DID YOU KNOW? All of our technicians are employees of Overhead Door. We never use subcontractors!

DID YOU KNOW? All of our technicians are employees of Overhead Door. We never use subcontractors!

What is a Loading Dock Leveler?

If you’ve ever seen a transport vehicle back up to a building, then you’ve probably seen a loading dock leveler. It’s an essential piece of equipment that makes it efficient to move goods and other equipment from the trailer bed onto the warehouse floor or vice versa. Loading areas that lack a leveler can be hazardous due to higher risks of injury and extended production time, making levelers an essential piece of equipment for most warehouses and commercial operations.

loading dock leveler

Understanding the Parts of Loading Dock Levelers

The main components of loading dock levelers are the deck, lip, push bar, and bumpers. They are mechanical devices that are adjustable and customization.

The Lip

The lip of the loading dock leveler extends outward and onto the floor of the transport vehicle. It’s permanently affixed to the deck of the building. They usually consist of a tread pattern for greater safety during transport.

The Push Bar

Otherwise known as the activation system, the push bar is the mechanical arm that pushes the deck of the leveler into place. Depending on the type, it’s either powered by springs or an air bladder.

The Deck

Probably the most important part of the loading dock leveler is the deck. Sometimes called the ramp, it’s the section that is driven over — whether a professional is using a forklift, pallet jack, or hand truck. The deck is also the part that attaches to the lip to allow for the safe and efficient passage of warehouse vehicles and equipment.

The Bumpers

Although not technically part of the loading dock leveler itself, the bumpers add a crucial level of protection. They prevent the transport vehicle from running into the building and causing damage and injuries. They’re usually made of rubber and sit on the edge of each side of the loading dock.

The Most Popular Types of Loading Dock Levelers


The unique difference of hydraulic loading dock levelers is that they are specifically designed to handle high-capacity workloads. They also feature a velocity fuse which keeps the leveler from descending too quickly if the truck happens to pull away unexpectedly. Hydraulic systems are also regenerative and require less maintenance than other types.

Air-Powered Dock Levelers

As the name suggests, this type of leveler uses air bag lifting technology. The air bag is activated by a power button that causes the bag to inflate or deflate. These are ideal for atmospheres that experience extreme temperatures.

Mechanical Levelers

The most versatile is the mechanical leveler. It’s operated when a release chain is pulled, lifting the leveler into position. Professionals also appreciate the open frame design which makes for easy cleaning and maintenance.

mechanical loading dock levelers

What are Dock Locks?

Dock locks and vehicle restraints are important to worker safety and enhanced productivity. They prevent forklifts and other equipment from falling off the dock. The dock lock or vehicle restraint is mounted to the building and looks like a large hook. When the transport vehicle backs up to the building, the dock lock attaches to the rear guard. Most can restrain a vehicle with a pullout force of up to 30,000 lbs.

About The Author | Justin White

Justin White is the VP of Marketing for Mid-Atlantic Door Group, Inc. The company opened in 1973 and now consists of (3) official Overhead Door™ Distributors and (8) warehouse locations throughout Maryland, DC, Virginia and Pennsylvania. Justin was born into the door industry, ultimately following in his father's footsteps and joining the family owned business in 2011. After spending time in the field with fellow mechanics, Justin found his niche in marketing, along with a specialty in residential garage door sales, installation, and service.

Garage Door Services

Since 1973, Mid-Atlantic Door Group, Inc. has been providing Washington DCFrederick MD, Southern MD, Northern VA, Fredericksburg VA, Richmond VA, Harrisburg PA, Hanover PA, and the surrounding areas with the most reliable and trusted garage door services. These services include new door sales, professional installation, and 24/7 garage door repair services on all makes and models.

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