One of the major benefits of a yard ramp is they do not require a permanent docking bay. Construction of a docking bay can be quite costly, so it is only realistic in a more permanent facility that you will utilize for a longer period of time. For temporary situations or acquisitions at locations that do not have proper dock equipment, yard ramps are a valid solution.
Typically yard ramps are constructed with aluminum or steel. In more rugged environments where the temperature drops below freezing, aluminum is required. Welded steel yard ramps are much less costly, but are also much heavier. Usually diamond plated decking is implemented to provide traction to prevent lift equipment and workers from slipping while transporting products.
Capacities greatly vary between ramps, but the industry standard capacity is 10 tons (22,000 lbs.), and there are also light duty (15,000 lb. capacity) and heavy-duty (33,000 lb. capacity). To determine which capacity is right for you, you will need to know the weight of your lift equipment and the weight of the maximum load to be carried on that equipment. For example, if a forklift weighs 5,000 lbs. and it can carry up to 4,500 lbs, a yard ramp with at least a 9,500 lbs. capacity should be used. This is definitely a "better safe than sorry" way of determining what capacity is right for you, but it will also ensure you never overload your equipment and stress the metal.
Some additional safety features that you should consider are safety rails and hand rails to protect forklift operators and workers from falling off. The ramp should also float or "bob" up and down with the truck's suspension while products are being unloaded. This ensures that the weight is being transferred properly to the yard ramp. Some yard ramps are considered mobile because they have an attachment so it can be towed, allowing them to be transported by a truck without using up your trailer bed's storage space.
The difference between buying used and new? Besides saving almost 50% compared to new prices and reducing lead time, the only difference between a brand new ramp and a used one is surface wear. You will notice superficial wear on the surface of the diamond plated decking, but this will not effect the overall capacity; you can buy in confidence when dealing with the right people.
Is it okay to buy used equipment from just anyone? This is a hard question to answer. When dealing with ASI, we can guarantee some of our used products for 30 days to ensure your satisfaction. This is unlike anyone else in the industry. We also clean and inspect all used equipment prior to shipment. Other companies selling used equipment may do the same, but this is something you should make sure of as a buyer before making an investment.