Pentalift Blog - Safety Equipment

Does Dock Equipment Require A Preventative Maintenance Program?

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What Is An FRL On An Air Operated Lift Table?

FRL stands for Filter Regulator and Lubricator. In some applications, depending on vertical travel, an air bag lift table will not be suitable. The alternative is a hydraulic lift table with an air motor operated power unit. It requires compressed air to operate this motor and there are some maintenance factors to maintain efficient operation of the motor. These components are often referred to as an FRL. F – Filter: compressed air that has a high moisture content which is best to remove before it is pumped to the air motor. That’s the function of the filter. R – Regulator: the regulator is in the system to regulate and maintain the PSI rating (pounds per square inch) to efficiently operate the air lift motor. L-Lubricator: the filter removes the moisture from the compressed air and the lubricator adjusts and meters a quantity of lubrication into the compressed air. This process happens before the compressed air reaches the air motor. This light lubrication maintains the efficiency of the air motor operation.

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Factors to Consider When Deciding Between a Hydraulic Dock Leveler or a Mechanical Dock Leveler

Choosing between a hydraulic dock leveler and mechanical dock leveler depends on what is most important to the user. Mechanical dock levelers cost less than hydraulic dock levelers, but mechanical dock levelers do require periodic (2 times a year) adjustable maintenance throughout use of the equipment. Hydraulic levelers can handle higher load capacities and also operate more easily than mechanical dock levelers, due to a manual push button that operates the power unit. While hydraulic dock levelers do require a power source, mechanical dock levelers do not require any sort of electric power due to its spring activation. Both hydraulic dock levelers and mechanical dock levelers should be lubricated and inspected regularly to prolong safe operation.

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What Are the Benefits of Interlocking Overhead Doors to Loading Dock Equipment?

If you have both a hydraulic dock leveler and an overhead door in the closed position and try to operate the dock leveler, the power of the dock leveler will damage the locked overhead door. If you have a vertical storing dock leveler in the rest (vertical) position and try and operate (lower) it when an overhead door is in the closed position, the dock will cause severe damage by impacting with the overhead door. In order to ensure that the dock leveler will not be able to operate when the overhead is in the closed position, you can equip the overhead door with an electronic interlock switch. Pit installed dock levelers or vertical storing dock levelers will only work if the overhead door is open.

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Why Is There a Choice to Have Self-Contained or Remote Power Units for Dock Levelers?

Self-contained power units cost less and are the most common, however, there are alternatives. Remote power units are one of the alternatives and are best suited for wash down applications. When periodic maintenance is required, it is easier to access a remote power unit. At the time of installation, remote power units are typically installed 7’ – 8’above finished floor level on a wall mounting bracket. This moves the power unit up and away from potential impact. The hydraulic hoses are then run from the remote power unit to the dock leveler cylinder. Often the application determines the decision to go to a self-contained power unit or a remote power unit.

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