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.

Eccentric Yard Ramps

Honoring the Sand Pad

The Yard Ramp Guy: Sand Pads
Well, we could arrange delivery.

When we posted an All-Steel Yard Ramp with Sand Pads, it gave our web guy pause. He paused on the sand pads. We forgive him; he knows not.

Internet research brought up a number of possibilities for “sand pads,” including:

  • The proper name for a beach house rental in northern Oregon.
  • Certain sand pads (aka “sander pads”) used to smooth surfaces before painting.
  • Areas created for people to stand and observe so they don’t trample on things during visits to nature conservation areas.
  • Our favorite: the SandPad, providing “a wider base of stability than normal crutch cane or walker tips to support a user’s weight for easy travel without sinking into sand, grass, gravel or snow.”

Most of these alternatives speak to mobility—easier application of paint, free movement in a specific area without disrupting the environment, and better negotiation of otherwise inaccessible or exceptionally challenging territory.

As applied to yard ramps, the definition is a fairly simple and straightforward. For our purposes, sand pads are square, flat plates of steel. Customers use these on ramps that are literally going to be used in a stationary capacity, though not at a dock. Rather, they’re best put to work in, say, a field or in the middle of a recycling center’s lot.

A yard ramp with sand pads provides a fitting option to tires, especially when you have no need to secure it to a loading dock. It typically has an incline to accommodate your forklift moving from one service range to another.

And whether serving in sand or in a cornfield, the sand pad performs with greater stability than a tire and will prevent your yard ramp from getting stuck or sinking into the softer ground.

Rare, yes, though not unprecedented.

A yard ramp with sand pads. Another example of the breadth of our inventory. Need a custom solution for your application? We readily handle that.

It seems that our man McCoy Fields has just turned his house into Jurassic Park. And it has something to do with kitty litter. We kid you not.

Click HERE to read about it.

Honoring Industry Partners

Our Above & Beyond Appreciation

Ace Wrecker Service in Action

When we thank you for the opportunity to earn your business, that’s not an empty catchphrase. Rather, it’s our guiding principle. In our experience, business works best when trust, not profit, takes priority.

Time and again, we’re honored by our association with customers, vendors, and manufacturers.

Which brings us to Hurricane Florence, which struck the Carolinas in early September of this year. Florence caused at least 55 deaths and some $17 billion in damage. It is the wettest storm ever recorded in North and South Carolina.

The Yard Ramp Guy strategically places its depots across the United States, giving us the ability to shorten delivery time and reduce transport costs for our customers. One such depot is with Ace Wrecker Service in Wilmington, NC. We also contract with them for loads and off-loads for transactions mostly within a hundred-mile radius of their location.

As Hurricane Florence bore down on the Carolina coast, the governor encouraged evacuations. That was followed by a series of voluntary and mandatory evacuation orders, depending on location, as informed by the weather forecast.

At the same time, a Yard Ramp Guy customer needed a ramp delivered from Wilmington to Florida, and we scheduled transport to pick it up.

Because so many people were evacuating, and with the resulting volume of traffic on the roads, our carrier called Ace Wrecker Service to report that he was delayed.

Ace said, We’ll wait for you.

Our carrier arrived. He loaded the ramp onto his flatbed, secured it with straps, and took off for Florida.

If the traffic congestion and impending weather would have created imminent danger, we know that the scheduling would have been delayed or cancelled. Because we would have insisted upon it. And, without complaint, we would have found an alternate solution for our customer in Florida. As it happened, the timing was good enough to assure a safe pickup.

The aftermath for people and businesses in the Carolinas was another story. In the wake of Florence, all that rain and storm surge created floodwaters that cut off Wilmington from the mainland for a time.

Our gratitude to the team at Ace for going above and beyond.

This week, our man McCoy Fields has discovered that it took 2,000 years to build a canal, and he's just a bit impatient about the whole matter.

Click HERE to read about it.