Mechanical and Hydraulic Dock Leveller

Dock levellers are an essential part of the loading and unloading process. There are different types of dock levellers such as mechanical, hydraulic, and air dock levellers, and so on. From them, the most commonly used are mechanical and hydraulic dock levellers. They act as a bridge between the loading and unloading materials from the trucks.

These dock levellers make it possible to work efficiently ensuring the smooth transition of materials and the safety of the employees. This makes the loading process easy and requires less labour. The two dock levellers, mechanical and hydraulic have different functions, here are a few points to help one understand the difference between them.

What is a mechanical dock leveller?

Mechanical dock leveller, just what its name indicates, requires manual effort to operate the machine. A trained operator controls and handles the loading and unloading, he/she is responsible to perform the task ensuring the safety and efficiency.

Here are a few other things to know about mechanical dock leveller.

  1. It works on spring power and requires manual operation
  2. It requires the operator to first test the dock leveller by walking on it and levelling it preparing it for loading and unloading process
  3. The operator has to be skilled to adjust the leveller as per the requirement, the trailer should be below the dock’s height.
  4. The mechanical dock levellers have springs, latches, hold-downs, this helps to perform the necessary task. This also indicates that these parts of the machine has to be maintained regularly and need frequent replacement.
  5. It is also weather-sensitive and responds differently during cold and hot weather. It expands in summer and contracts in winter, this requires consistent adjustment before use.

What is hydraulic dock leveller?

Hydraulic dock levellers are automated and work at a push of a button. They are specially programmed to lower or increase the height to align with the trailer without causing any inconvenience to the operator. It is easy to operate but it is a little expensive as compared to the mechanical dock leveller. It is a one time investment and saves a lot of time.

A few other things to know about hydraulic dock leveller.

  1. It is easy to operate, with just a push of the button he/she can get his/her work done.
  2. The button controls the leveller increasing and decreasing the height as per the requirement and also the extension lip that is placed on the trailer.
  3. After the loading or unloading process is completed, the operator has to only push the button to return the leveller in the stored position. It is programmed to automatically return in the non-working position.
  4. Hydraulic dock leveller reduces the chance of injury or on-site accidences and requires low manpower.
  5. It consumes less time and provides efficient work. Everyone is busy with work and focus on doing things efficiently saving time to do other productive activities.

Choosing the right dock leveller

While choosing the right dock leveller there are many factors to consider such as the cost of the machine, how frequently does it need maintenance, operating the machine, and the loading capacity of the machine.

Cost of the machine

It is important to plan a budget before investing, while mechanical dock levellers are reasonable and affordable it has its pros and cons. Same goes with the hydraulic dock leveller it may be a little pricey but it is excellent for heavy-duty.

How frequently does it need Maintenance

Hydraulic dock leveller requires less maintenance as compared to mechanical dock leveller. In mechanical dock leveller, the three main parts that are excessively used for its functioning are power pack, deck cylinder, and the lip cylinder. These parts are exposed to tremendous pressure while performing these activities, hence it is important to regularly maintain them.

Operating the Machine

For any work to be done it needs skilled labour, good equipment, and time. Mechanical dock leveller requires a trained professional to operate the machine, even a slight lack of coordination will obstruct the smooth functioning of the machine. It also requires the operator to test the machine by walking on it to even out the leveller. A hydraulic dock leveller is automated and functioning with a push of a button.

The loading capacity of the machine

Make sure to enquire about the loading capacity of the dock leveller. Heavy products such as steel, liquid, or paper rolls can be easily transported with the help of hydraulic dock leveller. Lighter products such as food products, clothes, packaging, and so on are suited for mechanical dock levellers.


In short, among these different types of dock levellers, it is the individual’s choice to select the one that suits their need. The above pointers will help anyone understand the difference between the two dock levellers, mechanical and hydraulic, after understanding the pros and cons one can make an easy decision for availing the service.