infrequent use.
Both hydraulic and mechanical systems come in several sizes and capacities. Hydraulic levelers regularly provide lower lifetime costs because they have fewer maintenance needs. They also provide smoother, faster and quieter operation at the touch of a button.
Technical discussions of levelers include terms like: static, rollover and dynamic.
- Static and Rollover –refer to the amount of weight a dock leveler safely supports in the stored position.
- Dynamic – measures capacity and refers to the total force of a rolling load the leveler can support while in the extended or service position. It’s a combination of the weight of a lift truck, its operator and its load combined with its speed and the angle of the levelers to the dock.
Because it measures active working conditions, the dynamic rating is most important when evaluating dock equipment.
Team With Local Loading Dock Specialist
High-quality manufacturing techniques and engineering systems are only as good as the trained professionals installing and maintaining them.
Nothing costs more than unexpected downtime. Professional maintenance and timely repairs save time, save money and keep your operation running. A skilled, trained team of technicians not only boosts efficiency and reliability it:
- Extends the life to your equipment
- Reduces the chance of dock failures
- Maximizes repair and maintenance budgets
- Establishes a relationship with experienced professionals – technicians that know your operation
- Frees in-house maintenance staff for additional duties
Country Door Systems provides all the loading dock equipment your company needs. For new installations, repairs or a replacements call or email us at 608-752-9537. We’re on call to provide expert loading dock leveler support for your Janesville WI business.