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Posted by Stephanie on August 7, 2023

No matter what type of material handling facility you manage, efficiency and flexibility are important for maintaining high revenues and making sure that orders are made on time. One item that every material handling facility should have access to is a portable dock ramp, which is capable of being moved practically anywhere while also providing your personnel with an easy method for loading and unloading cargo.

By obtaining one or more portable dock ramps for your facility, you should notice an increase in your capabilities as well as your productivity. While there are numerous types of ramps you can buy for your warehouse, portable dock ramps offer clear advantages that can’t be had with other solutions. The following guide provides a closer look at portable dock ramps and determines if this is the best solution for your facility.

Loading Dock with Access Ramp and safety Handrails

Introduction

If your company performs a considerable amount of shipping and receiving, obtaining a loading dock ramp should help you bolster your facility’s safety and efficiency. Maintaining efficient loading and unloading operations is essential for your bottom line. You’ll end up saving money and keeping your customers satisfied.

Dock ramps are designed to serve as the bridge between your vehicles and your warehouse or loading dock. When you position them correctly, they’ll perfectly make up the difference in height and fill the gap. Once you have a secure dock ramp in place, you’ll be able to keep your personnel safe and your goods protected. The right dock ramps can also enhance the flow of your loading and unloading operations, which reduces wait times.

This article focuses on providing an in-depth comparison between portable dock ramps and other material handling ramps you can buy for your facility. While every type of material handling ramp has its own selling points, portable dock ramps go a step further by providing many of the same benefits while also making it easy to move the ramp whenever necessary.

Understanding Portable Dock Ramps

Portable dock ramps are designed with adaptability and mobility in mind. The purpose of these ramps is to substantially improve a facility’s productivity. In most cases, these ramps are outfitted with wheels and castors to ensure a certain amount of portability. Even though they are capable of withstanding high weights of up to 30,000 pounds, they are light enough for you to transport them to other locations around your warehouse.

There are many reasons why you should choose portable dock ramps for your facility, the primary of which is that this equipment is mobile. You don’t need to spend time or money on permanent installations that you may come to regret. You’ll also gain access to equipment that should make your operations more versatile and agile.

Most portable dock ramps can be adjusted to accommodate different scenarios and pieces of equipment. For instance, the ramp you choose may allow you to change the height from 35-65 inches, which means that you should have the equipment you need to successfully complete any job.

The amount of weight capacity a dock ramp has depends on the specific one you choose. While the maximum weight capacity is around 30,000 pounds, the minimum weight is typically 16,000 pounds. You’ll also receive many additional features when you buy portable dock ramps. The inclusion of side curbs helps prevent materials from sliding during loading and unloading operations. Extra safety features are available via steel grating and safety chains.

These ramps give you the ability to enhance your usage of space, increase productivity, and boost safety. Dock ramps are commonly used to perform parallel loading on docks or carriers that are situated in locations with limited space. If you don’t have permanent facilities, these ramps can be highly beneficial.

Custom Dock Platform with Access Ramp Extension with Handrails

Exploring Other Material Handling Ramps

Before you purchase portable dock ramps for your facility, consider the other ramps available to you. Different ramps are better for different situations. The three most common options include ground-to-dock ramps, stationary dock ramps, and yard ramps.

Ground-to-dock ramps are designed to rise directly from the ground at a straight angle until they reach the loading dock. This is a stationary option that’s usually made from either steel or concrete. If you select one of these ramps, it will be bolted directly to the ground during installation. If you don’t need to change your ramp’s location, you should consider ground-to-dock ramps or stationary dock ramps. These ramps are often used to provide a long-term solution for loading and unloading operations. Since the ramp moves instantly from the ground to the height of the dock, it doesn’t need wheels or a hydraulic pump.

Stationary dock ramps are very similar to ground-to-dock ramps and can be customized depending on where the ramp is being positioned. While some stationary dock ramps are made from concrete, many are constructed with a heavy-duty carbon steel that’s built to last. If you choose a stationary dock ramp that offers all-steel construction, look for serrated floor grating that delivers superior traction.

Portable yard ramps are usually made from steel and are built with wheels for better maneuverability. They are an affordable solution in comparison to traditional loading docks. You’ll also benefit from more versatility and flexibility when it comes to material handling. You can quickly adjust the height, which makes it possible to use the ramp as a ground-to-dock or ground-to-trailer solution. If you ever move to another facility, you can take a portable yard ramp with you.

Key Differences Between Portable Dock Ramps and Other Ramps

There are some key differences between portable dock ramps and other ramps that you should keep in mind before making a purchase. Because of the high costs associated with all types of dock ramps, it’s best to avoid mistakes when you’re searching for the right one.

The primary difference between portable dock ramps and other dock ramps involves their mobility and portability. You can move portable ramps to and from any location around your warehouse. They can also be moved out of the way when you’re not using them. In comparison, ground-to-dock ramps and stationary ramps are permanent fixtures that don’t give you ease-of-movement.

Portable dock ramps also offer more flexibility and adjustability. As mentioned previously, you can adjust the height of a portable dock ramp with ease, which allows you to use it for practically any application. All permanent ramps remain in place, which makes it impossible to adjust their height.

As for the installation and setup processes, portable dock ramps don’t have laborious installations. All you need to do is move the ramp from one place to another. If you purchase a ground-to-dock ramp or stationary ramp that’s built with steel, the installation process takes more time but isn’t too bothersome. However, the installation process for a concrete ramp is time-consuming and may last several days depending on how long it takes for the ramp to dry.

Access Ramp for Loading Dock

Performance and Load Capacity

You should also consider how these ramps perform and their load capacity. Portable dock ramps have a load capacity that typically ranges from 16,000-30,000 pounds. Concrete ramps offer similar load capacities. However, the load capacity of your ramp depends somewhat on the size of the ramp. Both types of ramps are suitable for heavy-duty and high-capacity material handling tasks. For the best option, choose a portable dock ramp that has a serrated floor grating. Concrete can get slippery when it rains.

Safety and Ergonomics

When considering the safety and ergonomic design of different ramps, portable dock ramps and the alternative solutions have similar features. Regardless of the ramp you choose, you can obtain a ramp that comes with steel chains and side curbs. Portable dock ramps often have the most ergonomic design since they can be moved by your personnel without issue. Permanent ramps may be a source of frustration for your personnel depending on the application.

Cost Considerations and Return on Investment (ROI)

If you’re primarily concerned about the cost of the ramp you buy, portable dock ramps are more affordable than stationary ramps or ground-to-dock ramps. While the size determines the cost, ground-to-dock ramps are usually priced several thousand dollars higher than portable ramps.

Since portable dock ramps offer more flexibility and versatility, you should gain more long-term savings in comparison to stationary ramps. While all options should boost efficiency, portable dock ramps are suitable for a wider range of applications.

Case Studies and Real-world Applications

From Walmart and Amazon to Tesla and John Deere, many businesses and warehouses use portable dock ramps and similar material handling ramps to improve the efficiency of their operations.

If your warehouse has one to two types of items that you ship more than anything else, a ground-to-dock ramp might be enough to accommodate your situation. On the other hand, portable dock ramps are ideal for retail and eCommerce businesses that move many different types and sizes of items. In this scenario, you’ll be able to adjust the ramp to fit your needs.

Conclusion

Portable dock ramps are relatively affordable, mobile, and adjustable. If you choose to obtain a ground-to-dock ramp or stationary ramp for your facility, you’ll likely need multiple ramps for different locations. A single portable dock ramp can be moved almost anywhere.

To make sure you choose the best ramp solution for your needs, consider your facility’s operational requirements when assessing your options. The many factors you should take into account include portability, flexibility, installation, load capacity, performance, safety, and costs.

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