Dock lifts can be used to move a lift truck from a conventional 48” high dock level to grade (driveway) and back for access to the yard or between two floor levels within the same facility. In either of these applications a dock lift provides a significant space saving alternative to a ramp and is safer because a dock lift eliminates the incline/decline that a ramp creates. Dock lifts are also used to raise a lift truck to service various truck bed heights for loading and unloading.

When lift trucks are used on a dock lift there are a number of important factors to consider.

The dock lift platform must be sized to accommodate the overall length of the lift truck including the load on the lift truck’s forks. The platform width should be sized to allow easy access for the lift truck operator to get on and off the lift truck as required.

The dock lift must have sufficient load capacity to accommodate the weight of the fork lift and it’s heaviest load.

One of the most important safety features on a dock lift designed for use with a lift truck is referred to as an automatic hydraulic roll off stop. The automatic hydraulic roll off stop is located on the end of the dock lift platform opposite to the truck end. When the dock lift is in the fully lowered position the hinged roll off stop lays flat, the lift truck drives across the roll off stop onto the platform.

When the dock lift up button is depressed the hydraulic operated roll off stop automatically raises into the almost vertical position creating a barrier behind the lift truck. This barrier prevents the lift truck from accidentally rolling off the raised dock lift due to operator error, slippery weather related conditions or lift truck mechanical failure.

The automatic hydraulic roll off stop acts as a mechanical barrier until the dock lift is lowered to the fully closed position. When the dock lift is fully lowered the roll off stop automatically lowers to the flat position and the lift truck now can be driven off the dock lift platform.

The majority of dock lifts have hinged bridge plates on the truck end of the platform. The hinged bridge plates are stored in the vertical position when not in use. When the dock lift raises and reaches the truck bed height these hinged bridge plates are lowered manually by the dock attendant who is located on the dock lift platform. As the lifting capacity of the dock lift increases so does the thickness of the hinged bridge plates.

Typically, a dock lift that is designed for use with a lift truck will be on the higher side of the lifting capacity range due to the overall weight of the loaded lift truck. Based on the thickness and resulting weight of the bridge plate required it may not be practical for the bridge plates to be operated manually. Hydraulic operated bridge plates are available with Up/Down push button controls to remove any physical effort required to position the bridge plate.

As standard dock lift controls are a hand held pendant with an up and down push button on 10’ of electrical cord. It is common for dock lifts that are used with a lift truck to have the controls installed on a post on the platform; this control station post is typically positioned mid platform length. The lift truck operator drives onto the platform and reaches out to one side to operate the dock lift and the hydraulic bridge plate as required. Page 7 of this link shows an example of the automatic hydraulic roll off stop, push button controls on deck installed post and a hydraulic operated bridge plate.

For additional information on Pentalift Dock Lifts please contact the Pentalift Sales Department.