10 advantages of vertical loading dock levelers over the conventional type

Why should I choose a vertical loading dock leveler for my warehouse or logistics center over a conventional one? That’s the question we aim to answer by providing you with the 10 advantages that vertical levelers offer.

Currently, the vast majority of logistics and distribution centers use conventional levelers on their loading docks. That said, if your warehouse needs to maintain specific temperature and humidity levels, or needs to meet specific hygiene standards, a conventional leveler is not the best option.

Loading docks are a key site for the entry of warm air from the outside and the exit of and cold air from the inside, a phenomenon known as the cold air stack effect. But they’re also a great opportunity for saving money spent on energy bills.

Using the advantages that the vertical loading dock leveller posses versus a conventional leveller, we aim to explain why it’s the perfect solution for facilities and uses that require strict climate control and high hygiene standards.

Vertical loading dock levellers

1. Allows truck doors to be opened from the inside

One of the main advantages of a vertical leveller lies in how it operates while the loading and unloading of goods takes place. In this case, thanks to the leveller’s vertical position, truck doors can be opened from inside the warehouse, preventing the cold chain from being broken and reducing the total time it takes for each operation to be carried out.

Description of the loading process using a vertical dock leveller

1.The truck is positioned with its rear to the door, approaching it until touching.

2.The truck doors can remain closed and the driver does not need to leave the cabin.

3.The dock assistant opens the truck doors from inside the building and lowers the leveller to the required position.

4.The loading and unloading process is carried out in the same way as with a conventional dock.

loading process vertical dock

The loading process using a conventional dock leveller

1. The truck is positioned with its rear to the door, leaving a certain amount of space.

2. The driver exits the vehicle and fully opens the truck’s rear doors. At this point, warm air enters the truck, filling the volume not taken up by the load.

3. The driver re-enters the truck and moves it towards the dock until touching.

4. The driver (who exits the truck again) or the dock assistant opens the dock door and puts the conventional leveller into position so that loading/unloading of goods can begin.

5. Once completed, the dock door is closed and the driver moves the truck forward enough to be able to close its doors.

6. Finally, the driver exits the truck to close its doors and then re-enters the vehicle before continuing on to their next destination.

conventional dock leveler

2. Smaller pit than with conventional levellers

The vertical leveller’s need for a smaller pit than conventional levellers has a very positive effect on air loss from the inside, as there is a smaller exit point.

conventional dock levellers

3. More efficient seal

Thanks to the advantages previously mentioned and, combined with an inflatable shelter, this type of loading dock leveller allows for a seal superior to that provides by other levellers on the market.

As can be seen in the images below, the conventional leveller sees a number of gaps appear due to misalignment between the protector and the truck trailer, as well as openings created by the hinges on the truck doors themselves.

Images of a conventional loading dock leveller:

dock leveller

Images of a vertical loading dock leveller:

vertical dock leveler

According to a study by the Polytechnic University of Madrid on the Alapont vertical leveller and its inflatable dock shelter, the areas with air leaks cannot be detected with the naked eye nor using infrared thermography.

There is no such thing as 100% protection and literature on the subject suggests that docks of this type provide a level of protection of between 96-98%.

However, infrared images show that the vertical leveller (photos-D) provides a contrast between the warm area (light in colour) and the cold area (dark in colour, in the trailer), while the conventional leveller (photos-E) generates a blurry area over the gap between the protector and the trailer. This indicates that an influx of warm air.

4. Allows the complete closure of sectional doors to ground level

When not in use, the leveller is stored in a vertical position, allowing the sectional door to be closed down to ground level. This way, both the entry and exit of air that would destabilise the inside temperature are prevented, improving efficiency and minimising energy loss.

Alapont’s vertical solution (vertical leveller+inflatable shelter) can help you obtain official certification, such as IFS LOGISTICS certification. Find out more.

5. Easy operation

The system features a simple and efficient control panel. It operates sequentially and saves time when loading and unloading.

6. Improved hygiene

Its vertical position allows quick and comfortable access to the pit for cleaning, vital for upholding the high hygiene standards required in sectors such as the food industry.

This easy of access also means better leveller maintenance without having to go to great lengths.

7. Maximum safety

The vertical loading dock leveller includes multiple safety features:

  • The cylinder’s fall-arrest valve prevents the platform from falling in the event of a hose bursting or failure of the hydraulic solenoid.
  • The side toe-guards are highly visible in order to comply with regulations.
  • Position indicator.
  • 76 mm exit locks prevent truck drivers from leaving the road surface.   
  • Safety mast for maintenance tasks.
  • Sensor that allows the constant levelling of the dock on the truck, facilitating loading and avoiding sudden blows during transit.
  • Emergency STOP button on the control panel used to halt the leveller at its current position in emergencies.

8. Energy saving

There’s no doubt that loading docks are a key area for energy loss in warehouses and distribution centres.

Thanks to a more efficient seal and its vertical position, this type of leveller can significantly reduce energy loss, particularly noticeable in refrigerated warehouses and centres, equating to a large saving for businesses.

This effect is amplified considerably when used on a large industrial scale.

9. Reduced CO2 emissions

Just as energy demands decrease when using a vertical leveller, the emission of greenhouse gasses, such as CO2, is also diminished, promoting a more sustainable ecosystem.

10. Fast return on investment

Thanks to the energy saving properties of vertical levellers, these devices allow business to recover their investment costs even faster than with traditional levellers.

Now you know the advantages of having a vertical loading dock leveler at your center. If you’re interested, you can request a quote and get detailed information here.

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