Loading ramps are devices that compensate for the differences between the delivery point and the transport vehicle level. They are used for loading and unloading goods from trucks or containers. They come in all sizes and styles, and can be found usually in warehouses or outside in shipping or train yards. Simply put, the loading ramp is a key to success in the logistics chain.
Having the right loading ramp for your specific operation can increase efficiency at the workplace and provide maximum security and stability to get the job done. Depending on the construction, they can be designed to carry the weight of hand trucks, foot traffic or fully laden forklifts. Getting to know the different types of loading ramp options can help you select the best one for your business needs.
Heavy Duty Ramps
As the name suggests, heavy duty ramps are perfect for heavyweight machinery. They are designed to be exceptionally durable and support massive amounts of weight. This type of ramps requires low levels of maintenance and can be used for various purposes thanks to their superior degree of safety. You can choose loading ramps in a sturdy, one-piece or two-piece design that can be easily dismantled, moved to a new location, and reassembled or stored efficiently.
Two-piece heavy duty ramps usually have a weight limit per axle, which means that each side supports up to a certain weight. They don’t need to be particularly long, but they are strong, and if you are loading machinery on rocky or uneven ground, a two-piece ram can help you level things out. Heavy duty ramps are meant for loading and unloading huge objects with massive weights. These ramps include levellers, car and truck ramps, forklift ramps, Bobcat ramps, military and walk ramps.
Mobile Loading Ramps
If your operations require a lot of mobility and adaptability, then a mobile loading ram may help you increase productivity. This type of ramps usually has heavy-duty wheels and castors to achieve a certain degree of portability and a lighter weight construction. The innovative wheel system allows the ramp to be easily and quickly moved from one location to another.
If you are loading multiple trucks across a yard or moving lots of machinery, the mobility of these ramps can be quite helpful for completing your operations successfully. Also, mobile loading ramps offer a fully self-supported design, which makes them some of the safest freestanding ramps on the market.
Railcar Loading Ramps
This type of ramps is capable of bearing heavy loads and is mobile. The railcars have rails on the platform on which the load is mounted and then lifted manually or mechanically to the required level. Railcar loading ramps can be used in the docking yards and for the transportation of cargo within a storage establishment.
Dock Loading Ramps
Many warehouses have docks that are relatively high up, preventing the standard height ramps from being usable. To access these higher up locations from the ground, you may consider dock ramps. They are portable and can drive vehicles up to the dock with them.
Forklift Loading Ramps
These are very uniquely shaped ramps that provide space for a forklift to manoeuvre and drop loads. They feature a traditional ramp design with additional space which allows the forklift to move at the top. Some forklift loading ramps have an L shape with a tall bottom, while others are simply wide and regular shaped ramps that offer plenty of room. They are ideal for locations that do a lot of material handling and need to manoeuvre these vehicles, therefore they are commonly found on yards.
Step Deck Trailer Ramps
These ramps are easy to assemble and disassemble and can support a wide range of vehicle weights. Usually, they come in two parts with one ramp for each axle. Typically, aluminium is the material of choice for these ramps due to its strength and low weight.
In addition to heavy-duty loading ramps, you may consider accessories to complement your durable ramp systems, such as the following.
- Heavy-duty chain and heavy-duty chain hook to secure heavy equipment to flatbed trailers for transport
- Lockable truck trailer loading ramp hangers
- Portable loading docks and platforms to ensure extra manoeuvrability for forklifts when not using a ramp with an integrated level off
- Step trailer deck access for convenient access to trailer beds
Tips on Choosing a Loading Ramp
Before purchasing a loading ramp, consider the type of equipment you are loading and how big the wheels of your equipment are. If it has smaller wheels, it will require the ramp traction cleats to be closer together because of the concentrated load in a small area. If your equipment is steel-tracked, then it will require rubber-coated ramps, so it won’t tear the aluminium up.
Lastly, remember that it’s most important to always have the right safety equipment and accessories to safely load your vehicle. Using tie-down ratchets or cam buckle straps to secure the ramp to the truck and avoid slipping or kick out is a must, as well as a helmet for anyone riding the vehicle up the ramp. For optimal safety, you can wear other protective gear, including protective eyewear, gloves, long sleeves, pants and boots that cover your ankles.