More from: trailer loading ramps

Tips for Using Loading Ramps in Winter Weather

Flatbed trucking does not take a break during the winter. It may slow down for certain kinds of loads, but flatbed truckers keep the wheels moving year-round. That means they have to adapt the way they work to account for potentially dangerous winter conditions. Consider the possibility of using trailer loading ramps to get a piece of heavy construction equipment onto the back of a trailer.

Regardless of weather conditions, loading ramps should be deployed with care. That’s why manufacturers recommend being extremely cautious. In the winter time though, the hazards normally associated with loading ramps are exacerbated by snow, ice, and even cold temperatures. Truck drivers have to be extra careful.

 

Below are some helpful tips that could make a real difference should you have to use your loading ramps during the coming season.

1. Wear Heavy-Duty Gloves

You should always be wearing gloves when you are working with your loading ramps. In the winter though, gloves are even more important. Cold temperatures can make your hands go numb pretty quickly. A good pair of gloves, would prevent any physical harm.

The other thing to remember is that loading ramps themselves will be extremely cold. Working without gloves could lead to frostbite. If your skin is wet or damp when you first touch a loading ramp, it could freeze to the surface of the metal. That would not be a fun situation to be caught up in. The point  here is that heavy-duty gloves are non-negotiable during the winter.

2. Ramps Should Be Free of Ice

Before any loading takes place, your ramps should be completely free of ice and snow. You can use a commercial deicing product in the form of a liquid or spray to keep them clean. Some truck drivers carry a rubber mallet in the toolbox instead. A couple of whacks with the mallet will get rid of ice pretty quickly.

3. Look for Clean, Dry Surfaces

You know enough about truck loading ramps to look for flat, level surfaces on which to deploy them. The flat and level rule still applies during the winter. But let us go one step further. You should also look for surfaces that are clean and dry. Otherwise you risk the very real possibility of your loading ramps shifting on you.

Where loading ramps meet the ground, you should have a clean and dry surface to work with. If there is any snow or ice in the way, remove it first. The extra work involved here is worth it from a safety standpoint. Just ask anybody who has lost a load underneath loading ramps that shifted on the ice.

4. Consider a Single Piece Ramp

Winter is a good time to use single piece ramps instead of dual ramps. A single piece ramp is not always possible, but you should consider it for those jobs when it’s doable. A single piece ramp is just safer. Fewer things can go wrong because you are only working with one ramp. Obviously, you’re not going to carry a single piece ramp in your trailer. That means you will have to ask the shipper or receiver if they have one.

Winter weather is fast approaching. Please be cautious and account for current weather conditions while you work. Everyone wants you to be safe out there, including the entire Mytee Products team.


5 Things To Remember When Loading Ramps

We’ve all seen those epic fail videos online; videos showing people doing some pretty silly things. You don’t want to be included in that group when you are using trailer loading ramps. So learn how to use your ramps correctly. Otherwise, you could find yourself appearing in a viral video.

For the record, trailer loading ramps take advantage of a few key laws of physics that make it possible to get heavy loads up onto a trailer without having to use a lift boom. Those laws can be just as much your enemy as your friend. It pays to know how physics relates to the ramps you are using and the load they will carry.

Securing Ramps

The trailer ramps we sell are designed to be used with an aluminum skid seat and a locking rod. The reason here should be obvious: ramps need to be secured in place before any loading begins. Insecure ramps are almost guaranteed to fall away from the back of a trailer.

Before securing ramps, check to make sure the skid seat and locking rod are in good working condition. Any abnormalities that even look like they might compromise skid seat integrity should be dealt with before loading begins.

Loading at too Steep an Angle

The laws of physics dictate that less force is needed to move a load the lower the angle of ascent. As such, avoid the temptation of trying to load at too steep an angle. If the angle of load is too high for a particular job, either use longer ramps or find a higher surface you can use as an intermediate step in the loading process. If neither are possible, another method of loading will have to be considered.

Check Clearance

Clearance is a big issue when loading heavy equipment onto flatbed trailers. The clearance we are talking about is the clearance that exists between the bottom of the load and the top edge of the flatbed. A lack of sufficient clearance could mean a load gets stuck half-way on to the trailer, creating a potentially dangerous situation.

The way around clearance issues is to use ramps with arches built in. The arches lift the back of the load as it approaches the trailer, solving the problem of limited clearance.

Control Speed

Moving a load up a set of ramps too quickly is a dangerous proposition. Uncontrolled speed could cause a piece of heavy equipment to veer out of control once it reaches the flatbed. It could cause the equipment to jump, subsequently leading to damage on impact with the trailer.

There are just so many things that could go wrong here. So, whatever you do, make sure to control your speed when you’re using loading ramps to load heavy equipment. It is better to go too slow than too fast.

Always Ask for Loading Assistance

It is better to load ramps with assistance versus going solo. Flatbed drivers should always have the help of at least two other people who can keep an eye on the ramps from either side. If you can get two more to watch the trailer as well, that’s a bonus.

Trailer loading ramps are great tools for getting loads onto flatbeds. But they have to be used with caution and according to the laws of physics.


The Physics of Trailer Loading Ramps

We take trailer loading ramps for granted. In other words, we just assume that a good set of ramps is going to do the job without issue. We usually don’t give any thought to how they actually work, or how they make our lives easier for that matter. If we did, we would be delving into all sorts of things related to physics.

As human beings, we are capable of using tools to do all sorts of work. Trailer loading ramps are just one example. When you understand the physics behind how these ramps work, you come to appreciate how much they enable us to do. There are plenty of loads truckers could not carry if it were not for the work done by loading ramps.

The trailer loading ramps we sell are intended for both straight flatbed trailers and those with multiple deck levels. They affix to the back of the trailer using clips to hold them in place. On the other end, wedges make the transition from ground to ramp a smooth one, allowing operators to easily drive or push cargo up onto the trailer.

The Key: Force and Distance

We will not get into all the physics of using trailer loading ramps, but we do want to cover some of the basics. The first thing to talk about is how ramps make it possible to load extremely heavy cargo on the back of a flatbed. Imagine a trailer carrying a heavy piece of construction equipment.

Without loading ramps, that piece of equipment would have to be lifted onto the trailer using a crane. Why? Because it takes a tremendous amount of force to overcome gravity when lifting an object by pulling it from above. All that dead weight requires a heavy-duty crane to get it off the ground. Furthermore, greater downward force is exerted on the object the higher it goes.

Using loading ramps still require some amount of force to get the piece of equipment onto the trailer. But rather than pulling it straight up, the operator is moving the equipment across an inclined distance. Spreading gravitational force across a surface plane at distance allows the operator to more easily overcome that force at any given point during travel. The result is less energy required to move the same object.

Other Physical Forces at Play

While the force and distance equation is the key equation for trailer loading ramps, there are other physical forces in play. For starters, you have both the potential and kinetic energy stored in the piece of equipment being loaded. That energy affects how the cargo is moved.

Kinetic energy is energy in motion. It puts increased stress on the ramps the further up the piece of equipment goes. Combined with gravitational energy, kinetic energy also puts stress on the rear of the trailer. That’s why ramps have to be firmly affixed and trailers have to be locked in position.

Potential energy is stored energy. It exists in the piece of equipment even as it is moving up the ramps. If one of the two ramps are unsteady, that potential energy could be transformed into kinetic energy, causing the piece of equipment to tip and fall off the ramp.

Rest assured that engineers work out all the physics before attempting to load a piece of heavy equipment onto a trailer. Operators know the size of the ramps they should use, how to anchor the ramps in place, and how to actually move equipment up those ramps. If it weren’t for physics, none of it would be possible.


What Does a Good Trailer Loading Ramp Kit Look Like?

Trailer loading ramps are yet another tool that flatbed truck drivers use to get cargo in place. But loading ramps for tractor-trailers are far different from the DIY ramps you might use on a small home utility trailer. They are much larger, much longer, and a lot stronger.

Mytee Products sells trailer loading ramps along with all the accessories truck drivers need to utilize them. If you are new to flatbed trucking, you might need an entire kit to start from scratch. Please note that our kits come with absolutely everything you need for loading ramp deployment. Other kits may not be as extensive as ours.

So what does a good trailer loading ramp kit look like? It contains the following:

Single Ramps

Obviously, every loading ramp kit will come with at least two single ramps; one for the left side and one for the right. Our kits come with two sets of 18″ x 96″ ramps with a capacity of 23,500 pounds. These ramps are sturdy enough to be used as load levelers for timber loads as well.

Adjustable Stands

Ramp stands provide the support underneath while loads are driven up the ramps. They are also sold in pairs; one for the left side and another for the right. Our ramp stands are adjustable from 18 to 24 inches to account for different trailer heights.

Aluminum Skid Seats

Skid seats are mounted on the back of a trailer to provide an anchor for locking ramps in place. Once locked, ramps cannot pull away from the trailer. They are also sold in pairs; one pair for the bottom deck and another for the upper deck.

Ramp Hangers

Ramp hangers make it possible to carry trailer loading ramps from one job to the next without taking up valuable space on the flatbed. They are mounted to the main trailer frame using heavy-duty bolts. The ramp hangers in our kit are double hangers, meaning there are slots for two ramps. Two sets of hangers would allow for carrying a total of four ramps; two on each side.

Ramps Stand Hangers

If you are going to carry loading ramps on the trailer, you’re going to have to carry ramp stands as well. A good trailer loading ramp kit includes one hanger for each stand. Again, these hangers are mounted on the main truck frame, either in front of or behind the ramp hangers.

Ramp Wedges

Finally, ramp wedges are fixed to the lower ends of ramps to provide a smooth transition between the ground and the ramp. This allows for smoother loading while also reducing the risk of ramp movement during loading. Most loading ramps require the use of a wedge.

Mytee Products offers flatbed truck drivers a trailer loading ramp master kit that contains all the above components along with a few extras. For example, we also include a lightweight dolly that makes moving ramps around nearly effortless. Using a dolly is a lot less strenuous than trying to carry unwieldy ramps without assistance.

Please feel free to check out our ramp kit at your earliest convenience. Our website details everything that comes in the ramp kit for your convenience. If you do not need the entire kit, we do sell individual pieces as well. Rest assured that all our loading ramps and accessories are made right here in the USA to the highest possible standards.

If you’re unsure about anything included in our ramp kit, please don’t hesitate to ask. We want you to be fully informed and completely comfortable with your purchase before you buy.