Dock Board or Dock Plate? How to Make the Right Choice

Dock Board for Forklift Loading

Copperloy Dock Board

Dock Plate for Loading Dock

Copperloy Dock Plate

While dock boards and dock plates are similar products, they have defining characteristics that make one or the other more appropriate for your application.

For example, dock boards handle higher capacity loads.  Dock plates, in comparison, are better suited for lower-capacity equipment. Furthermore, though either can use chains as a lifting device, a dock board can also use lift loops.

Dock plates, on the other hand, use nylon straps as the preferred alternate lifting method.  Finally, both dock plates and dock boards are made from either steel or aluminum depending on the specific application.

Keeping those differences in mind, let’s determine which piece of equipment you’ll need. To take the guesswork out of choosing a dock board or dock plate, we’ve created a helpful step-by-step guide.

Step 1: Board or Plate

If you’ll be using a fork truck, you’ll need to go with a dock board that can handle higher capacity loads. If you’ll be using a pallet jack, dolly, or cart to carry loads from a truck, you should go with a dock plate that’s suitable for lower capacities.

Step 2: Capacity

To determine the capacity needed for either your board or plate, use this formula:

Weight + Load x 0.9 = Capacity

So for a forklift of 11,000 lbs. and max load of 4,000 lbs., the resulting capacity would be 13,500 lbs.:

11,000 + 4,000 x 0.9 = 13,500

Step 3: Length

The necessary length of your dock board or dock plate is determined by the maximum amount height difference between the dock height and the floor height of the trailer(s) being serviced.

Truck Height – Dock Height = Max Height Difference

So if the Truck Height is 54 inches and the Dock Height is 48 inches, the Max Height Difference is +6 inches.

From here, use the table below to determine the dock board or dock plate length.

But what if the Truck Height is lower than the Dock Height? In that case, you have two options.

  1. The dock board (with chains instead of lift loops) or dock plate must be used in reverse, with the board or plate will be in the truck and the lip on the dock.
  2. Raise the truck bed with wheel risers.

Step 4: Width

Copperloy recommends a minimum width of 60 inches for dock boards that will be used with forklifts and a width of 54 inches for dock plates used with pallet trucks.

Also, remember that safety curbs take up 6 to 8 inches of usable space depending on the dock board.

Custom Dock Board and Dock Plate Design Services

Some loading equipment solutions are better for some facilities than others, and if you do not get the right equipment, it can even reduce productivity and efficiency. So, we offer custom design and manufacturing services with the help of our expert engineering team. For example, our team has custom manufactured many freight loading solutions including dock boards, dock-to-ground ramps, lift tables, yards ramps, and more!

Every workspace has its own unique series of characteristics, so designing dock boards and dock plates is different for each and every client. We will work with you to ensure every aspect of your new dock board suits your specific operation. In fact, we offer a variety of materials to meet our clients’ requirements including specialty steels, beryllium copper, extruded aluminum, plastic, and more!

Connect with the Copperloy team today to send in your CAD drawings, so we can begin developing the ideal equipment solutions for your facility in just three simple steps:

1. Initial Call – During our first call with you and your team, we will gather the information necessary for creating the best dock boards and plates for your operation. This information will include measurements, dock height, weight capacities, width requirements, and any other relevant details.

2. Engineering Department – Our expert engineering team will then review your requirements and specifications, and our production manager will determine the amount of time we will need to develop your equipment.

3. Final Design and Pricing – Lastly, we connect with our network of local material suppliers to determine pricing. Then, we draw up a design and determine the cost of production. Finally, we will send you the estimate for your to review and approve.

With Copperloy, you can acquire the best possible equipment solutions for your facility, so you can maximize your productivity while saving time and money.

Still have questions? We’re here to help you choose the right loading dock equipment, yard ramps  or portable yard ramp. Contact us today.[/av_textblock]