Dock Lift Overview

A simple and flexible means of accommodating vehicle height variations is the installation of a hydraulic dock lift. Dock lifts (aka elevating docks) can be built in virtually any size and capacity required for the application. They provide the ability to service trucks at any height and can also offer access to ground level for fork trucks. Pit mounted dock lifts are capable of height adjustments between 0" and 59". Greater efficiency can be achieved by utilizing a dock lift wide enough to allow side-by-side pallet loading.

It is also common for a dock lift to be set into a three-sided pit, recessed into the dock wall. It can also be mounted at the face of the dock, but may be an unwanted obstruction.

Dock lifts are also available in a low-profile design to facilitate ground to truck loading / unloading without the necessity of a pit. This is particularly beneficial when dealing with a hand pallet truck and low volume product movement.

When incorporating a dock lift into the overall dock design, it is important to choose a unit that will offer the greatest flexibility for the loading operations. Efficiency should always be one of the most considered factors. Dock lifts must be raised and lowered for each product transfer from dock to trailer; consequently they are less efficient than dock levelers.

Selecting the Correct Dock Lift

Determine the Lifting Capacity
Lifting Capacity = Load Weight + Material Handling Equipment Weight + Operator Weight


  • Load Weight: 4,500 lbs
  • Fork Truck Weight: 7,300 lbs
  • Operator Weight: 200 lbs
  • Scissor Lift Capacity Required: 12,000 lbs

Determine the Axle Capacity
The axle capacity is the amount of weight placed on a lift as the load and transport vehicle enters the lift.

This is the point at which the most stress is placed on the lift, as the weight is concentrated on one side of the lift.  Blue Giant scissor lifts have a single axles rating of 80% across the open ends and 50% across the sides.

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