Knowing when to repair or when to replace your loading dock equipment is crucial to safety and getting the most from your equipment. It can be a fine line, as everything "seems" "repairable" however this is not the case with dock equipment for safety and efficiency concerns.
For loading dock levelers, there are several main aspects to look for when considering a replacement leveler.
Rusting and corrosion of frame components
One major concern for replacing a dock leveler is rusting of the frame or deck components. Rusting that is severe poses a safety risk to workers using the equipment. It is also an indication of age. The average life expectancy of a pit-mounted dock leveler is about 20-25 years, depending on the brand and use. A dock leveler that is in this condition should be replaced. A common rule of thumb is, if you have to do major welds for structural components (frame and deck), there is no credible way of repairing the leveler, and a downward spiral is likely coming or occurring for replacement parts and equipment condition. Weighing this with the cost of repairs with a credible repair company, you're best off to replace the equipment.
Dishing or deck deflection
Another concern to look out for is dishing or deflection of the deck. The next step of a dishing deck is cracks forming in the steel or broken structural welds on the beams, if they're not already present. This poses a serious safety hazard and should be replaced. Unfortunately, there are no replacement options for a deck alone, and the cost to do so would outweigh the replacement cost if there was one.
Dock levelers and their components age differently based on use, environment, and brand. As mentioned previously, the main rules of thumb are life expectancy and repairs that dramatically change the makeup and intended factory design/engineering of the leveler. All issues of structural integrity are a major red flag of age and use, and should be replaced.
If you are considering a replacement dock leveler, a well-known and dependable manufacture of equipment is Poweramp. Based in Germantown, Wisconsin, Poweramp dock levelers have a reputation for a strong and "structurally-superior" design. If you're looking for loading dock levelers (in Cleveland OH), we'll be happy to take a look and quote your project. Call us today at 855-951-4499.