Liftgates: A handy and underrecognized piece of equipment

If you’re in e-commerce fulfilment for any amount of time, you’ll find the need to learn about liftgate shipping solutions eventually. There’s no shortage of blogs and sites offering a ‘liftgate’ definition for your reading pleasure, but we’re more than happy to give you the meaning right here. Because you’re cool and you deserve it. So here are a few questions and answers all about this cool piece of underrated machinery so you can inform yourself before you need to use one yourself.

So what are they, anyway? And how much are they? 

Basically, they’re pieces of hydraulic or electric equipment that is installed onto the back of a delivery truck or van. They allow heavy objects to be lifted from the ground to the level of the vehicle’s tailgate, or the other way around. In most cases, they’re required when there’s no loading dock or forklift at the delivery site for unloading purposes, especially when the freight is heavy enough that human beings might have trouble getting it down, or even injure themselves in the process. Liftgate cost can vary wildly depending on type and model, but you’re typically looking at a price up to around $7,000.

And how about liftgate capacity? 

These also vary widely, but when it comes to most models you’re looking at a weight limit of anywhere from 1500 to 3500 pounds. There are plenty of different kinds, as there are many different types of vehicles to attach them to and weights of cargo they need to handle. A power liftgate truck, as an example, is occasionally attached to vehicles in place of the more traditional hydraulic model. These run on electricity instead of fluid-filled pistons. The power liftgate release comes by way of a keyfob so it’s able to be done safely at a distance.

How does it all work?

It’s often the case that a delivery is going to a warehouse or final destination that doesn’t have a loading dock, a forklift, or the manpower to unload the freight. These places can include residential addresses, small shops, construction sites, or other locations which don’t necessarily have professional receiving capabilities. As a result, heavy equipment which can’t be safely unloaded by human workers has to be lowered onto ground level some other way. Hence why we implement machinery. As this technology is common in the fulfilment industry, it’s not difficult to find a service that rents trucks or vans equipped with such technology. Although many people don’t know exactly what to expect, there’s little reason to be concerned. The service acts almost identically to any other delivery service, with the exception of how the cargo is unloaded from the vehicle.

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