Back to Yard Ramp Basics

The Brilliance of Simplicity

3-D Printing: One Hand Clapping?

We keep thinking of our man McCoy Fields, a Yard Ramp Guy licensee, and his list of Great Things:

  • The Lever
  • The Pulley
  • The Wheel
  • The Ramp
  • The Pile

McCoy calls them “history’s finest inventions,” and we’re inclined to agree. What connects them is the relative simplicity of their design. Each has few components, and each has served to improved civilization in countless ways. (Yes, we’re still trying to figure out The Pile in his list, though there’s no doubt that tossing laundry in one spot is better than scattering it all over the place.)

With that in mind, we came across a recent article on the website: “Advancing additive manufacturing by slashing support.” Seems that 3-D printing technology’s requirement—and limitation—is that each component of a complex structure is built on top of the one immediately preceding it. If one layer is compromised or damaged, it’s extremely difficult to replace that one layer.

Think of a seven-layer cake, and your layer of chocolate has collapsed under the weight of the sponge cake layer above it. In the 3-D printing technology world, you’d have to bake another cake. (In our world, we’d just eat the cake.)

The article then describes one researcher’s attempts to minimize the number of required components “without risking damage to the finished part.” His approach?

“Qian developed a method for calculating the amount of surface area on a component that needs support—without knowing the part's final geometry ahead of time. He says the key was defining a new measurement called the projected undercut perimeter.”

Which makes our eyes glaze over a bit. And so, we return to our man McCoy Fields and his appreciation for the brilliant simplicity of those revolutionary inventions.

McCoy eloquently addresses the simple machine notion on his blog. (Simple machine: a device used to change the direction or power of a force applied to something in the simplest manner possible.) “Ramps,” he writes, “make up half of the classical simple machines.

We love new technology and the potential to streamline operations for the industries we serve. We also love the simplicity and the powerful effectiveness of the yard ramp.

This week, our man McCoy Fields hears parrots speaking English, and he’s naturally curious about what’s going on. It’s a fascinating read:

Check out his terrific blog HERE.

Smart Ramp Equipment Financing

Strategic Investments

Positioning for 2019 & Beyond

The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) has just released it’s “What’s Hot/What’s Not: Equipment Market Forecast 2019” report. Based on the association’s projections, this year will see a 4% increase in equipment spending throughout the nation.

Compare that with an 8% increase in 2018. Growth is growth, yet—with this year’s projected growth half of last year’s, and with a general consensus that the economy is likely to slow down next year—the statistics do raise a sense of caution.

Another consensus: capitalizing on growth in the current, sound environment can act as a strong buffer if and when the nation’s economy slows or stagnates. And that can partly explain businesses making investment now in their infrastructure.

What’s hot for 2019 financing? The ELFA’s top five industries:

  1. Construction
  2. Trucks/Trailers
  3. Machine Tools
  4. Medical
  5. Hi-tech/Computers

The Yard Ramp Guy has served each of these industries (and continues to do so).

Many of our customers finance their yard ramp purchases, and we’ve made the process as simple and straightforward as possible.

On most of our Used Yard Ramp listings, you’ll find a “Calculate my Payments” link, alongside a link to Learn More About Financing. We’re pleased to have recently partnered with ACG Equipment Finance and appreciate the simplicity of their approach to financing.

Alongside having your equipment on site and put into immediate use, one of the main benefits remains the Section 179 tax deduction:

“Essentially, Section 179 of the IRS tax code allows businesses to deduct the full purchase price of qualifying equipment and/or software purchased or financed during the tax year. That means that if you buy (or lease) a piece of qualifying equipment, you can deduct the FULL PURCHASE PRICE from your gross income. It’s an incentive created by the U.S. government to encourage businesses to buy equipment and invest in themselves.”

Want a high-level overview? Our Yard Ramp Financing page covers it.

Have questions? Give us a call: (888) 977-4224.

Here’s to your healthy, profitable 2019 . . . and beyond.

This week, our man McCoy Fields travels back in time and place to the Americas of 1491 and discovers bustling civilizations and no shopping malls.

Read his terrific blog HERE.

Material Strength

Keeping Our Eye on Metal 

Forging Steel

Steel is the backbone and the foundation of our physical, tangible business. While there is a limited market for aluminum yard ramps, our select manufacturers craft our yard ramps mostly with steel that’s been forged to specification.

The advantages are many, including a larger weight capacity, stability, and longevity of use, all of which contribute to the singlemost important factor: safety for our customers’ team members.

What happens when engineers devise a better mousetrap? In the coming years, we might actually see improved metals that comprise our inventory.

First, a brief primer on how the industry measures strength. There are four categories here:

  • Compressive Strength—how the metal holds up to being condensed.
  • Tensile Strength—the opposite of compression; how the metal withstands being pulled or stretched.
  • Yield Strength—reaction to bending or other “unnatural” external shaping.
  • Impact Strength—just as you’d expect: how the metal reacts to being hit.

The strongest metal known is vibranium, though it exists only in the Marvel superhero universe (i.e., Captain America’s shield), and The Yard Ramp Guy doesn’t buy, rent, or sell fictional inventory.

Which leaves us with steel alloy as the de facto metal in our industry.

And that’s where the better mousetrap might one day step into the picture.

The University of Warwick’s website has an entire section devoted to “Steels Processing Group Projects.” It is, to us, head-spinning in complexity. What we glean from it, though, is steel being manipulated at the molecular level.

Summarizing for us in a graspable manner, MetalMiner states, “The research center at The University of Warwick has managed to create advanced, low-density steels that are stronger, lighter and more flexible than conventional steels.”

Stronger. Lighter. More flexible. Each of these informs the current ceilings of compressive, tensile, yield, and impact strength.

In practical terms, one day in the near future our customers could benefit from an easier movement of their yard ramps into position. For turnkey services, our crews could have a smoother load and off-load. For transportation, a lighter yard ramp translates into reduced use of fuel for the delivery vehicle.

We’re keeping a cautiously optimistic eye on the future of steel.

This week, our man McCoy Fields armchair-travels to The Netherlands and discovers a remarkable repurposing of (wet) security—from a war footing to, well, just footing:

Read his fascinating blog HERE.

The Year in People and Forklifts

2018…and Beyond

The YRG Wheel Keeps Turning
The YRG Wheel Keeps Turning

If we told you that nothing much happened this year, and have a nice day, we’d be half right.

Much happened in 2018, some of it head-spinning, some of it anticipated. The price of steel experienced a volatility, largely as a result of international tariff adjustments. Some of these price hikes were actual, and some were projected. The steel market seems to have largely stabilized, though we’re always keeping an eye on that world.

With steel as the major component of most of our yard ramps, its price always affects our business. The Yard Ramp Guy’s position in the industry and relationships with our manufacturers positioned us with the ability to keep pricing both competitive and quite attractive for our customers.

Steel rusts. Three months after a brand new yard ramp leaves the manufacturing plant, you’ll begin to see the effects. Fluctuating humidity and temperature and sun and rain work away. The orange-and-red appearance of oxidation is a natural process. Our manufacturers meet and exceed standards, and each ramp should provide our customers with many years of steady service.

The Yard Ramp Guy does not rust. Like the inventory we sell and rent, the foundation of our business model is to work quietly—yet efficiently and honestly—in the background for our customer base.

Our slogan—First we earn your trust, and then we earn your business—is our credo, and there’s simply no place in there for rust, real or metaphorical.

So, we’ve been busy. We’ve grown the business, strengthened relationships, made new connections. The Yard Ramp Guy team will be just fine if we never become a meme that goes viral.

(That said, it would be very cool if we did, in fact, become a meme that goes viral.)

While price and oxidation may affect steel, our commitment to our customers—with honesty and clear communication—remains steady.

The bottom line is not money. It’s you.

Happy New Year.

Our man McCoy Fields switched to decaf this week and produced an amazing picture of coffee benefitting civilization itself.

Pour yourself a cup of joe, and read about it HERE.

GeoBusiness Plate Tectonics

Spheres (and Ramps) of Influence

YRG: Link in the Chain
Linking Steel

In politics, as in trade and the economy, there’s a term known as geopolitical plate tectonics: if one superpower gains an advantage with a nation or region, another superpower will establish an advantage with a neighboring nation or region.

Think of NATO and the old Warsaw Pact. Or Arnold Schwarzenegger’s movies, timed to compete with Sylvester Stallone’s movies.

Alliances are rarely static. And so, the use of “plate tectonics.” Alliances shift. Things change.

We’re not political scientists. We buy, sell, and rent quality new and used yard ramps. Still, we feel the effects of geopolitical plate tectonics, especially when steel is caught up in trade and tariffs issues.

The industry has experienced something of an earthquake this year with tariff news. From manufacturing to logistics, prices bumped up—the result of real and projected costs.

That pricing on the actual, tangible foundation of our enterprise—namely: the steel components of our yard ramps—has a house-that-Jack-built effect on most every aspect of our business model.

So, it’s a bit of a surprise when we discover that “the United States was the world’s fifteenth-largest steel exporter in 2017.

We don’t know the nuances of the import-export steel scenario, such as the quality of steel on our exports vs. the quality of our imports.

What we do know, courtesy the U.S. International Trade Administration, is that the two largest importers of our U.S.-manufactured steel are Canada and Mexico. 

These are the spheres of influence and geopolitical/geobusiness plate tectonics at work. All informed by our real and projected pricing structures.

Thanks to The Yard Ramp Guy’s reputation and deep, mutual, professional trust between us and our manufacturers, we’re able to keep our prices competitive.

Through all the rumblings—of tariffs and trade wars in geobusiness plate tectonics—what doesn’t change is our commitment to quality, attention to detail, and transparency.

Our man McCoy Fields digs to China, then digs in China, and he finds a startling number of people sleeping in old bunkers.

Click HERE to dig into it.