Loading Dock Evaluation: The Rust Factor

It Never Sleeps

There’s more to the picture than meets the eye.

—Neil Young

Yard Ramp: October 2017
October 2017

Yard Ramp: June 2018
The Same Yard Ramp: June 2018

The two photos above are of the same yard ramp. It has a 20,000-lb capacity with 84” width and 36’ length.

We took the photo on the left in October 2017. The photo on the right? June 2018. Why does October look okay and June look, well, rusty? What happened in those eight months?

Actually, not much. Between last fall and the beginning of this summer, it traveled on rental from Tampa to St. Cloud in central Florida and back again. The yard ramp remains a workhorse, and we proudly present it in inventory. Central Florida is known for being quite humid.

As we’ve explored in a previous entry, rust is a result of oxidation. Exposure to the elements—swings in temperature, humidity levels, the cycles of rain and sunshine—all contribute to that oxidation.

That is: rust is expected. For a new yard ramp, rust will begin to appear some three months after final production. This is completely natural and not a remote concern—for the manufacturer, for the customer, for us.

Steel is a combination of mostly iron and carbon and is one of the strongest metals known. Unless and until the rust completely works through a piece of steel, with structural features showing true deterioration (at which point we’d repair it or take it out of circulation), the yard ramp will function just fine.

After Evaluation: Rejected
This is too much rust!

Which brings us to how we evaluate the condition of each and every yard ramp we offer for rent and for sale. A number of factors contribute to our categorization, including age of the ramp and its structural condition.

(We use the term “structural” as a main determining factor; in our experience, we offer some ramps that look more worn than that photo above on the right, and they continue to serve our customers safely and efficiently.)

After our inspection of each ramp, we list them with one of five conditions:

RAMP CONDITION:

NEWLIKE NEWEXCELLENTVERY GOODGOOD
Direct from the factory or parked at one of our depots, this ramp is no more than six months old. It includes safety chains and a mobility device (if applicable). There are no blemishes other than limited oxidation from normal exposure. Hand-cranks or hydraulic systems are new and function as such.
The same as “New” but it left the factory more than six months ago (and/or has been parked inside and shows little aging). It includes safety chains and mobility device (if applicable). There are no blemishes other than limited oxidation from normal exposure. Hand-cranks or hydraulic systems are also like new and function as such.
The same as “Like New” but this ramp has been parked outside and has normal oxidation. In every other way it’s terrific.
The same as “Excellent” but this ramp is probably 4-15 years old. It shows reasonable wear and tear. Hand cranks or hydraulic pumps may require general maintenance but no major repairs. Its mobility device (if applicable) and safety chains are included.
The same as “Very Good” but this ramp shows its age and use like a grizzled warrior. Buyer may need to purchase or fabricate a missing mobility device or set of safety chains. General maintenance to hydraulics would be highly recommended (really, for any used ramp to establish a maintenance baseline before using). Some repairs may be in order: dried out gaskets or hoses, a bent section of deck or apron, a few spot welds. Though a little long in the tooth and not the prettiest, it is structurally sound and will provide a reasonable number of additional years of service.

If and when we colonize the moon, The Yard Ramp Guy wants to set up a lunar branch office. Our inventory would remain pristine there. Rust feeds on oxygen, and there’s no oxygen on the moon. Which means no rust on our yard ramp inventory.

Until then, we’re grateful to operate here, where there’s oxygen. Makes it easier to plan the day.

ANOTHER EXAMPLE:

Yard Ramp: 6 Months Old
Yard Ramp: 6 Months Old

Yard Ramp: One Year Old.
Same Yard Ramp: 6 Months Later

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