The Advantages of Aluminium Loading Ramps: Lightweight, Durable & Versatile
Date Posted: 28 July 2023
Heavy-duty work often calls for heavy-duty machinery. And although tractors, diggers or mini loaders may seem like the integral part of the job ahead, they’ll do you no good if you can’t transport them to your worksite. While roads accommodate buses, cars and even trucks, unfortunately there’s no lane for construction vehicles. Ergo, it’s essential that you have a steel or aluminium loading ramp to transport your machinery where it needs to go.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss the difference between steel and aluminium loading ramps, which variant is better, and how you can get the most out of your ramp. So, without further ado, let’s load up on information so we can hit the ground running.
Are Steel or Aluminium Loading Ramps Better?
The way we see it, there are a host of reasons to choose aluminium loading ramps over their steel counterparts. While an aluminium ramp cannot quite match a steel ramp’s loading capacity, it comes with many other advantages that outweigh this one weakness—if you can even call it that, seeing as an aluminium loading ramp can hold a fair few tonnes.
So long as you’re not working with super heavy-duty machinery weighing upwards of a few thousand kilograms, we would recommend working with aluminium in preference to steel. Here’s why:
Aluminium Is Durable
Steel may be as strong as Superman, but it buckles beneath inclement weather. Unlike steel, aluminium resists corrosion like a champion, which makes it an excellent and highly durable option for outdoor work. On any outdoor worksite, it’s inevitable that you and your equipment will have to brave the elements, which can include water, salt, solvents or chemical agents. Luckily, such elements are water off a duck’s back to our durable mate, aluminium.
Aluminium Is Strong but Lightweight
We may have equated steel to superhuman strength, but the real hero of this story is aluminium. Why? Because it’s as lightweight as it is strong. And just how strong are aluminium ramps? Models in our range can hold between 1,500–3,600kg, which is an extraordinary effort, especially when you consider that they’re the ramps with the lower load-bearing capacity.
Here lies aluminium’s two-faceted superpower: its lighter weight, which is no compromise on strength, renders it easier to transport and set up than its steel counterpart. Sometimes, you don’t want to hulk heavy steel ramps around, especially if they’re temporary and frequently moved or removed from storage.
Aluminium Looks Better
Let’s get shallow for a mo: aluminium outperforms steel in terms of aesthetics. It’s a cleaner material with a quality finish, and you can maintain its appearance by varnishing, anodising or treating the surface with one of many coverings. Remember, aluminium also resists corrosion, which is a built-in advantage ensuring that its looks will be enduring.
Aluminium Is Safer
Should your aluminium loading ramp come into contact with flammable substances on-site, sparks will not fly. When this metal rubs against other metals, its reaction is minimal and decidedly non-fiery, meaning it’s a safer option than steel, and therefore the ideal choice for loading vehicles.
Aluminium Is More Sustainable
Steel is to Superman as aluminium is to Captain Planet. Thanks to aluminium recycling, aluminium loading ramps are the most sustainable choice by far. Did you know that most industry equipment is made from recycled aluminium? Moreover, once your ramp is on its last legs, you can minimise your carbon footprint by recycling the ramp.
Tips for Purchasing Your Aluminium Loading Ramp
So, you’ve decided that aluminium is the way to go. The next thing to determine is what you want to get out of your aluminium loading ramp. See below for some shopping tips that should help guide you to your ideal purchase.
Know Your Weight Limit
Above all else, you’ll need an aluminium loading ramp that can withstand the weight of whatever you’re transporting. This accounts not only for the machinery itself but also its attachments, its driver and its wet weight: the weight gained from fluids such as engine oil or gear oil. When selecting your ramp, ensure to choose a model that will hold the maximum amount of weight you could potentially be carrying. Please note Bunyip Equipment models can hold between 1,500–3,600kg.
Choose the Right Rungs
Rungs may look similar at a glance, but they actually come in different shapes. Rungs designed for steel tracks can withstand more weight than rungs designed for tyres alone. Consequently, when selecting your aluminium loading ramp, you’ll need to select a model that will support the machinery you intend to transport. Alternatively, you can elect to go rung-free by opting for a flat aluminium walk ramp upon which you can carry up your equipment.
Consider Length & Angle
In the interests of safety, length and angle are two things you’ll want to get right. If your ramp’s length is incongruent with your load’s volume, then your angle will be dangerous. On average, 18 degrees is a fairly safe bet for a ramp, but you should calculate your load’s height and ramp’s length to know for sure. Google ‘ramp calculator’ for an online tool that can help you run the numbers.
In general, an angle falling between 16 and 23 degrees should be safe. The bottom line is that the ramp is secure, protecting your machinery and yourself, and is not too steep.
Making the Most of Your Aluminium Loading Ramp
An aluminium loading ramp is not an insignificant purchase, so you’ll want to get the full bang for your buck. Subject to how often you use it and how well you maintain it, your ramp can last 3 to 6 years, or sometimes even longer. Please note that while taking on heavy loads is their sole purpose, loading ramps will still weaken with frequent stress. So, knowing they’re not a ‘forever’ purchase, here’s how you can make the most of your aluminium loading ramp.
Use Your Ramp Often
Use your ramp at least once per month and avoid sustaining hairline fractures. If you leave it too long between uses, the aluminium compounds in your ramp will begin to stiffen and fracture.
Store Your Ramp in a Cool, Dry Place
When you’re not using your ramp, ensure you’re storing it in a spot that’s safe and dry and away from the elements. Because Australia is a ‘sunburnt country of droughts and flooding rains’, the weather conditions can be particularly trying, and this can erode or damage any equipment in its path. To save your ramp—and the rest of your equipment—from wear and tear, store it in a sheltered, enclosed space when you’re not using it.
Tie Your Ramp Down
When you’re taking your ramp on the go, you should lie it flat at a horizontal alignment and secure it with a rope. Think of this rope as a seatbelt holding your ramp in place, preventing sudden jolts and unsecured slippage.
Load Up on the Goods at Bunyip Equipment
Now you know everything there is to know about aluminium loading ramps, it’s time to find your perfect model. Browse Bunyip Equipment’s extensive range online and see which type will fit your bill. We stock ramps with different load-bearing capacities, different rungs and different overall designs that will satisfy all sorts of situations. Check out our online store today for your next high-quality aluminium loading ramp that will get your heavy-duty goods from point A to point B. We can’t wait to help you find what you’re looking for!