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The Incredibly Important Install Bay

(May 2013) posted on Fri May 03, 2013

Tips on how to make an efficient install area.

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By Jared Smith

Which brings us to the actual entrance. At our shop, we have a good approach and a massive rollup door. But since our building has loading docks, our floor is approximately 4 feet higher than ground level. That means we have a ramp. This ramp measures almost 60-feet long and 30-feet wide, and at first glance it appears to be more than adequate for even the largest trucks.

So, you might ask: When our first NHRA race hauler pulled in, why did we have six bluemedia staffers (including one on a lift), positioned at every angle over the race hauler? Why were they watching the rolldoor clearance, the lower clearance at the building’s entrance, and the front bumper of the tractor at ground level?

Because it was a scary close fit. The ramp designers knew what they were doing, but the angle of the ramp brings the top of the trailer within 1 inch of the roll door and the bottom of the trailer within 1 inch of the floor. If these types of race haulers did not have the ability to raise and lower the trailer, we simply would not be able to get them into our building. We took specific measurements of that first hauler so we could compare future vehicles to ensure we could clear everything. We measured the wheelbase, the distance from the rear axle to the rear bumper, the overall trailer height, and the overall length with tractor attached. After a few close calls, we learned to trust that we were fortunate enough to have a ramp-and-rolldoor combination that will indeed fit everything we want to bring indoors, including semi trucks with flatbed trailers hauling huge new machines. I cannot stress enough how vital this ability is – so make sure you keep in mind the angle of any ramps on the approach to your install bay.