Yard ramps are generally used in material handling operations. They provide a ramp for loading or off-loading materials to and from trucks, shipping containers, etc. These are mobile ramps, an alternative to concrete loading ramps.
Why use yard ramps?
When your business undertakes material handling operations, you need a way to help forklifts reach the truck’s bed level from the ground. You can construct a concrete loading ramp at your facility, but this will only be available for use when you are moving materials to and from vehicles at your premises.
You will need a more mobile alternative which can be transported anywhere you need to handle loading of goods. A yard ramp is one great alternative. You can just place the ramp near the truck, raise it so that it reaches the truck bed level, and secure it in place.
Forklifts can then use the ramp to carry loads to and from the truck or other vehicles, shipping containers, etc. These yard ramps may have railings on the sides as well, and this helps prevent accidents like the forklift swerving over the edge of the ramp.
What to choose? Steel or aluminum ramps
Steel or aluminum are the common materials used to build yard ramps. Both have their advantages and disadvantages:
Aluminum yard ramps: Aluminum ramps are lightweight and more maneuverable than steel ramps. They can be easier to tow around, and they can be used in small areas as well. If needed, they can turn and pivot in tight spaces much more easily than steel yard ramps. However, they have a much smaller load capacity, just around 16,000 lbs.
Steel yard ramps: These are much stronger and tougher than aluminum ramps. While you can buy steel ramps with different load capacities, they generally have a higher load capacity than their aluminum counterparts. You can transport loads of more than 30,000 lbs on steel ramps. They need maintenance and repairs, but they last much longer than aluminum ramps.
On the downside, they need regular maintenance. When you are transporting steel containers which have combustible materials in it, you need to be very careful because the friction caused by moving steel on steel can create sparks, which can cause a fire in the flammable load.
Types of yard ramps
Yard ramps come in many variations:
Ground-to-truck ramps: These ramps have a flat platform at the end that attaches to the truck. These are very safe for carrying heavy loads onto the truck.
Dock-to-ground ramps: These ramps gently slope down from the storage facility entryway to ground level, making it easier for forklifts to move material from storage building to a truck that is parked elsewhere.
Mobile yard ramps: While all yard ramps are portable, mobile ramps come with strong casters, and these wheels make it easier to move the ramps around.
Yard ramps are much more flexible and affordable than concrete loading ramps. You can buy used yard ramps in good condition to bring down the expense as well. You can even rent yard ramps as and when needed. This helps control the costs involved in material handling operations.