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Container Ramp Design

Typical container ramp design incorporates an inclined section of about 9m (29’6”) in length and 2.25m (7’5”) in width, followed by a flat approach section of about 2.4m (7’10”) in length at the top, with a lip to enter the container or truck being loaded or unloaded. Key Things To Look For: Usable width – Thorworlds’s recommended solution, standard across our range, is the ‘full width’ container ramp, which delivers the width of a container for the full length of the ramp. Narrower or flared alternatives can often prevent pallets entering the vehicle parallel, and prevent use by wider Fork Lift Trucks or other materials handling equipment.

  • Exit Lip – Similarly, look for a full width exit lip, which sits securely on the bed of the vehicle to allow full width access to the vehicle/container. Any narrower and there’s a risk of fork trucks falling or getting stuck in the gap between ramp and vehicle. That’s why all Thorworld models incorporate a full width, 300mm deep exit lip.
  • Portability – A good container ramp design should be fitted with wheels for ease of transportation, and include an easily operated tow mechanism for fast, easy manoeuvring. Thorworld container ramps are supplied with either a tow bar or tow hitch, depending on the model.
  • Capacity – The industry standard capacity container ramp design is rated at 10 tonnes.  Alternatives include light duty 6 tonne and 7 tonne models, or heavy duty 12 tonne, 15 tonne or even higher capacity ramp designs, all available from Thorworld.
  • Levelling – the top of the container ramp should be level with the container, for improving visibility for positioning, optimum loading parallel to the vehicle floor, and to prevent impact with the container roof.
  • Adjustable Working Height – The working height of a container ramp needs to be adjustable to suit varying vehicle bed heights. The working height will also alter slightly as the vehicle is loaded or unloaded and moves on its suspension. Normally a working range of 1m to 1.7m is considered suitable. Height ranges that will allow the ramp to reach containers at around 1525mm(5’0”), down to Euro Trailers at around 915mm (3’0”) are considered suitable.

All standard Thorworld container ramps are constructed using welded steel.

Decking material must remain tough and non-slip in a range of operating conditions. While other options are available, Thorworld uses open grid sheeting supported on a rugged base structure.

All our container ramps feature a manual hydraulic handpump used to raise the ramp to above the vehicle bed height. The ramp is then positioned against the vehicle (or vice-versa), and hydraulic pressure released which lowers the ramp to the vehicle. As the vehicle and ramp will change height during the (un)loading process, the ramp will ‘float’ with the vehicle ensuring smooth and safe operation. Safety chains are used on both sides of the ramp to prevent the ramp from separating from the vehicle during use.

Although a detailed user manual is supplied with all our container ramps, we strongly recommend that all potential operators complete our thorough training course which can be carried out on your site to ensure it is fine tuned to exactly how you will operate.

Good ramp design should include the following safety features, all supplied by Thorworld Industries:

  • Safety rails to prevent fork trucks driving off the sides during use, and handrails if the container ramp is likely to be used by personnel.
  • High traction, non-slip flooring along the container ramp length
  • A means of preventing the container ramp and vehicle from creeping apart during use.
  • The ability to ‘float’ up and down with the vehicle as it moves on its suspension during the loading/unloading operation.
  • Adequate signage to cover functions/instructions for the ramp, including Safe Working Load

All Thorworld Container Loading Ramps are designed and tested in accordance with the relevant Standards, Directives & Regulations, and are all supplied with the UKCA and/or CE mark, and an accompanying Certificate of Conformity.