Yard Ramps, also called Portable Loading Ramps or Portable Loading Docks, are a safe and cost effective answer to many loading dock issues. Bluff Manufacturing has more experience and has built more yard ramps than anyone, by far. Our standard design translates into a custom solution that is quickly delivered to your job site and lasts for many years.
Yard Ramp Applications
Most yard ramps perform one of two functions. They allow traffic from the ground up into a truck bed or from the dock level down to the ground. Which of these jobs you choose to do will dictate which of the designs will be most appropriate for your application.
Stationary Yard Ramps
Dock-to-ground and back, normally indicates that either a vehicle or forklift needs to be moved back and forth. If the dock is in the 39" to 60"+ range then a 30' all incline yard ramp is the choice that makes the most sense. A width that allows for the equipment plus some maneuvering room and a decision about a few accessories and you have a perfect solution for your loading dock. Our most popular yard ramp model for this application is our 16SYS7030NU (the NU stands for no undercarriage...if you don't need to move the yard ramp you can save the money).
Steel Yard Ramps
Ground-to-truck has the same decision elements plus the need for a level off zone at the top before your load enters or leaves the truck. The length of this level off is dictated by your truck and load length (the most popular length is 6'). When you apply a capacity requirement of three times forklift truck capacity and a couple of accessory decisions your perfect solution becomes clear. We find that our 16SYS8436L model yard ramp is our most popular.
Portable Loading Docks
Yard ramps when used with our portable loading dock allows you to set up a complete dock (servicing multiple truck positions) anywhere you have access to real estate.
Choosing a Yard Ramp
Most loading done by forklift trucks into semi trailers works best with 30' of ramp and then a level-off area (usually) 6'. Many competitors will try to beat our price with 20' to 24' of ramp but when on the job will present the driver with a very steep grade and sometimes not easily overcome by their forklift truck. Bluff's design can be scaled back all the way to a 15' Mini Ramp or extended to 50' or longer dependent on your application.
A yard ramp capacity should be a working capacity and not just what the structure will hold up. Bluff yard ramps start at 12,000 lbs go to 16,000 lbs, 20,000 lbs and up to 60,000 lbs. Specials can even be rated above that. We find that the majority of applications are served very well with either the 16,000 lbs or the 20,000 lbs model. Both of these units are in stock and available for immediate shipment from 8 of our 12 warehouses conveniently situated around the US.
Many competitive brands list their capacities with no allowance for velocity (speed at which your business loads and unloads) or durability (how long the loading ramp can do it’s job and be safe). Bluff uses a rule of thumb of three times the forklift truck capacity (rated on model number plate on dash of forklift) as a starting point.
i.e. 6,000 lbs capacity forklift X 3 = 18,000 lbs or 20,000 lbs yard ramp.
If the velocity is brisk and there are multiple shifts your Bluff representative might recommend upgrading to a 25,000 lbs unit… this would give you heavier gauge structure and more beams on shorter centers.