The European Materials Handling Federation (FEM) has just issued new guidance for customers, specifiers and end users of dock levellers that will have a significant impact over the coming months, says Jonathan Bowdler, service sales manager, Pickerings Lifts Loading Systems.
Jonathan says: "Members of FEM’s Elevation Equipment Product Group undertook wide-ranging research and end user feedback to conclude that a key application element of dock levellers built to BS EN 1398: 2009 is increasingly being overlooked and should be taken into account at the time of specification, or risk the overall life of the equipment being affected.
"It has become apparent that dock levellers are being used more and more in conjunction with pallet trucks or reach trucks with small hard wheels, rather than fork lift trucks with ‘normal’ rubber tyres which they were originally designed to be used alongside. This causes the upper deck of the structure to suffer localised damage over time because of the significantly higher pressure the trucks impose on the dock levellers.
"So whilst it is important to continue to match the capacity of your dock leveller to the load capacity of your materials handling equipment, it is also essential to assess the type of equipment being used in this loading environment in the first place.
"Our advice, following that of the FEM, is to check that the dock levellers you have in situ are capable of supporting the total load capacity you require, and that they are also suitable for use with your nominated truck fleet and types of vehicle – or potentially risk an expensive repair bill."
Pickerings Lifts Loading Systems offers a range of loading systems from dock levellers and roller shutters to industrial sectional doors and vehicle restraints. It works closely with customers to provide the most optimal application that is tailored to its loading processes and is a fit for purpose solution that will enhance the loading environment and operation.