A project to design and install a fixed loading ramp incorporating an existing concrete ramp onto which a yardramp needed to be adjoined is an example of loading equipment specialist Thorworld Industries’ tailor-made solutions to meet customers’ logistics needs

Thorworld handles every step of the process in-house, promising that work is not subcontracted to outside agencies in order to maintain quality control throughout the life of the project.

“With over 30 years’ experience, we’ve come across all kinds of unusual warehouse and loading/unloading environments and received many challenging requests,” explains John Meale, MD of Thorworld. “We are therefore confident we can provide a practical and cost-effective solution to virtually any loading/unloading problem by utilising the experience and specialist expertise of our team.”

The process begins by visiting the site and planning an appropriate installation, tailored to the customer requirements and space available. Typical real-life applications have included a fixed loading ramp, incorporating an existing concrete ramp onto which a yardramp needed to be adjoined, and a warehouse where extremely limited space necessitated developing a ramp that could be moved sideways for storage once the loading operation was completed.

Thorworld’s design team creates a blueprint using 3D CAD visualisation, to show the customer what the finished installation will look like and to confirm the intended solution is practical and cost-effective.

The solution for the fixed loading ramp was a cut-down version of Thorworld’s 6 tonne capacity, Type 10 mobile yardramp, which needed to be redesigned to fit flush with an existing concrete ramp, in order to provide a consistent gradient. A counterbalanced drawbridge leveller then spans the gap to the vehicle, and allows a wide range of vehicles to be served due to its 350mm height variation. The leveller was also fitted with collapsible handrails to provide a safe, efficient workspace and, when not in use, the leveller is stored in an upright position.

Similarly, with the very tight space constraints, the concept devised for the sideways ramp solution involved modifying Thorworld’s Deluxe 10,000kg capacity Type 7 yardramp, by fitting an additional set of wheels that were orientated perpendicular to the normal direction of travel. This enables quick and easy sideways movement of the ramp for storage when not in use.

The design stage is enhanced by extensive testing to ensure the desired equipment will be robust enough to withstand regular warehouse usage. “Equipment gets very robust treatment during loading and unloading, so we design and build hard-wearing industrial kit that will provide long-term reliability,” explains Meale. Methods include Finite Element Analysis and, where possible, physical testing.

Once Thorworld and the customer are happy with the proposals, manufacturing is conducted at the company’s Chesterfield facility. For the sideways yardramp, one challenge was to build a set of wheels on telescopic legs. This allowed use of the ramp in a traditional manner, but ensured the ramp could then be lowered onto the perpendicular set of wheels to push/pull sideways for storage.

The installation was completed in a single day to minimise disruption to the customer’s logistics operations.

Service and maintenance contracts for Thorworld equipment provide a comprehensive aftercare package that delivers long-term peace of mind through regular maintenance and an extended warranty.

Thorworld offers full operator training as part of the overall project management. Meale concludes: “The nature of bespoke solutions is even experienced loading bay operators will be unfamiliar with the new equipment. Our training programme takes into account the specifics of the solution to ensure that customers learn the safest and most efficient way to use it.’

Details of these applications and some other recent Thorworld bespoke loading/unloading solutions, such as hinged bridgeplates, a platform system, mobile access platforms, a fixed loading ramp & platform, a fixed ramp with leveller, a dock leveller, a lightweight platform and dock bumpers, can be viewed at the following website: www.thorworld.co.uk/bespoke-products/list