Any company with a loading dock knows that the safe and efficient loading and unloading of trucks is essential to operations. Beuschel Sales sells and installs loading dock equipment, but one factor that directly affects operations that we can’t change is the height of the dock. Designing your loading dock dimensions for your specific needs or altering your dock after the fact may make a real difference if regular problems are occuring.
Different Types of Trucks at Your Loading Dock
Because trucks are designed to carry different loads, they come in all shapes and sizes, with a wide variety of lengths, heights, and bed heights. If you are designing or redesigning your loading dock, you should determine the most common heights for trucks that will be backing into this space. Remember to factor float into your design as well. This is the difference in height from when the truck is fully loaded and when it’s empty and can be as much as 8 inches or 12 if the truck has air-ride trailer suspension.
Here are some common truck types and the ranges of their bed heights:
- Container truck – 55”-62”
- Semi truck – 48”-52”
- Flat-bed truck – 47”-62”
- City delivery truck – 45”-48”
- Low-boy truck – 19”-25”
Loading Dock Dimensions
What is the right dock height? There is no one answer. The average loading dock height is between 48 and 52 inches. To determine the proper loading dock height, here are some questions to ask:
- What is the service range of the trucks your company needs to accommodate?
- What is the mid-point of this range?
- What is the maximum grade capability of your material handling equipment consistent with your dock levelers and board length?
- What is the dock leveler and board length that can accommodate the difference in height from dock to truck, factoring in dock float?
If your loading dock must accommodate trucks with a wide range of heights, it may be wise to have multiple dock heights or one dock position that has a dock scissor lift or a truck leveler. Knowing what your material handling equipment can handle in terms of grade capability is also important. It can range from 3% for a pallet jack to 15% for a gasoline fork truck. Minimizing the incline/decline of the dock approach will protect your dock, your dock leveler, your material handling equipment, and the trucks themselves from damage. Loading dock layout is important in so many ways.
Not everyone can change their loading dock dimensions, but knowing what they are as well as the heights of the trucks that your dock services will help you make better decisions about how your company accommodates the vehicles they load and unload. If you have questions about your loading dock, please call us at Beuschel Sales anytime. We will be happy to talk to you about your needs and how we can help.