Warehouses are busy places these days. The rise of e-commerce, more customized orders, shorter lead times and just-in-time deliveries are placing more pressure on material-handling operations to boost productivity and efficiency. It also means shipping and receiving may need to accommodate a wider range of truck sizes.
Dock lifts can help material-handling operators load and unload trucks more efficiently, while potentially increasing safety by creating a level loading or unloading surface. Norton, Mass.-based Presto-ECOA Lifts addresses this need with its Trans-A-Dock lift, says Rick daSilva, the company’s national sales manager.
The lift can travel to any height between 5 and 55 inches. That means it can service many more types of trucks than a dock leveler, dock board or fixed ramp, he says. For example, a company may receive deliveries from different types of trucks, including sea containers, reefers, flatbeds, small box truck, or even pickup trucks or work vans. A single dock lift is versatile enough to work with any of them, daSilva says.
Portable dock lifts are particularly useful for smaller or nonconventional warehouse spaces because of their mobility. This includes the ability to pack up and move more easily for companies that are located in leased or temporary warehouses, daSilva says.
Traditional pit-mounted dock lifts may not be practical for smaller, lower-volume facilities that don't have a dock or raised platform that aligns with a truck, daSilva says. They also have a minimum 8-inch lowered elevation, which means users cannot ramp on or off the lift.
Presto's Trans-A-Dock doesn’t require the need to build a permanent pit or a pad, so they are much easier and less expensive to install, daSilva notes.
"This allows smaller companies that don't get as many deliveries to still have the benefits of a productive, safe dock-lift experience," daSilva says. "They may be getting deliveries twice a month and don't want to tie up their dock opening with a permanent dock lift."
Portable, Productive, and Safe
The Trans-A-Dock has a lower profile of less than 6 inches, which allows users to ramp on and off. The Trans-A-Dock's load capacities include 3,000 to 5,000 pounds with travel distances to up to 55 inches. Platform sizes include 72 x 72, 72 x 96 or 96 x 72 inches. Other key features included in the Trans-A-Dock portable dock lifts include:
- Safety tread steel platform and bridge plate with chains
- Removable handrail / four safety chains with snap hooks
- Structural tube scissor legs
- Hinged safety restraint maintenance bars
- Velocity fuses on cylinders prevent descent if hydraulic pressure is lost
- Upper travel limit switch
- Mechanical upper travel back-up stops Double wire braid pressure hoses
- Internally mounted 1.5, 115/230V, 1PH, 60Hz, TENV intermittent duty super torque motor
- Push-button pendant control
- 24V operating control voltage
- Controller components UL and/or CSA approved
- Detachable dolly and flip-down wheels for portability
These features also may translate to a safer, more productive environment, daSilva says.
"The key is the lowered height – the ability to move it in and out of the way," he explains.
A dock lift creates a level loading and unloading situation rather than transporting a load at an incline on a ramp. If a worker is using a hand truck or other manual transportation methods, ramps can be more dangerous because operators are moving loads on an uneven surface. This can be an issue during inclement weather.
"If it's wet, the truck or the loader are more likely to slip," daSilva says. "You have to go slower to load and unload, so you have both a productivity and safety issue here."