Safety is the first issue when choosing your dockboard or dockplate. Always make sure you are using a dockboard or dockplate designed to work for your loading environment.
- Equipment lifting capacity is used to suggest an ideal dock board capacity
- If three wheeled equipment is used, increase the capacity to the next higher capacity
- If the dockboard is used more than One Shift a day (8 hours), it should be increased to the next capacity level
- The dock board should be at least 12" wider than the widest equipment's wheel base
- Equipment types such as pallet jacks vs forklifts affect the dock boards clearance rating
- Knowing your docks differential is key to determining the required length (difference between dock height and trailer bed height)
Always use a dockboard or dockplate designed to meet or exceed the weight capacities that you are using on it. Take into account the differences in 3 wheeled forklifts and 4 wheeled forklifts. If you are using a 3 wheeled forklift, then you will need to increase your dockboard capacity to the next highest level. To figure the weight capacity that will be needed.
The width of the dockboard should be chosen by taking in to account, the products, and equipment that are going to be traveling over the board. Generally, the board should be 12" wider then the equipment used on it.
The length of the dockboard will vary depending on the type of equipment using it in relationship to the height differential at the loading dock. The height differential is the amount of inches up or down that the board will have to accommodate. Example: If the trailer is 55" from the ground, and the dock is 48" from the ground, then the height differential is 7". When choosing the right Dockboard or Dockplate, you should choose one that will accommodate the highest and lowest trailer serviced at the loading dock loacation. If a refrigerated trailer is serviced at the dock location, it is important to have the legs moved back to 14" instead of 11". In most cases when choosing the length of your board you will find that the same board accommodates two different height differentials. One for Pallet trucks and Hand carts, and one for Forklifts. If your loading dock will accommodate all types of equipment then you need to make sure that you get the board that will fit all the equipment specifications. Example: You determine that your capacity needed is 15,000 lbs. Your height differential is 7". The model BC6048 Dockboard accommodates the 15,000 lb, with a 7" height differential for forklift use. But only a 5" differential for Pallet Truck use. If you plan on using a pallet truck with the forklift, then you need to buy the dockboard that accommodates both the pallet truck and the forklift height differential, and the weight capacity of the forklift, you would choose BC6060. It has a rating of 15,000 lbs, and accommodates pallet trucks for up to a 7" height differential, and forklifts up to a 9" height differential.
The next issue might be price. Price will vary depending on whether your item is Aluminum (which is lighter weight, therefore desirable) or Steel (which is heavier, and sometimes necessary for extreme weight capacities). Size for Size, the Steel is less expensive, however, most of the time, Steel is more expensive to ship. The differences need to be measured if price is an issue.
Another issue could be how fast it can be brought to your door. In fact yesterday might be to late! We have a partial solution for that. Its called just being a state away! Ok, maybe two states. A Standard Dockplate or Dockboard is one that fits many different size and weight capacities. These standard sizes are warehoused in seven different locations across the United States, and are almost always ready to be shipped the next day after the order is taken. Shipping is drastically reduced on these items because of their location, and often you will get a better dockboard for the money spent by upgrading to a Standard Board size.
Need help choosing the right product for your application?
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