What is the Difference Between a Mechanical & Hydraulic Dock Leveler?

Have you invested in a dock leveler for your warehouse yet? Compared to dock boards or dock plates, dock levelers are permanent installations that bridge the gap at the loading dock bay. Dock levelers are ideal solutions for increasing loading and unloading efficiency as well as ensuring employee and product safety. They also come as two separate types: a mechanical dock leveler and a hydraulic dock leveler.

Do you know the key differences between a mechanical dock leveler and a hydraulic dock leveler?

  1. Activation 

As implied by its name, mechanical dock levelers require manual activation. When an employee pulls a chain, the heavy duty lift springs release. A mechanical dock leveler functions with many parts, including springs, lip latches and more. 

In comparison, hydraulic dock levelers are powered by a motor, hydraulic cylinders and hoses. A warehouse employee only has to push a button to activate the system for use. Automatic return can even be programmed!

  1. Sensitivity

Is your warehouse climate-controlled? Believe it or not, this small detail can affect your decision on the better dock leveler for your warehouse. The mechanical dock leveler has springs, which are sensitive to temperature changes. The springs can expand in summer heat, but shrink in winter cold. 

In comparison, the hydraulic deck leveler is not temperature-sensitive.

  1. Physical Labor

When debating the differences between mechanical and hydraulic dock levelers, you must also consider the abilities and safety of your workforce. The mechanical dock leveler requires more physical labor, such as the operator using his or her body weight to lower the dock bed.

In comparison, the hydraulic dock leveler requires less physical labor to operate because it does not call for bending or pulling.

  1. Cost

The most obvious difference between a mechanical dock leveler and a hydraulic one is the cost. 

A mechanical dock leveler is the more budget-friendly option. It tends to cost less for businesses up-front; the hidden costs are in maintenance, as its parts may need routine service.

A hydraulic dock leveler can cost as much as 10 times as much as a mechanical dock leveler. However, an important aspect to consider is that a hydraulic dock leveler tends to last longer than its manual counterpart, as well as require less maintenance. In the long run, you may earn more for your money with a hydraulic dock leveler.

Both types of dock levelers have various pros and cons. The correct dock leveler should fit your budget, provide long-time operation, manage heavy loads as well as keep your employees safe. Port City Industrial is here to help you make the better decision for you, your warehouse, your employees and your business. 

At Port City Industrial, we provide a variety of dock levelers: dock lip safety barriers, vertical storing dock levelers, hydraulic dock levelers, mechanical dock levelers, airbag dock levelers, edge-of-dock levelers and the XDS extra dock safety system. If you are interested in purchasing or upgrading a dock leveler, please contact your sales representative or visit www.portcitymobile.com today.

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