If your business depends on moving goods in and out efficiently keeping every loading dock leveler in prime condition is critical. Loading docks are your gateway to smooth operation in Madison WI and throughout southern Wisconsin. A well-maintained loading dock increases productivity. And where timely movement is important, improves profits.
Unfortunately, routine maintenance, service and updates on dock equipment are often overlooked. Poor prevention is a fast-track to breakdowns and failures. Especially when you have aging equipment.
Out-dated or poorly-maintained equipment is costly. Replacement costs might be steep, but constant repairs are inefficient and cost more and more in the long-term.
Prevention – A Worthy Investment
The old saying: “An ounce of prevention…” has never been more appropriate. The first stage of a solid preventive process is developing a routine maintenance checklist. The second stage is setting up a routine maintenance schedule. Both take a little time in the beginning but pay big dividends. A timely repair that heads off a failure that creates a crisis is worth every minute of advanced planning.
Your maintenance checklist should be geared to your own operation and be set up for weekly, monthly and at least semi-annual inspections. In southern Wisconsin where the external elements play a big role in daily operations a major cleaning and maintenance to prevent corrosion is mandatory at least twice a year – more if there’s a lot of ice melting chemical, sand and salt used in the area. Dirt and grime lead to rust and downtime.
Consider putting a weekly maintenance inspection program like this into play:
- Operate all the dock parts to make sure they’re working properly
- Move levelers to below dock position to clean and visually inspect and line up the rear hinge
- Check the platform and lip for damage or bowing
- Closely look at curb steel and adjacent concrete
- Be sure all safety decals and warnings are in place and readable
- Clean the leveler pit
Additional Periodic Checks
Pay close attention to these elements at least once a month, looking for wear and damage:
- Closely inspect all weld for cracks
- Inspect all lift arm pins and mounting holes
- Inspect lip hinge pins
- Check rear hinge pins
- Verify free movement on toe guards if your installation has them
- Inspect all weather seals
- Lubricate all hinges
- Tighten all bolts
- Lubricate counterbalance systems and lift arms
- Inspect frames and bumpers
- Carefully inspect conduits, wiring and controls
- Be sure all lighting inside and outside is working
Always adjust levelers according to its manufacturer’s specifications – when in doubt, call in a professional technician.
Pay close attention to vehicle restraints. They are vital elements of loading dock safety and thwart accidents by preventing trailer “crawl” and premature truck departures.
Dock Leveler Operational Options
Knowing your operation allows you to head off potential downtime by creating a list of most frequently serviced and most frequently replaced parts. You can keep a small supply of things like springs for mechanical levelers. Not waiting for parts is another 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
- Vertical installation – hydraulic and mechanical models either for concrete floor or welded to imbedded channel.
- Edge of dock – lower cost alternative to pit installation in mechanical or hydraulic. Best for lower traffic and infrequent use.
The two operating options – hydraulic and mechanical – each come in several sizes and capacities. Hydraulic levelers usually provide lower lifetime costs because they have fewer maintenance needs. They also provide smoother, faster and quieter operation at the touch of a button.
Sizes and capacities offer a variety to fit custom applications.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Discussions of levelers include terms like: static, rollover and dynamic.
- Static and Rollover – terms referring to the amount of weight a leveler will safely support in the stored position.
- Dynamic – this capacity refers to the total force of a rolling load on the leveler that it can support while in the extended or service position. It’s the combination of the weight of the lifting vehicle and its load plus speed and the angle of the levelers to the dock.
The dynamic rating is most important when evaluating dock equipment because it’s the measurement for active working conditions.
Choose Professionals For Repairs And Maintenance
A professional schedule of routine maintenance and timely repairs saves time, saves money and secures efficient operation. Working with a skilled, trained team of technicians not only increases efficiency and reliability it offers:
- Extended life to your equipment
- Reduces the chances of equipment failures
- Decreases unscheduled downtime
- Maximizes repair and maintenance budgets
- Establishes a relationship with experienced professionals
- Frees in-house maintenance staff for additional duties
Northland Door Systems represents top manufacturers for all types of loading dock equipment. In addition, it fields a large team of trained technicians ready to serve all of southern Wisconsin from its Prairie du Sac headquarters.
High-quality products and precision-engineered systems are only as good as the trained professionals who install and keep them working. Call or email Northland Door Systems at 608-251-3627 to work with our professionals. We’re here for repairs, maintenance and installation of the latest loading dock leveler technology in and around Madison WI.