Selecting Dimensions and Capacity for a Yard Ramp

How Long is a Yard Ramp?

The length of a yard ramp is determined by the style and intended use of the yard ramp. There are three different styles for yard ramps and each has a different use.

Yard Ramp Lengths
yardramp-lengths
1. Yard Ramp with a Level Off
The most popular style of yard ramp features a level off platform. The level off can vary in length with the most popular level off being either 6 or 8 feet long. Yard ramps with a level off platform are typically 36 feet long.

2. Straight Yard Ramps
These yard ramps do not feature a level off platform and are typically 30 feet long.

3. Mini Yard Ramps
A mini yard ramp is designed to meet a specific need, often accommodating a lower-than-standard dock height that can often be found in older buildings. The length of a mini yard ramp is typically 15 or 18 feet long, however they can be manufactured to any specification.

 

A yard ramp with a level off is more versatile than a yard ramp without a level off but it is also more expensive. What makes a yard ramp with a level off more versatile and more valuable? A yard ramp with a level off can be used for any purpose while a yard ramp without a level off is not recommended for unloading a semitrailer.

Call our experts at Handi-Ramp 1-800-876-RAMP (7267) to discuss your specific yard ramp length requirements.

When Do You Need a Yard Ramp with a Level Off?

LevelOffA yard ramp with a level off is recommended if you are going to use this ramp to unload semi trailers from ground level.

The level off allows the forklift to move straight into the rear of a truck, rather than at an angle, enabling access to those pallets at the very back of the truck.

As you can see in the picture on the right, a platform will allow you to level the forks on your forklift when you are loading or unloading the very end of a semitrailer.

A yard ramp without a level off is most often used when converting a loading dock into a drive in door. A yard ramp with a level off can also be used for a ground-to-dock situation.

 

 

ground to dock yard ramp
Yard ramp without level off used in a ground-to-dock application

Steel Yard Ramp
Yard Ramp with a level-off used for loading a semi trailer

If you want to use a yard ramp without a level off to unload a semitrailer, you can do this safely by adding a portable loading platform as shown below.

 

portable-loading-dock
A man driving a forklift up a steel yard ramp, and over a portable loading dock into the back of a semi truck.

 

Call our experts at Handi-Ramp 1-800-876-RAMP (7267) to discuss the benefits of yard ramps and portable loading dock platforms.

Determining the Proper Width for Your Yard Ramp

width dimensionsThere are two different width measurements for yard ramps: usable width and total width. As shown in the picture, usable width is the surface space on which a forklift or other vehicle can travel. The total width includes the dimensions of the side rails and is approximately six inches wider than the usable width.

Yard ramps can be designed to almost any width that you will need. We have even had customers double up yard ramps setting them up side by side to accommodate really wide pieces of equipment. Standard total widths include 70 inches, 84 inches and 96 inches. The most popular total width yard ramp is 84 inches wide with a 78 inch usable surface.

The width of your yard ramps should be determined by the widest piece of equipment that will use your yard ramp. The usable width should be at least 8 inches wider than the equipment you will be using on the yard ramp.

If you are unloading a rail car, select the ramp width wide enough to allow your forklift to enter and turn in the rail car without hitting the side rails. Also measure the rail car door openings to make sure the yard ramp will fit.

If you are using your yard ramp to convert a loading dock into a drive-in door, we recommend that the usable width be at least 8 inches wider than the outside of the wheel span on your vehicle.

Call our experts at 1-800-876-RAMP (7267) to discuss your specific yard ramp width requirements.

Height Range of a Yard Ramp

Most yard ramps have an undercarriage that allows the height of the yard ramp to be adjusted. There are two types of undercarriages: a crank design and a hydraulic pump. More information can be found in the yard ramp options article.

height adjustment
While both methods of adjusting a yard ramp height work very effectively, each has some small advantages. The differences are minute and should not influence a purchasing decision. The crank adjustment option is typically less expensive than the hydraulic pump and it is easier to maintain. The hydraulic pump requires less effort to operate.

The height of a yard ramp is adjustable because the heights of semitrailers and loading docks will vary. A standard dock height is approximately 4 feet high and likewise a typical semi trailer will be around 4 feet high but the height of the semitrailer will vary depending upon the amount of weight in the trailer. Most yard ramps have an operating height range of between 40 inches and 60 inches but we can design a yard ramp to meet almost any height requirement.

Even at 60 inches (5 feet) high and a 30 foot ramp, the slope of the ramp will be less than 10 degrees, which is within the recommended grade for electric, propane, and diesel forklifts.

Call an expert at Handi-Ramp 1-800-876-RAMP (7267) to discuss your height requirements.

Capacity of Yard Ramps

The last major step is to select the capacity. Similar to the width, the capacity of the yard ramp is determined by the specifications of the forklift. The capacity of the yard ramp is three times the capacity of the forklift. There are four standard capacity categories of a yard ramp.

  • 16,000 lbs (forklift capacity up to 5,333 lbs)
  • 20,000 lbs (forklift capacity up to 6,667 lbs)
  • 25,000 lbs (forklift capacity up to 8,333 lbs)
  • 30,000 lbs (forklift capacity up to 10,000 lbs)

Mini Yard Ramps

Mini yard ramps are a smaller, lower cost version of the traditional yard ramp. The mini yard ramp typically does not have an undercarriage, although it may come with an adjustable leg stand. Mini yard ramp are deployed to enable drive in access to a “lower than traditional” dock height or to enable access to a semi trailer from a “lower than traditional” dock height.

Custom Yard Ramps

We have designed yard ramps that meet a wide variety of special needs. If your loading dock requirements are unique, our experts at Handi-Ramp can design a solution to fit your parameters.

Call Our Experts to Guide You Through All of Your Options 1-800-876-RAMP (7267)

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