The primary purpose of using a dock plate is to connect the loading dock and the trailer. While it has the same function as a dock leveler, the similarity ends there. They are both loading dock equipment and have a common goal, but their applications are different in terms of efficiency, productivity, load capacity, and space requirements. When it comes to loading and unloading light loads, dock plates are a great option.

What is a dock plate?

A dock plate is a piece of metal that is flat and comes with a slight bend. The purpose of using it is for smooth transitions. It has a capacity of up to 17,000 pounds and made from either aluminum or steel. It is specifically designed to be lightweight and portable.

Due to its characteristics, a dock plate can only load lighter materials such as when using trolley carts, panel trucks, dollies, pallet jacks, etc. Another distinctive quality of a dock plate is the safety features of the loading dock run-off or drop-off. Its standard safety feature is the painted suboptimal yellow border on either side. The yellow border offers an excellent visual signal, but it is still beneficial to have locking legs in place to prevent out of place shifting of the plate.

The difference between a dock plate and a dock board

Dock plates and dock boards have a similar appearance but have different methods of usage. A dock board is commonly used in heavy-duty applications for commercial and industrial industries since it is designed to carry larger and heavier weights.

On the other hand, a dock plate is generally used for lighter loads and lighter foot traffic. A dock plate is also lighter compared to a dock board. With the use of its built-in handles, one or two persons can use the dock plate to transport loads.

Special features of a dock plate

  • Legs. The legs are a great way to avoid shifting of the plate once work has started. Keep in mind that the legs are not designed to function as ground support. Warping or bending may occur if you use the legs as support.
  • Traction surfaces. The same with a high-traction grit coating or diamond plate, the traction surfaces of a dock plate help prevent slipping and falling, particularly in harsh weather.
  • Hi-visibility markings. These markings help people to be more alert when working within or around the loading dock.

Dock plates are the right solutions for lower capacities. So, if you are using a cart, dolly, or a pallet jack to load objects from a truck, make sure to use a dock plate. Determine the maximum amount of the height difference of the trailer floor height and the dock height to be able to get the dock plate length.

Knowing the dock height and the truck height will give you the max height difference. For example, if you have 48 inches of dock height and 54 inches of truck height, then you will have +6 inches of maximum height difference. But if the height of the vehicle is lower than the height of the dock, you have two methods to use. You can lift the truck bed by using wheel risers or use the dock plate in reverse by putting the lip on the loading dock and the plate in the vehicle.