Most warehouses share the same problem. They need to figure out how to bridge the gap between their loading dock and the truck making a delivery or doing a pickup. Trucks vary in height as well, so there is quite often a height difference to deal with at the same time. They usually have full pallets that need to be loaded or unloaded, and they cannot simply be lifted over the space between the truck and the loading dock. This is where dock plates come in. What is a dock plate? They are essentially very large and very strong ramps that can be placed across the gap, and allow the pallets or boxes to be dragged onto or off of the truck.
Dock plates are suitable for lighter loads, like handcarts, pump trucks, or dollies, which would be used to manually transfer goods on or off of the truck. Another thing to consider is the level of run-off prevention that a dock plate will give you. On a dock plate, it is only prevented by a yellow stripe painted along the edge of the plate, and therefore run-offs are more likely with a dock plate, as opposed to a dock board. If you are looking for something that will be able to handle a forklift or electric pallet truck, a dock board may be a better option for you. They are boards that are made of steel, and thus much stronger. They also have curbs or boards welded to the side, which will be more effective in preventing a run-off than the simple yellow strip of a dock plate.
A dock plate will have a diamond pattern embossed onto its upper surface. This will prevent wheel slips as carts or other vehicles travel up and down the plate. It will also come equipped with locking T-bar legs that will extend down into the gap between the loading dock and the truck, to secure itself. Dock plates are portable and due to their lighter nature, may often be carried from place to place by hand. Many plates will be fitted with handles to make this task easier.
A dock plate is a low-cost option for smaller warehouses that do a small to medium amount of lighter weight loading. Due to the portable nature of a dock plate, you will be required to manually move it in and out of place each time you need to use it. You should also keep in mind its weight capacity, and if you are looking to do a large amount of heavier weight lifting, you may want to consider other options. Dock boards are similar to dock plates in that they are portable, but they are able to support much heavier weights. Their higher weight capacity does mean though that they are much heavier themselves, and will likely require a forklift or other machine of some sort in order to move it, which is something to consider. Depending on the amount of shipping and receiving you do, a permanent installment like a dock leveler may be a good investment. Knowing what is a dock plate and the differences between it and other similar products are important in order to make a proper decision for your business.