Material Handling Tips

When it comes to Material Handling, we've been there, done that, now serving 285 tips in 17 categories ranging from Bollards to Yard Ramps.

Why do yard ramps have steel grating?

Why Yard Ramps Have Steel Grating

When loading and unloading materials on a yard ramp, you must be sure that your footing is secure. And when the loading is done outside, you must be sure that elements such as rain and snow don't pile up on your yard ramp to cause a slipping hazard as well. There is a simple solution to these problems -- steel grating. You may not realize it, but steel grating is everywhere. It is used for airfields, highways, industrial floors, in subways and tunnels and on docks and driveways as well as on ramps.

The steel grating on yard ramps serve two main purposes:

  • It is serrated for good traction
  • It prevents build up of water, snow, oil, grease and miscellaneous debris

Where can I find used yard ramps?

Buying Used Yard Ramps

A steel yard ramp will cost you between $9,000 and $20,000 and an aluminum yard ramp will cost you between $11,000 and $21,000, depending on factors such as what capacity you need, according to But you don't have to spend this much on a steel yard ramp if you buy it used.

There are Web sites that offer used yard ramps. Check out companies such as and for deals. View pictures of the used yard ramps on these sites before buying. American Surplus Inc. claims it is the premier used material handling equipment supplier in the country, providing customers the highest quality equipment at an affordable price. If you are in the material handling business and want to save some money, it's a good idea to keep an eye on companies such as this. American Surplus Inc. advertises monthly specials and other deals. There are representatives available to answer your questions about the used equipment as well.

How do I figure out what capacity I need in a yard ramp?

Formula for Judging Your Yard Ramp Capacity Needs

If you are trying to figure out just how much weight your steel yard ramp needs to hold, here is a good formula for figuring it out, courtesy of

Judge the greatest anticipated load and add the weight of the fork truck. Then purchase a dock yard ramp with a capacity of several thousand pounds greater than that combined weight. This will ensure you have enough capacity on your yard ramp for the job.

Why would I want to use a portable dock ramp?

Why Use a Portable Yard Ramp

Portable yard ramps are very useful in the material handling industry. Here are some reasons why you would want to use a portable yard ramp:

  • If your dock space is overcrowded and a truck cannot pull in to unload
  • Its versatility. You can unload trucks anywhere
  • If you simply have no dock area at all
  • Your business will not suffer due to unloading delays
  • They are heavy duty

Where do I turn for scissor lift certification?

Scissor Lift Certification

Sure, scissor lift operators must know how to operate a scissor lift. But they must also know the hazards of working with one. They must be able to protect their own safety as well as the safety of others while on the job. Because of this, the employer should make sure a scissor lift operator is trained correctly.

There are scissor lift training courses that cover topics such as effective supervision, legislative requirements, workplace hazards having to do with people, equipment and environment, safety tips and requirements for fall equipment and its use.

If you are looking to get scissor lift certification, check out the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Web site at This is a national association representing all specialties within the U.S. construction industry. The association offers training in more than 20 construction crafts through a national ABC network of 80 chapter offices across the country. It offers scissor lift certification and you can find a chapter office near you on the Web site.

According to ABC, a 4-hour class in aerial/scissor lift operator certification will offer both classroom and hands-on instruction, satisfy all state and federal training requirements and provide a 36-page manual to students. Students must bring their own hard hat and fall protection to class. Students must also register and the cost is $130 for non-ABC members and $85 for ABC members.

What are some different types of industrial lift tables?

Types of Industrial Lift Tables

There are many different kinds of industrial lift tables. Here is a sampling of lift and tilt tables, courtesy of

  • Bench top tilters: made of heavy duty steel and attach to most work benches, table tops and mobile lift tables of sufficient surface size and load capacity.
  • Ground tilters: excellent for tilting applications that require a pallet truck for loading and unloading. The ground tilter units are electro-hydraulic. To increase worker safety, pinch points are provided on the ground tilter's four sides.
  • Corner tilters: enable ergonomically correct loading and unloading of bulk crates, boxes and containers. The corner tilters tilt up to 45 degrees and are activated by a foot pedal or a hand-operated control lever. The unit's factory-preset, adjustable regulator starts rotating the container when the weight reaches about 900 pounds. The pressure of the air corner tilters can be adjusted to the weight of each application.
  • Portable tilt table: this movable tilt table decreases the risk of injury by reducing potential harm to workers. It can be moved with a fork truck.
  • Hydraulic upender tilter: upends and tilts work materials to an ergonomically correct position for the worker. The hydraulic upender features limit switches and mechanical stops in both directions.
  • Electric lift tables: enables easier loading of crates, pallets, baskets or boxes by electrically tilting them 45 or 90 degrees.

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