Dock Ramps 101
Need a dock ramp to streamline your shipping and receiving but not sure where to start? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Loading dock ramps are available in a variety of options, so lets go over them. Many of our customers are in the same boat when considering a ramp for their facility. If your business requires regular loading and unloading at your warehouse’s loading dock, a ramp can make the process a lot quicker and easier. Here’s some information about the more common types of dock ramps and their features to help you decide which ramp is right for you.
Loading Dock Ramps: Should You Get an Access Ramp or Yard Ramp?
The two most common types of ramps are access ramps (stationary) and yard ramps (mobile). Determining which ramp is right for you all depends on your loading/docking area and how you plan to utilize the ramp.
Yard Ramps are more common because they’re more practical. A yard ramp features heavy duty wheels, making it easy to move from one place to another with a forklift. Yard ramps are the preferred choice as a quick loading dock solution, especially if you constantly need a ramp in different locations.
Access Ramps are a stationary solution because they are bolted to the ground at installation. Access Ramps are the preferred choice for a ground to dock solution and if the location of your ramp doesn’t need to change.
Think Quality, Not Price!
Of course, we all want the best bang for our buck! But when it comes to investing in a dock ramp for your business, it’s crucial to consider all factors before making a decision. Dock ramps, in particular, experience a lot of wear and tear over years of use. Therefore product quality is going to determine the longevity of your investment. A ramp is one product where quality truly reigns supreme over price! Consider all of the following factors before buying your ramp:
Steel Construction – When shopping for loading dock ramps, one of the biggest aspects to consider is its construction. What is it made of? As experts in the material handling industry for over two decades, we can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that STEEL IS KING! High quality steel made in the USA ensures that your ramp will withstand the abuse and heavy lifting it’s destined for, for years to come.
Support channel size is critical because this determines the overall weight capacity of the ramp. The thicker these channels are, the more weight the ramp will sustain.
Steel supports are another important factor. It is recommended that the supports under the serrated grating be as close together as possible to help distribute weight evenly on the ramp. Pay close attention to the distance between each support. The more supports there are, the better!
Thick serrated grating should be considered as well. Quality serrated grating is made with high quality steel and is as thick as possible to maximize weight capacity.
Approach plates are definite requirements for all yards ramps. Having a solid approach from both ends of the ramp allows for smooth transitions from ground to dock and vice-versa.
Level off cannot be stressed enough in yard ramps! To have an even level to the floor on the top end of a ramp is important for smoothly connecting to the dock. Make sure that a level off exists on your yard ramp.
Typically all of our loading dock ramps come standard with these attachments but many other companies do not include them, so be sure to confirm that the ramp you purchase includes the following:
Safety chains should be included with a mobile yard ramp. The chains securely lock the ramp onto the docking/loading bay to prevent it from rolling way.
A Forklift attachment is needed for a mobile yard ramp in order to move it around, and should also be included. It is recommended that the attachment be made with all welded steel for maximum strength and durability.
Manual vs Hydraulic Lift – Sometimes a mobile yard ramp must adjust elevation in order to dock, and this is done using a manual or hydraulic lift. It is recommended that a mobile yard ramp have a manual lift because if a hydraulic lift fails, the ramp is useless. Manual lifts are more reliable for consistent long-term operation.
Key questions to ask when shopping for a ramp:
- Where is the steel from?
- What is the size of the channel supports and what is the ramp’s capacity?
- What is the spacing on the steel supports?
- What type of grating is being used?