A loading ramp is an essential piece of heavy commercial equipment in warehouses and on construction sites, as well as in many other environments. Buildings are not always built with heavy machinery in mind, hence there are differences in floor levels and heights of transport vehicles. Loading ramps compensate for this height difference and make loading and unloading of goods and bulky items, such as heavy industrial equipment and vehicles easier.
Why Do You Need A Loading Ramp
A loading ramp offers tons of benefits. The most important, though, is that it helps ensure safety as it makes it easy to load heavy machinery for transport. This allows you to safely take your machinery wherever you need it. Secondly, another important challenge faced by many across industries, is how quickly they can load and unload machinery. Ramps make the process much faster. Simply drive your machinery up the ramp and onto the truck. In addition, not only are you saving time, but you’re also saving money by reducing manpower required to get your gear from one place to the next.
How To Choose The Right Loading Ramp
Your choice of loading ramp will depend on the nature of your business or the type of machinery you are intending to transport. You want something that suits your machinery, from weight to tyres and tracks.
Which Is Better: Steel Or Aluminium?
However, another important factor in choosing a ramp is material, often there is a choice between aluminium and steel. If you’re wondering how to decide which of the two would be the right material, your choice will be based on the following factors: durability, strength, quality of the finish, safety, and sustainability.
Both materials have their own set of strengths and weaknesses. However, aluminium scores well on all factors. For instance, if you’re looking for a loading ramp that will last, aluminium is a highly corrosion resistant metal. It can easily withstand deterioration due to weather elements such as rain and hail. Similarly, it is also a metal that is easy to maintain.
On the other hand, though, steel scores higher than aluminium in terms of strength. It is a robust material that can handle heavy weights. However, this does make it heavier than aluminium, which can make setting up your loading ramp a little more inconvenient.
Really, the choice between aluminium and steel comes down to what you need. Make sure to read about any products before you purchase them, so you can be sure they’ll meet your requirements.
Choosing The Right Loading Ramp
Once you’ve settled on your material, there’s still a couple of other considerations to examine before you’ve got the perfect ramp lined up.
Can Your Loading Ramp Handle The Load?
Regardless of the material you choose, you need to look at the max weight for your loading ramp. You’ll easily find options in either material that can cater to a range of weight capacities. What you need to factor in is the weight of your machinery plus any additional items, like accessories, gear and even the crew getting everything loaded up and ready to transport. While your heavy machinery may only come in at a tonne or so, extra attachments like buckets and augers can easily add to the weight. So, make sure to do the maths to find out what your ramp really needs to handle.
What Rung Shape Do You Need?
With the range of heavy machinery out there, you can expect that there’s plenty of variation in their tracks, treads, and tyres too. That’s why the rung shape of your loading ramp is so important. For instance, if your machinery has steel tracks, they’ll chew up and damage the rungs of an aluminium ramp. Similarly, if the rungs of the loading ramp have been made for tyres, chances are they won’t be as strong as those made to withstand steel tracks. However, before you get too wrung out of shape, you may be in luck and not need to worry about ramps at all! Some machinery only needs a flat loading ramp.
What Ramp Length Do I Need?
It’s time to pull out the calculator — the right loading ramp gives you the right loading angle. If it’s too steep or gentle, you might not be able to efficiently and safely get your machinery into the transport vehicle. Ideally, you want an angle of 18 degrees, however anywhere between 16 to 23 degrees is fine. All you need to do then is grab the loading height of your vehicle and plug into any one of the great online ramp calculators out there. It’ll help you narrow down the perfect ramp length.
Staying Safe While Using Your Loading Ramp: Loose Ramps Loose Trouble
It’s all well and good to have the right ramp picked out, but if you don’t know how to use it safely, you’re in for a world of trouble.
First things first, your loading ramp should always be securely attached. Otherwise, as you’re loading machinery, the ramp can easily start to slip, slide, or shift. Very quickly, your machinery can come off the ramp and be damaged, not to mention hurt people around it.
Therefore, it’s important that you set yourself up for success. For starters, ensure that the transport vehicle and the ramp are both on a flat surface, stable and brakes have been applied.
Now you must ensure that the angle formed between the ramp and vehicle does not have a difference of less than 16°. Next, you should check spacing between the two sections of the ramp. It should be set up to accommodate the axle width of the machinery being moved.
With the ramp in position, you can securely attach it to the transport vehicle. How you attach a loading ramp will depend on the ramp make and model. You may need to strap or tie the ramp into position. Follow the product instructions closely.
Then, you can start loading your machinery! Be sure to only have experience and licensed drivers moving the machinery, and to keep speeds low — 1–2 km/h — and avoid sudden acceleration, braking or turns. Otherwise, the machinery or loading ramp may tip.
Looking After Your Loading Ramp
A loading ramp is a major investment and to ensure that you get a good return on this investment for a long time, you will need to invest time and money in maintenance. The best way to go about ensuring that your ramp is always ready for action is to follow a periodic maintenance schedule.
This maintenance routine doesn’t need to be complicated though. Checking for cracks, build-up of dust and debris, and making sure it’s safely stored away from the elements are all part of getting the most out of your loading ramp.
Similarly, if you ever need to transport your ramp somewhere, ensure to do so safely. The best way is to lay them down flat horizontally, rather than having them sticking up vertically. Additionally, tie them down so that they aren’t bumping or jolting about as you travel down the road. This will not only look after your ramp but protect you and other road users.
Find Your Loading Ramp Today
If you’re on the lookout for a good-quality loading ramp, then try searching online. Be sure to check the product description to learn about each ramp. However, if you are unsure of which one will be best for your business needs, then you can ask one of their in-house experts and consultants for guidance.