Are You Ready for Air Ride?
Air-Ride Trailers are gaining popularity for:
- Better cargo protection
- Longer trailer life
- Driver retention
The increasing presence of air suspensions poses special challenges for dock design and equipment selection. When air is dumped from the suspension system in air-ride trailers, the deck height can drop up to 8 inches.
Accommodating this equipment will require lower dock heights or longer levelers to ensure the proper slope for loading and unloading. In addition, levelers should also have full-range, free-float capabilities to adjust for fluctuating bed heights during loading and unloading. Furthermore, dock seals and shelters must be able to withstand the friction created by trailer movement.
The increased use of air-ride suspensions will also increase the probability of trailer “walk” or trailer movement away from the dock due to repetitive forklift impact. Trailer “walk” or “creep” is more pronounced on trailers with air-ride suspensions and is known as “dock walk.”
Dock Walk Solutions:
Bleeding Air – or dumping air from the bladders prior to loading/unloading can help reduce dock walk, but due to weather conditions or inconvenience is not always practiced.
Trailer suspension options are available to help eliminate dock walk problems at the source, but they can be costly and currently are not found on the majority of trailers with air-ride suspensions.
Another dock walk solution is automatic vehicle restraints including Rear Impact Guard (RIG) style restraints and Wheel Dependent restraints.
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