Truck restraints, which may also be known as vehicle restraints, are an important safety component of dock equipment. These durable mechanical devices are used to keep a heavy vehicle, such as a truck or a bus, in place. This is primarily to prevent the vehicle from moving when unloading or loading operations are in place. Though they are very innocuous in shape and appearance, these devices are tremendously powerful and are used extensively in industrial operations all over the world. Because of the immense pressure exerted on them, truck restraints are normally made from sturdy material, such as stainless steel or reinforced alloys of certain metals.
Truck restraints are normally affixed to the surface of the truck’s trailer and the dock by the use of anchors. Some truck restraints are available with a set of hooks for greater flexibility in operation. These devices have a low maintenance requirement and are normally coated with anti-corrosion paint to prevent wear and tear. They are simple to operate and store under adverse industrial conditions.
There are four main types of truck restraints. The manual vertical barrier restraint is generally lowest cost type of restraint. These types of truck restraints are usually used by smaller companies where employees are supervised for consistent, correct use of the restraint. These devices can be used on a driveway, or above ground on the dock face, where the restraint has less exposure to things such as the ice, snow, dirt and debris. Workers use an operating bar to pull the metal barrier device into contact with the truck’s rig to prevent it from moving.
The automatic vertical barrier restraint is almost the same as the manual type. However, the main difference is that the worker sets the device in motion by pushing a button which starts up a hydraulic or electro-mechanical system which moves the barrier into the proper position. This type of restraint is commonly used in any setting from low-traffic to high traffic operations.
The automatic rotating hook restraint is ideal for preventing all causes of trailer separation. These restraints are operated by push button and are typically mounted above the ground. This device is made to hold trailers in place by a steel hook which rotates itself around the rig. While the truck is backing into the dock, its rig contacts a spring-loaded housing which automatically sets it to the proper height. Once it is connected, the rig can’t separate or move away from the loading dock.
The fourth type of truck restraint is the automatic wheel restraint. These are the most flexible type of restraint as they don’t rely on a truck's rig for securing it to the dock. Instead, they affix directly to the truck's rear wheels. A locking arm puts it in the right position and the truck's tire is engaged by pushing a button. Wheel restraints are ideal at protecting against all causes of trailer separation and can be used by any type of truck as the restraint mechanism can adjust to different tire sizes.