Whether you manage a small warehouse or large facility, your loading and unloading processes aren’t complete without a ramp that supports the weight of the cargo that must be moved on and off trailers. If your warehouse mainly handles lightweight items that can be manually moved from point A to point B, a standard ramp should suffice. On the other hand, a heavy-duty trailer might be preferable if your facility often moves larger items that can only be transported with a forklift.
Once you’ve installed a heavy-duty ramp around your facility, you can load up to 40,000 pounds of items at a time without fearing that the platform will buckle or show signs of wear and tear. Heavy-duty trailer ramps allow you to maintain safe loading and unloading operations in your facility. Pair these ramps with personnel training to keep workplace accidents to a minimum. This article provides a closer look at heavy-duty ramps and the benefits they can deliver for your facility.
Advantages of Heavy-duty Trailer Ramps
Heavy-duty trailer ramps offer several advantages that can’t be had with smaller and more lightweight ramps. For one, they provide your personnel with enhanced safety by preventing accidents and injuries. Most heavy-duty ramps consist of serrated steel grating that’s slip-resistant to prevent falls.
Whether you obtain a concrete yard ramp or portable dock ramp, heavy-duty ramps also make your loading and unloading processes more efficient. You’ll save time and effort when handling all types of materials, which should help you boost your facility’s revenues. Spending less time loading and unloading items also means that your customers will be more satisfied.
These ramps are suitable for many different applications and give you a level of versatility that can only be found with heavy-duty ramps. While smaller items can be moved onto these ramps with ease, you can also move heavier items with a forklift or electric pallet jack.
Types of Heavy-duty Trailer Ramps
There are four distinct types of heavy-duty trailer ramps you can obtain for your facility, which include:
- Straight ramps
- Arched ramps
- Folding ramps
- Split ramps
Straight ramps typically have two forks that extend from the top of the ramp. They are suitable for moving motorcycles, light equipment, or ATVs onto trailers. These ramps can also withstand heavy weights without issue.
Arched ramps are best when paired with low-clearance vehicles and equipment. The extruded end plates on these ramps offer more strength. If you attempt to move low-clearance vehicles up a traditional ramp, it’s possible that the ramp will bottom out. The center hinge prevents this issue from developing as you’re loading items, which will keep your employees safe.
You could also consider buying some folding ramps, which are designed to be a space-saving and portable solution. All these ramps come with hinges that lock in place but can disengage when you need to fold them and put them away to save space. These ramps are ideal for smaller warehouses that don’t have much empty space.
Split ramps are designed with versatility in mind and are meant to facilitate dual-load capabilities. You can either keep the split ramps separate when loading a vehicle or lock them together to create one seamless ramp that offers a wider surface area for your loading and unloading operations. Choose your preferred ramp based on the applications you’re going to use it for.
Considerations when Choosing Heavy-duty Trailer Ramps
Heavy-duty trailer ramps typically cost thousands of dollars, which is why you should take your time to consider different ramp features and specifications before making a final decision. Among the most important considerations is the desired weight capacity. All heavy-duty ramps have high weight capacities. However, you should match the ramp of your choice to the load you intend to carry onto it at a given time.
The length of the ramp is also a crucial factor when you’re trying to make the right decision. Heavier items should be paired with a more gradual incline. By considering the ramp length, you’ll also be able to take the clearance of the items you’re loading and unloading into account.
There are two primary materials that a heavy-duty ramp can be made from, which include aluminum and steel. Aluminum tends to have a lighter weight than steel, which means that an aluminum ramp might not meet your weight capacity needs.
The main advantage of choosing an aluminum ramp is that it’s easier to transport and won’t rust as quickly in comparison to steel ramps. However, steel ramps offer more durability and should hold up under extremely heavy loads. If you’re searching for a ramp that offers the highest weight capacity, steel is the way to go.
Think about the ramp’s surface traction as well. Some ramp materials and surfaces don’t offer as much traction as you might want in a warehouse or distribution center. As touched upon previously, serrated steel grating is the best material for a ramp’s surface. The inclusion of small grates on the surface makes it less likely that your employees will slip while loading and unloading items.
Safety Tips for Using Heavy-duty Trailer Ramps
If you opt to buy one or more heavy-duty trailer ramps, there are some general safety tips you should adhere to. For one, make sure that the ramp is properly placed and aligned before you use it. If the ramp is being connected to a trailer before use, test the connection before the loading and unloading processes begin. It’s important that the ramp seamlessly connects to the trailer, which means that there shouldn’t be any notable gaps.
You should always secure the ramp to the trailer to keep it from shifting while your employees are walking or driving on it. Use chocks and straps to provide more stability. You can also increase safety by distributing weight evenly for balanced loading.
Maintenance and Care for Heavy-duty Trailer Ramps
Whether you select a steel or aluminum trailer ramp, take care of the ramp to keep it in good condition and maintain its structural integrity. The maintenance process involves several important steps. First, clean and remove any debris on the ramp that could promote wear or tear or cause personnel to trip while loading or unloading items.
During the maintenance process, inspect the ramp for signs of damage and wear. If you notice cracks, dents, or other issues, consider having the ramp repaired before you use it again. Ignoring signs of damage will lead to a much higher risk of someone becoming injured in your warehouse. The smaller components in the ramp should be lubricated while performing maintenance. If the ramp is made from steel, rust prevention is essential if you want the ramp to last for years to come.
Custom Heavy-duty Trailer Ramps
When you’re searching for the right heavy-duty trailer ramp for your facility, search for custom trailer ramps that can be made to your specification. By tailoring the ramp to your specific needs, you can avoid spending thousands of dollars on equipment you won’t end up using.
If you’d like to expand the ramp’s functionality, there are numerous add-ons and special features you should be on the lookout for. Consider obtaining a heavy-duty chain hook to secure heavier equipment to a trailer during transport. With lockable loading ramp hangers, you can store any loading ramp you use below the trailer to effectively save space and make room for the transportation of other items.
If you’re looking for the perfect accessory, consider buying a load leveler, which provides more stability and better weight distribution when you’re loading heavier items. You could also buy a portable loading dock if you’d like to provide your forklift with more maneuverability. Look into a deck access ladder to get into your trailer bed with greater ease.
Regulations and Compliance for Heavy-duty Trailer Ramps
When you’re buying a heavy-duty trailer ramp, make sure you consider the weight limits and load distribution. If you believe you need a ramp that supports around 20,000 pounds, consider buying a ramp with a weight capacity of 22,000-24,000 pounds for some overhead. As for load distribution, your personnel should always focus on evenly distributing the weight of any items they move up the ramp. The heaviest portion of cargo shouldn’t be shifted to one side of the ramp. In this scenario, tilting is possible.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration maintains extensive regulations regarding nearly every type of equipment you can use in a warehouse or distribution center. According to safety standard 1926.501(b)(6), every employee who uses a ramp should be protected from falling at least six feet to a lower level by some type of guardrail system. The ramp you choose needs to comply with all transport and safety standards.
Where to Buy Heavy-duty Trailer Ramps
Buying a heavy-duty trailer isn’t as easy as taking a trip to the local supermarket and making an order. The two main options are online retailers and local suppliers or dealerships. When you want to compare features and prices between many different ramps, do your shopping with online retailers. Local suppliers and dealerships are great when you’re looking for expert advice about the ramp you’re buying.
Heavy-duty trailer ramps have an indispensable role in the modern warehouse. If you need to load and unload heavier items that might cause structural problems in lightweight ramps, heavy-duty ramps should be perfect for you. With the right ramp, you can move vehicles, forklifts, and large cargo onto a trailer without worrying that the ramp will shift. While these ramps help ensure safe transportation of heavy loads, make sure you educate your employees on how to use them to boost your facility’s safety.