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Factors for Selecting the Right Liftgate

Let Minoru Truck Bodies help you select the right liftgate for your application. Here are some important considerations in choosing the proper liftgate:


1. What is the floor-to-ground measurement of the vehicle?

2. Are doors roll-up or swing-type? (Some door hardware may interfere with some liftgate models.)

3. What is the cargo?

4. How large is the cargo? (This will help determine platform size.)

5. How much does the cargo weigh? (This will help determine the proper capacity.)

6. Is a load retention system needed? (Bulky, wheeled or hard-to-handle cargo may require a retention

    feature.)

7. What material handling devices will be used while loading/unloading?

8. Are there any dock loading/unloading requirements?

9. How often will the unit be used?

10. Will special conditions like environment necessitate special equipment?

11. What will be the source of your liftgate’s power?

12. What is the overall body width (OAW)?


Evaluating the Benefits of Liftgates in Delivery Applications

A vital part of transporting goods is getting them on and off the truck. However, driver shortages, driver retention and dock accessibility can all complicate delivery systems. A surprisingly diverse range of businesses have found an affordable, efficient solution in liftgates.


How do you know whether your operation would benefit from liftgates? And if so, how do you select a liftgate?

The following guidelines can help you assess what value a liftgate can add to your operation, by evaluating factors in delivery conditions and establishing liftgate selection criteria.


Factors in delivery conditions:

By design, liftgates excel at loading from ground to truck, or unloading from truck to ground. The more pickups or deliveries made away from a dock, the more likely the need for liftgates.


Liftgates can also:

  • Enable the delivery of heavy or bulky products, which are difficult for one person or even a team to maneuver alone.
  • Aid in-home deliveries, where loading docks are not present.
  • Respond to shortages of experienced drivers by enabling one person with a liftgate to complete deliveries safely and efficiently.
  • Reduce employee labor, thereby improving job satisfaction and job retention.
  • Eliminate lengthy waits to get to docks or use a forklift.
  • Accommodate just-in-time demands for fewer goods, delivered more frequently.
  • Increase delivery speed, particularly with heavy cargo.
  • Enhance workplace safety related to back and lifting injuries.
  • Reduce the risk of product damage.


Liftgate selection guidelines:

Once you’ve determined that your operation is a suitable candidate to benefit from liftgates, you need to establish your selection criteria.(1)


A taskforce within S.7 Trailers & Bodies Study Group of The Maintenance Council (TMC), American Trucking Associations, worked on developing recommended practices (RP) for spec’ing liftgates.(2)


Key elements of TMC RP 727 include:

  • A detailed questionnaire that, among other objectives, prompts fleet managers to determine the heaviest load their liftgate may be required to handle.
  • Recommendations on liftgate power or recharge specifications.
  • Vehicle preparation and installation guidelines.


Some other considerations when choosing a liftgate and liftgate manufacturer include:

  • Capacity and capability –– the appropriate lifting power.
  • Demands of your pick-up and delivery conditions.
  • Requirements of the vehicle where it will be mounted.
  • Availability of replacement parts and broad network of distributors.
  • Access to web- and phone-based customer support, knowledgeable technical support and other technical resources.
  • Training, including training that is universally applicable to a broad mix of liftgate makes and types.
  • Suitability for high or low cycle applications.
  • Need for load-retaining devices.
  • Requirements for customization or application-specific features.
  • Cost to own, factoring purchase price, warranty, dependability, service life and performance benefits.
  • Reputation of manufacturer for providing a quality product and service after the sale, as well as a record of innovation, proximity of closest dealer, warehouse and manufacturing facility, as well as presence of distribution facilities throughout your same territories.
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