A California Custom Dock Ramp Solution

Accommodating Your Ramp Requirements

Yard Ramp: 80K-lb Capacity
(Ample) Proof of Ramp Capacity

Our goal has always been matching our customers’ needs with the best solutions.

In addition to providing standard yard ramp lengths and widths, we provide custom solutions for creating special yard ramps and their combinations with a variety of portable or mobile leveling and mobility mechanisms. 

Here’s an excellent example: Glen Allen, President of Newport Real Estate Services in Newport Beach, CA, contacted us this past summer for a custom-designed dock ramp.

At the time, Glen was beginning the refurbishing of an 600,000 square-foot, 49-acre refrigerated and dry-storage facility in Sacramento. To restore the building, he needed access for trucks driving into the structure to deliver necessary building materials, including: concrete, drywall, and wood deliveries. Ultimately, the future tenant would also need access.

Glen is a savvy developer, with 40 years of experience. Informed by the physical design of the facility’s loading dock and the types of vehicles making deliveries, he sketched out and presented his own drawings.

The solution? An 80,000-pound capacity, 10-foot-wide ramp that we coordinated with Mark Medlin of Medlin Equipment, one of the highly-respected manufacturers we work with. (The 80K-pound capacity reflects the weight of the heaviest ready-mix truck.)

“There were no glitches,” said Glen. “They sent the ramp on time, on a giant tow truck. The next day, my welder, matched it up perfectly using six-inch welds. We cranked it up and down a bit. We turned the bolts, welded the feet, and stick-welded the ramp to the edge of the bay.”

Yard Ramp: 10-Foot Width
The Yard Ramp Guy: So Inclined

That fire engine in the accompanying photos? No: there were no fires to put out. Glen arranged it to demonstrate capacity and proof of structural integrity. (Note: The flashing lights add no extra weight…but look pretty cool.)

While this is the highest-capacity ramp custom-ordered through The Yard Ramp Guy in the past couple of years, Glen’s 10-foot-wide dimension is not the widest available capacity.

“There is no limit,” says Mark Medlin. “The largest to date is 14 feet. We do a lot of custom stuff. It’s my cup of tea. I enjoy that.”

It’s our cup of tea, too. We enjoy—and are committed to—getting it right for all our customers.

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Quotable

Yes, McCoy Fields There we are, back on our quote-off track:

Take care to get what you like or you will be forced to like what you get.George Bernard Shaw

Simple, Preventive Welding Inspection

Note: Last week, our guest blogger and expert welder Greg Sanders from Crom Weld wrote about welding practices—what to inspect to assure integrity and to be preventive. His terrific insights are specifically targeted at yard ramps; we’re fairly certain they apply to the majority of industrial equipment employing welds. 

This week, he concludes with how to spot weld defects and maintain their integrity. We’re honored to provide space for Greg in this forum.


Toward the Safety and Integrity of Your Yard Ramp

Defects in the Weld
A number of factors can contribute to a weld having initial defects. Some are the result of the metal used, and some indicate the weld itself wasn’t done well.

YRG & Crom Weld: Integrity

  • Cracking can occur due to excess hydrogen, stress level on the weld, high carbon content in the base material, or a concave weld surface. Cracks might be at the toe of the weld, along the centerline of the weld, or at other points.
  • Inclusions can occur when the weld metal is contaminated on the surface of the joint due to improper cleaning between weld passes. Slag forms in the flux used in the welding process and can be trapped in the metal while it solidifies.
  • Undercut is where the thickness of the steel sheets is reduced at the toe of the weld. During the final weld pass, the exposed edges of the weld can have a tendency to melt down into the deposited filler metal in the weld groove, resulting in sharp edges along the weld reinforcement. Undercut develops because of improper welding techniques, incorrect voltage settings, travel speed, and incorrect electrode angle.
  • Lamellar tearing is a problem wherein the rolled steel plates are made of inferior materials with high sulfur or hydrogen content. After welding, shrinkage forces the faces of the plates to pull apart.
  • Porosity (otherwise known as pinholes) happens when gases become trapped in the weld metal as it solidifies. These may arise from damp tools or metal or from dirt, oil or grease, on the metal in the area of the weld.
  • Lack of penetration occurs when not enough filler weld material has been laid into the weld joint so the weld does not go deep enough.
  • Lack of fusion. MIG welding employs a gun that moves wire through it at a certain speed, with a shielding gas to keep out contaminants. The end result is fusion: melting and combining the base metal with filler material to create a joint that’s as strong as or stronger than the original metal. Lack of fusion occurs when the voltage or wire speed is set too low or the operator’s travel speed is too fast. 

 

Ongoing Use/Stress
Whether welding just a few simple parts or manufacturing large, complicated structures, weld fatigue is a very common failure when parts or structures are subjected to heavy loads. Estimates suggest that 90% of failures in steel structures are due to stress and fatigue.

  • Weather. Dirt turns to mud in the rain. Steel generally withstands dramatic changes in temperature and weather. Most portable yard ramps include a serrated grating (and all of The Yard Ramp Guy’s inventory has serrated grating), which provides excellent traction for forklifts. The open design allows water and debris to pass through instead of pooling. If the weld is not tight, water can get between the metal pieces at the joint and over time create a stress fracture.
  • Rated Load. If the ramp is used over its capacity, it obviously will weaken. If you factor in weight on the wear and tear of different components (wheels, ramp clamps, etc.), less is always more. That’s unlikely because you’d probably be tipping overloaded forklifts long before damaging the ramp. Many forklifts run 6,000-9,000 pounds and can carry 50%-75% of their weight; that’s 9,000 to 16,000 pounds going up and down the ramp. Steel ramps are solid and typically can hold up to 25,000 pounds.
  • Movement. This isn’t normally a big issue for welds. Still, since businesses move portable ramps often and on a variety of yard surfaces, some jostling can occur that might stress welds that are otherwise weakened already.

 

Conclusion
Along with quality metal, cut to precision, the welding gives the yard ramp—and the manufacturer, and the dealer—its strength and integrity. Knowing the basics of how to inspect for welding defects and why they happen, a manufacturer can properly oversee and managed the welding process to prevent welding defects from happening in the first place.

Keeping your eyes open for excessive rust or cracks along welds can help you take preventive steps before the point of catastrophic failure.

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Greg Sanders is the owner of Cromweld.com, a website devoted to all things welding. Greg is semi-retired from welding but likes to keep learning, as well as sharing his knowledge through his website. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Watching Weld Integrity On Yard Ramps

Note: Greg Sanders from Crom Weld approached us a few weeks ago about a guest post. We appreciate his can-do spirit and the really helpful nature of his website, which provides a great resource for the welding community.

That initial discussion grew into this two-part series, graciously written by Greg. It provides a drilldown to the very weld that determines the integrity of a yard ramp. Greg demonstrates a commitment to the details, which matches the foundation of our own business model.

While we’ve profiled the importance of good welding in a previous blog, we heartily welcome and appreciate Greg’s particular expertise.


YRG: Weld Integrity
It's All About the Weld

Steel yard ramps allow you to move cargo easily from the truck to the loading dock door with a forklift. They are extremely strong, built to withstand inclement weather and heavy loads when loading and unloading shipments from delivery trucks, containers and railcars. Many are portable and, because they’re made of welded steel, they require very little maintenance.

Stress and fatigue failures usually happen suddenly and can have catastrophic results. Quality manufacturers — like those The Yard Ramp Guy works with — let you know, of course, about what to look for and how to properly maintain your ramp.

 

What to Look for During Inspection
For any company or industry that relies on the use of portable steel yard ramps, an annual inspection — or more often, depending on use — should be conducted under good lighting.

If done correctly, a visual inspection can be an extremely effective method of maintaining the ramp as a whole. Keeping an eye on weld integrity is an important part of this. Two particular things to look for are:

  • Corrosion and Oxidation. Rust is natural. It’s always going to exist. However, a high degree of corrosion on the weld itself could indicate a failure of the weld design, welding practice, contamination from moisture, porosity, or incomplete weld penetration. It is a sign that further investigation is needed to be sure that the weld integrity has not failed.
  • Cracks. Welders normally catch cracks during the welding process, but cracks don’t always appear immediately after welding. They can develop over time after the weld has been subjected to loads while in service. If you see them in the inspection process, they need to be taken care of immediately.

 

What Could Cause the Problems
While it rarely occurs, if there is a problem with the yard ramp, it will likely be due to either

  • a defect in the weld, or
  • excessive load or stress over the rated ramp’s capacity.

Most manufacturers strive to ensure that their production process and the quality of their welding is flawless, but there are those occasions where the process breaks down and the weld operator does not properly clean the metal he’s about to weld or take enough time to ensure the weld fuses properly.

While truck or rail operators are well versed in yard ramp safety standards, sometimes they hurry to get materials loaded or unloaded and overload the yard ramp.

Both of these situations create stress on the joints and weld lines in the yard ramp and could ultimately result in the weld cracking, buckling, or breaking.

Next week: how to spot weld defects and prevent compromising the integrity of them.

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Greg Sanders is the owner of Cromweld.com, a website devoted to all things welding. Greg is semi-retired from welding but likes to keep learning, as well as sharing his knowledge through his website. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Loading Ramp to Loading Bay

The House That (Pallet) Jack Built

YRG Integrity
Ramp, Forklift, Pallet

We have a riff on a classic show tune in our distribution network listings:

What good is moving a pallet or two?

Come move your whole stock today

Life is a good yard ramp, old chum

Get a yard ramp today.

Catchy, yes. We’re confident you’ll whistle that tune for a bit. Behind the rhyming, though, there’s a projection of how businesses use our yard ramps, and this got us thinking about the entire arc of a freight movement.

Let’s say you have—or need—a quality yard ramp to optimize the loading and offloading of your product. You determine your requirements, including the average and maximum capacity of a loaded forklift, the width of your forklift’s wheels, and the right length of the ramp. (The Yard Ramp Guy team is well-versed in asking the right questions to help identify and confirm your specifications.)

That scenario is informed by the ease of access to your loading dock, the amount of real estate you have to maneuver your deliveries, and the height of your loading bay. All of which will determine whether you need a portable or stationary loading dock.

And let’s say that a forklift is your most efficient vehicle for moving your inventory. There is an impressive variety of forklifts in circulation. While they share mobility and strength, these machine feature design modifications to fit particular applications.

Usually on top of that—and literally so—sits your collection of pallets. Pallets have near-universal appeal for their practicality. Typically made of wood, they benefit your business through their strength and relative lightness of weight. (Yes, you can now make and disassemble and repurpose your pallets.)

As The Big Lebowski said, “This rug I had…it really tied the room together.” That’s where, we believe, your yard ramp serves as a constant in the equation: able to tie your workflow together, all without complaint, with minimal maintenance, for months (rental) or years (purchase) to come.

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Quotable

Oh, McCoy Fields Sometimes we strike gold:

Slump? I ain't in no slump. I just ain't hitting.Yogi Berra

Selling Your Yard Ramp

Questions & Answers for the Seller's Market

Side View: Loaded Left
The Yard Ramp Guy: Partnership

From the beginning, we decided to partner with Sellers of their used yard ramps rather than haggle with them. It changed the dynamic completely.

This is our approach to partnering: We split the final sale price – 70% for you, 30% for The Yard Ramp Guy. (That is not a typo.)

The Yard Ramp Guy team loves questions—whether you ask them or we ask them. This week, we highlight a selection of questions and answers about selling your yard ramp:

How do I sell a yard ramp?

Our Sell Your Ramp Form displays all the information we’ll need you to share with us. We do require a set of digital photographs so we may make an appraisal. We will generally respond within 24 hours. We will call you promptly if more information or clarification is required.

When we call, we’ll discuss the three ways in which we might choose to work together:

  1. The Yard Ramp Guy as your "Ramp Buyer";

  2. The Yard Ramp Guy as your "Ramp Broker"; or

  3. Posting your ramp to The Yard Ramp Guy's website as a "For-Sale-by-Owner" ramp.

How do you determine the value of my yard ramp?

The specifications, condition, and age of the ramp—along with the demand for such a ramp—are the criteria we use to determine the market value of your ramp.

Can I post my ramp on your site to sell it myself?

Yes! Our "For-Sale-by-Owner" option showcases your listing, which will appear in the same format as every other ramp you see on The Yard Ramp Guy's website. We charge a one-time fee of 7% of the Asking Price you have determined for the ramp. We’ll include your contact name and phone number (or email) in your listing. This approach gives your yard ramp a broad regional and national exposure, as opposed to more limited promotion that sites like CraigsList provide.

Here’s how the "For-Sale-by Owner" arrangement works:

  1. You determine the Asking Price.

  2. The Yard Ramp Guy invoices you for 7% of the Asking Price as a Posting Fee.

  3. Our Posting Fee Terms: Payment in full is due to The Yard Ramp Guy prior to ramp posting on websites.

  4. Your contact information will be included within the posting.

  5. You field all inquiries, issue all quotes, and handle transaction details.

  6. The Yard Ramp Guy will leave the posting active until you notify us to convert it to "Sold" status.

  7. Upon notification of sale, The Yard Ramp Guy reserves the right to continue the posting so long as all references to you, including name, phone number, and email are removed. Unit will be marked as "Sold."

Not one time has a seller suggested our offer is anything but fair and attractive.

Our competitors say we are nuts for leaving as much cash on the table, as we know we do. But we know what our numbers show. A used ramp is a single commodity item. We can work hard for our 30% and enjoy the profit from our effort...or we can lose out on more opportunities than we could ever count. We'll leave that way of doing business to our competitors.

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Quotable

Dear McCoy Fields — Really:

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of your arm. As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands. One for helping yourself, the other for helping others.Audrey Hepburn