Yard Ramp “Width” vs “Usable Width”

Usable vs Overall Widths of a Yard Ramp/Portable Loading Dock
Yard ramps, also known as portable loading docks, play a pivotal role in streamlining the loading and unloading of various cargo for ground-to-dock or ground-to-truck access, making them indispensable tools for many industries. Whether you have a big job coming up that requires a more efficient way of unloading a trailer or you’re looking for a more permanent way to increase the efficiency of daily operations, a yard ramp may be the solution you are looking for.

When looking for a yard ramp that best suits your business needs, one crucial aspect to take into account is the width of the ramp. While the overall width is an important consideration, the usable width is critical, as it directly impacts the efficiency, safety, and functionality of your loading and unloading operations. In this blog, we will delve into the distinction between overall width and usable width on yard ramps, highlighting their respective implications and offering guidance to help you select the best yard ramp width for your business.

Understanding Yard Ramp Width

When searching for a yard ramp online, it is not always totally clear if the width listed in the specifications refers to the overall width or the usable width of the ramp. Usable width is usually the width that is referred to when describing a yard ramp’s specs, but it’s crucial to note the difference.

Overall yard ramp width refers to the physical span of the ramp measured from the outside of the side rail to the other. The overall width of the yard ramp provides a clear indication of the ramp’s overall footprint and is an essential factor to consider when assessing the ramp’s compatibility with your facility’s layout. On the other hand, usable width is the practical space available for forklifts and the cargo the forklift will carry. It is the functional area that your equipment, machinery, and personnel utilize. While you may find a yard ramp with an ideal usable width, the overall width may not be compatible with the location in which you plan to operate the ramp.

Another important note to mention is the overall and usable width available when renting versus purchasing a yard ramp. Yard ramps available for rental are typically available in one standard size because the ramps are constantly traveling from place to place and being used by a variety of different business applications. At HandiRamp, the standard yard ramp rental width is 86” overall and 78” usable. When purchasing a yard ramp, you’ll have a few more options when it comes to the ramp’s specifications. If you’re looking for an exact overall/usable width on your yard ramp and plan to utilize the ramp indefinitely, a custom yard ramp may be your ideal solution. Because HandiRamp manufactures yard ramps at several facilities across the country, we’re able to design and fabricate a ramp with your exact specifications.

Choosing the Ideal Yard Ramp Width for Your Business & Usage

Now that you have a strong understanding of both overall and usable width and how they influence your loading and unloading operations, you’ll need to determine the ideal width for your business and usage.

Factors Influencing Yard Ramp Width Selection

Equipment Dimensions: Your yard ramp will be useless if it can’t accommodate what you need to transport on the ramp. Assess the dimensions of the largest forklift, equipment, machinery, and/or cargo you’ll be loading and unloading. We recommend that the usable width of your yard ramp be at least 8 inches wider than the cargo and equipment being moved on the ramp. This prevents bottlenecks during loading and unloading processes and enhances operational efficiency and safety. Most importantly, the extra width will allow for the safe usage of forklifts on the ramp. 

Space Constraints: Consider the available space in your facility. The yard ramp width should fit comfortably within your loading area while allowing the safe movement of personnel around the ramp. Measure the area around your dock or trailer to get a good idea of how the ramp will fit in your space. Avoid selecting a ramp that is too wide and leads to underutilization of space or too narrow, causing operational difficulties. 

Operational Flow: Analyzing your loading and unloading processes and identifying potential congestion points can help you determine if your business would benefit from a wider or more narrow yard ramp. If your business deals with high volumes of materials or equipment, a wider ramp might be necessary to accommodate the frequent loading and unloading.

Future Expansion:One of the biggest benefits of a yard ramp is that it is your portable locking dock, so it can accompany you if your business moves locations. Selecting a yard ramp with a slightly larger usable width than what your immediate needs call for can be a wise investment, as it accommodates future expansion. If your space allows it, a wider yard ramp will be able to better accommodate many different types of cargo compared to a more narrow ramp. 

HandiRamp Fabricates Yard Ramps with the Ideal Width for Your Application

Selecting the right yard ramp width is a crucial decision that impacts the efficiency, safety, and overall productivity of your business operations. By considering factors such as equipment size, space constraints, safety, and growth potential, you can make an informed choice that aligns with your business needs. Whether you opt for a standard width or customize your yard ramp, prioritizing usability and safety will undoubtedly lead to a smoother loading and unloading process, contributing to the success of your business.

Yard Ramps are available in three widths

HandiRamp manufactures yard ramps with multiple width options to satisfy your business operations: 64” usable (70” overall), 78” usable (84” overall), and 90” (96” overall). If you’re looking for a yard ramp for a limited amount of time, our yard ramp rentals have a 78” usable and 86” overall width.

If none of those width options satisfy your unique needs, our team of engineers can design and fabricate a yard ramp with a custom width that meets your exact specifications. Give our ramp experts a call today at 800-876-7267 for a quote on a rental, new, used, or custom yard ramp. Our team will also be able to answer any questions you may have. We look forward to providing you with your ideal portable loading dock solution!