1 word, WOW! It has been a crazy couple months. As you probably noticed, it has been a while since we have posted to any sort of social media, but we have been hard at work testing the first production units in the field and making sure it is production worthy. So, as we get closer, we figured we would create a Blog to keep everyone up to date as best we can. Hope you enjoy!
So where to start... The last Facebook post was in April, 2016 when we delivered our first production units to our first customers (2008 Toyota Tundra on the left). It was a push, but we got them out. And ever since, we have been working our tails off with these initial customers improving the design for their applications and making it more producible using local suppliers.
We went from one, 3/8 pull pin to a two, 1/2 inch double pull pin design to improve the strength of the product even more. The calculations were good for the 3/8 pin, but we were not happy with the strength in the field, so we beefed it up! We bought all new pins and got them out for our testers to try.
Once the new pull pins were out, it was time to start making the design more producible and working with local suppliers. For example, we improved the brackets on the ramp to be riveted, which significantly improved the precision and cleanliness of the ramps. When welding the brackets on, there was a lot of warping that had to be post processed and spatter that had to be cleaned up. Whereas the new bolted design has proven to be just as strong, and much better for manufacturing.
We also went to DOM tubing for the main support bar (horizontal round tube the ramps sit on) to make the design even more robust. You might be thinking, man, this sounds like a lot of change, did they test it?!. Oh yeah, we tested it! Not only with our testers, but we took it out and thrashed on it with as much weight as we could (within the 1500 lbs. rating :) ) to make sure what ever you throw at it, it would hold up; check it a video we took during testing!
As we get closer to the final revision we will release to the masses, it is bitter sweet to start to scrap out all the development hardware, prototypes and raw material we used over the past few years to get this product off the ground. Man it was a lot of scrap metal!
We were excited that on June 28, 2016, we were granted the trademark for RampPro™! (Notice the little "TM" on our logo now :) )
What now? We are making one more update (just one, I promise :) ) after working with a customer who regularly loads things that apply an uneven load to the ramps. Because there is more side to side flex in his situation than we would like, we are making a change to add stabilizers. The load will still remain on the receiver, as it should, but additional brackets that interface with the tailgate will prevent excessive side to side motion when loading unevenly, such as a motorcycle. Check out what we are thinking (circled in red).
Once we have thoroughly tested this stabilizer update, as we do for every iteration, we will be in good shape to start filling orders beyond the special requests we get from our homepage.
We know it has been a long time in coming, but we are focused on getting the design right, and pickup truck ramps have been a problem for decades. We promise RampPro will be an excellent product our customers will be happy to own!
Stay tuned, because there will be more soon!