Pentalift Blog - Automated Storage And Retrieval Systems

What are the most common loading dock product electrical interlocks?

Although there are many combinations available there are 2 very common interlocks specified. 1. Interlocking a vehicle restraint to a hydraulic or air powered dock leveler. This interlock is safety related, the dock leveler will not operate until the truck in position has been secured by the vehicle restraint. The truck secured signal from the vehicle restraint now renders the dock leveler controls operational. 2. Interlocking the overhead door to a hydraulic or air powered dock leveler. This interlock is used to reduce potential damage to the overhead door and improve building security. Before the dock leveler will operate the overhead door must be raised which activates a wall installed limit switch. The activated limit switch now renders the dock leveler controls operational. When the dock leveler is cycled it will not contact the overhead door causing damage to the door and the locking mechanism.

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Pentalift introduces a dock lift hydraulic actuated bridge assist.

In some applications a longer bridge plate is required to span the gap between the truck bed and the dock lift platform. The longer the bridge plate the more the weight increases and in some cases they become too heavy to be operated manually. The dock lift hydraulic actuated bridge assist is installed on the platform and at only 10” wide minimally impedes the usable platform width. The bridge plate is stored in the vertical position, manually the bridge plate is lowered and a flow control valve assures a smooth lowering rate of speed. When the loading is completed the dock attendant simply activates a push button. The bridge plate is hydraulically actuated from the level loading position back into the vertical stored position. This feature improves safety, ergonomics and efficiency at the dock area and is available at time of dock lift sale or as an aftermarket retrofit.

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What limitations are there on Self Leveling Lift Tables in a De-Palletizing Application?

Self leveling lift tables are very common in de-palletizing or palletizing applications. When empty self leveling lift tables store in the raised position, in a de-palletizing application a lift truck or a “straddle” lift truck first places the fully loaded pallet on the raised platform. The pallet is then lowered and the weight of the pallet forces the self leveling lift table down into the closed fully lowered position. The top of the loaded pallet is now at the ideal ergonomic operators working height. As the operator de-palletizes (removes product) the self leveling lift table automatically raises keeping the work in the operators best ergonomic position. When de-palletizing completed the process begins again. In this application either a lift truck or a “straddle” lift truck is required, without this equipment being available is the limitation to this product selection.

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What limitations are there on Self Leveling Lift Tables in a Palletizing Application?

Self leveling lift tables are very common in palletizing or de-palletizing applications. When empty self leveling lift tables store in the raised position, in a palletizing application first an empty pallet is placed on the platform. As product is moved onto the pallet the increased weight automatically lowers the lift table keeping the operators work height at an ergonomically correct position. When the lift table is fully lowered the pallet is full. A lift truck is then required to engage the pallet and lift it above and clear of the self leveling platform, the self leveler will raise with the pallet to the empty, raised stored position. The process begins again. In this application either a lift truck or a “straddle” lift truck is required, without this equipment being available is the limitation to this product selection.

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What is Auto Return on a dock leveler?

Auto Return is only available on hydraulic dock levelers. When the truck is backed into position and the trailer doors are open the dock attendant cycles the dock leveler. The dock leveler deck raises, the lip extends, the dock leveler is then lowered and the extended lip is positioned on the truck bed. When the truck is loaded / unloaded typically the dock attendant would cycle the dock leveler into the closed, stored position. If there is no dock attendant available the truck driver departs, the dock leveler deck and extended lip lowers to the bottom position. The hydraulic lip begins to retract and an under deck electric limit switch is then activated. The dock leveler deck automatically raises approximately 6” – 8” above the dock height, the lift motor timer shuts off and the dock leveler returns to the stored position. When the truck departed the dock leveler was automatically returned to the closed, stored position.

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