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Ramping Up

LINK IMPROVES PRODUCTIVITY AND REDUCES COSTS

Ramp

As a low-cost, low-maintenance alternative to hydraulic and pneumatic liftgates, Link’s Cargo Management Products Division makes swivel, spring-assist, bifold, trifold, and customized loading ramps for lightweight, heavyweight, and side-mount applications.

A PROBLEM 

Hydraulic and pneumatic liftgates can be a big help when they function properly. However, they are costly to purchase and maintain and, because nearly all of them must be mounted on the exterior of a vehicle, are constantly exposed to the elements.

“Most liftgates are vulnerable to all the environmental extremes within their operational realm, so if it’s wet or icy out, a liftgate’s surface can become hazardous,” says Lynn Blake, national account manager, Cargo Management Products for Link Manufacturing. “Partly because they are exposed, hanging on the back or the side of a truck, hydraulic and pneumatic liftgates are also prone to mechanical failures and also rely on a vehicle’s limited battery power to operate.”

Featured Image: Link Manufacturing has developed a wide variety of lightweight, low-profile aluminum ramps that vertically mount just inside the rear or side doors of commercial vans and box trucks, protecting them from the elements.
Above:  Link’s LSR90 Series Swivel Ramp is intuitive and simple to operate.

While no-idling laws tighten and the burgeoning last-mile delivery segment continues its expansion, battery failures in the field have correspondingly increased in frequency as alternators struggle to replenish batteries depleted by more frequent starts and stops. “No battery power, no liftgate,” Blake adds. “And then the vehicle is virtually incapacitated until service arrives.”

  1. The LSR90 ramp tucks behind wheel well for easier loading. 
  2. Swivels outside the vehicle for convenient access.
  3. Ramp locks upright at the rear door like a traditional ramp.   
  4. The LSR90 is available in 30-inch to 47-inch widths.

Repair and maintenance costs of hydraulic and pneumatic lifts can add up fast and have also been negatively impacted by the increased duty cycle pressures brought on by online retailing. Simply put, machines and their components wear out with increased use, and today liftgates are seeing significantly increased use.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION 

Link Manufacturing has developed a broad array of quickly deployable ramp solutions engineered for commercial vans and box trucks. Unlike exterior-mounted liftgates, Link’s lightweight, low-profile aluminum ramps vertically mount just inside a vehicle’s rear or side doors.

By stowing vertically inside the vehicle’s cargo hold, the ramps are not exposed to the weather or road debris and remain clean and dry prior to use. After use and once in its vertical position again, any moisture or residue left on the ramp can be easily brushed or wiped away. 

With 180-degree of rotation flexibility, Link’s LSR90 Series Swivel Ramp mounts in the rear but can also be stored inside behind the wheel well, providing open access to the cargo area when the loading ramp isn’t needed.

“When in its upright and closed position, the ramps take up less than 12 inches of horizontal space in the area just inside the door, that is generally unusable anyway,” Blake says. “Also unlike liftgates that are slow and laborious to deploy, a Link ramp can be opened and in use within seconds and can be stowed just as quickly.”

The ability to rapidly open, use, and close the ramps makes them perfect for today’s rapid delivery environments where stops may be mere blocks from each other. With a Link ramp, a delivery can be made and a driver back in route to the next location in a fraction of the time it would take to use a liftgate for the same task. 

“Compared to liftgates, Link ramps are also virtually maintenance free, just periodic inspection and lubrication when needed,” Blake says. “The maintenance and repair savings alone are significant.”

KEEPING IT SIMPLE

All Link ramps are fast, easy, and convenient to deploy, use, and stow, and an optional built-in spring-assist feature is also available on some models. Opening and closing the ramp requires only 50 lbs of force, and the ramps can be unfolded and folded back into their vertical, low-profile storage position in less than 10 seconds. 

“From an ergonomic perspective, Link ramps take simplicity to a new level and require very little training,” Blake says. “With their intuitive design, even the most inexperienced operators can be properly using the ramp within minutes.”

Link makes simple-to-use ramps, such as the LB10 Series Side Mount, for both rear and side door applications.

Link ramps come in widths of 24 to 47 inches and can easily accommodate standard hand trucks and other cargo conveyance equipment. Ramp lengths range from 72 to 135 inches for bifold models and up to 119 inches for trifold models. Trifold models also feature an adjustable support mechanism for extra stability. 

An extruded aluminum surface is standard on all Link ramps and features slip-resistant ridges that provide the essential traction for common and repetitive use. An optional, high-friction, perforated deck surface is also available for applications where exposure to ice, oil, moisture, and other slip-inducing substances is common.

“Link ramps are engineered for years of high-traffic service in all climates,” Blake says. “And because the ramps store vertically inside the vehicle and are easy to clean, their surfaces are less prone to accumulate surface debris that might compromise traction or diminish productivity.”

FOR YOUR APPLICATION

Link has developed an extensive range of aluminum ramps that provide users with safe, durable, and economical solutions for their cargo loading and handling needs. Link offers nine standard ramp designs to meet a wide variety of applications. Weight capacities vary between models and range from 350 to 1,500 lbs. The company also offers custom engineering services for applications that are unique to the end user. “There is a link ramp for virtually every application imaginable,” Blake says. “And if it hasn’t been imagined, we can purpose-engineer a ramp to fit the exact need. 

“Our ramps are made right here in Iowa, the heartland of America,” Blake adds. “So whether the application calls for an advanced spring-assist swivel ramp design or a simple, non-folding ramp, Link can generally ship within seven days.”

Link’s LWS40 Series Lightweight and LS50 Series Heavy Duty are portable ramps that are easy to remove and stow.

The units all come palletized and ready to install. Optional wheel kits are also available and help transition the ramps more smoothly when deploying them on a wide variety of surface angles and materials.

FOR MORE INFORMATION 

Find out more about Link Cargo Management Products, visit www.linkmfg.com.

MODERN WORKTRUCK SOLUTIONS:
OCTOBER 2019 ISSUE

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