There are a number of benefits to installing dock lifts in your warehouse. They take up less space than ramps and are generally safer than manually moving cargo up a ramp. They negate the need for your workers to manually handle freight in most cases, can allow easier movement of cargo from ground level to truck level and in between, and remove the need for breaking down pallets.
They also take up very little floor space and – in the case of pit mounted lifts – do not provide an obstacle for truck drivers trying to navigate your loading area.
- Top of ground vs. pit mounted
The first decision you will need to make is whether you desire a top of ground lift or one that is recessed into the ground. Both have their advantages depending on the nature of your operation:
Top of ground:
Easily mounted on any flat slab of concrete, top of ground lifts have none of the drainage issues associated with pit-mounted units and will not interfere with underground utilities. They are easy to move if necessary, and are available in a wide range of capacities and platform sizes.
Less expensive than top of ground units, the cost of creating the pit often evens this out. Mounted flush to the ground, recessed lifts are not obstacles to traffic and do not require the use of any ramps to load or unload cargo from trucks and lifts. Capacities range up to 20 000 lbs and offloading is easy at any height.
- Platform size
Plat form size is determined by the equipment which will be used to load or unload trucks and the size of loads that will be used on the platform. The amount of space taken up by safety features such as guardrails must also be carefully considered when choosing a platform size.
- Lifting capacity
The maximum lifting capacity must include not only the weight of the goods to be transferred but also the weight of any equipment used and the operator moving goods.
- Roll over capacity
Applicable only to recessed docks, this refers to the amount of weight that can be driven over the dock lift while lowered. In some cases, specialty vehicles with small, hard wheels may have a higher weight allowance than other vehicles.
The size of the bridge required for your site will depend upon the gap from the lift to the back of the truck bed. This extension to the truck bed is typically very long as it does not need to be handled by workers.