Ramps: Product Description
Container ramps, more commonly known as yardramps, are a movable metal ramp for loading and unloading shipping containers. The yardramp would be placed at the open doors of the unit, providing easy access for forklifts to ascend/descend the ramp. The alternative to yardramps would be to have a permanent loading dock, which lorries would reverse up to and the forklift would be driven straight into the container for loading or unloading. The advantage with yardramps is the cost effectiveness for businesses handling only one or two loads per day. This can work out much more economic than the cost of a permanent loading dock.
Yardramps can be moved around the yard or site, giving you excellent mobile usage, rather than having a permanent loading dock where all containers would need to be loaded and/or unloaded in the same place. Yardramps are the ideal solution for smaller sites where it would not be practical to build an expensive concrete loading dock and also for temporary requirements, short busy periods and temporary sites. Additionally, if a site already has a permanent loading dock, yardramps supply the ideal back up solution should any problems be encountered with the loading bay leveller system.
Most yardramps are constructed from welded steel, but some are made from aluminium. The aluminium ramps are much more expensive than the steel ones and only really need to be considered where the climate is constantly below freezing.
Although most yardramps are of a similar design, it is important to be aware of their individual features, and the potential impact they can have on operations:
- Usable width – it is strongly recommended to use a yardramp which is the width of a container for the full length of the ramp. Some ramps flare out at the top so that they are the full width of the container but are narrow for the majority of their length. This can require additional positioning and can prevent pallets entering the vehicle parallel. Some yardramps are supplied narrower to allow them to be shipped in a container. However, ideally they should be full width.
- Capacity – the industry standard capacity ramp is rated at 10 tonnes (22,000 lb) but some manufacturers produce alternative light duty 7-tonne (15,000 lb) models and some produce heavy duty 12-tonne (26,000 lb), 15-tonne (33,000 lb) or higher capacity yardramps.
- A level-off section at the top of the yardramp is required so that the load is inserted as parallel as possible to the floor of the vehicle, preventing impact with the roof and also improving visibility for positioning.
- The working height of mobile yardramps needs to be adjustable to suit varying vehicle bed heights. The working height will also alter slightly as the vehicle is loaded or unloaded and moves on its suspension. Normally a working range of 1.0 to 1.7 m (3'3" to 5'7") is considered suitable as this allows the ramp to reach containers at around 1525 mm (5'0"), down to Euro Trailers at around 915 mm (3'0").
- A full width exit lip which sits securely on the bed of the vehicle to allow full width access to the container. If the lip is narrower there is a risk of forklift trucks falling or getting stuck in gaps between the ramp and vehicle.
- Fully mobile design with an easily operated tow mechanism, allowing the yardramp to be quickly and easily moved into position on the vehicle or stored away until next needed.
Careful consideration should also be taken when selecting which ramp is the right one for your business.
The rated capacity of the ramp must always exceed the total moving load. It is better to over specify than under specify. Frequent use of light duty ramps can cause damage as these are only designed for occasional use. The condition of the surface of the work site should also be considered. If the yardramp is regularly being towed across a rough, uneven or stony surface, then the ramp should be fitted with pneumatic tyres rather than cheaper solid tyres, which are normally fitted as standard on many European ramps.