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Industry Tips

How to Measure for a Railboard

by Andrea Curreri

Just as no two snowflakes possess the exact same structure and dimension, so too is designing a railboard a unique and individualized object. Because of the range of differences in the railboard use as well as rail car and loading dock dimensions, each Bluff Railboard is designed, engineered and manufactured to match the customer’s specific rail cars received, dock conditions, the rail car. We at Bluff take every opportunity to educate our end-users and our dealers on the tremendous importance of proper measurement for railboard customization in order to optimize the resultant product’s performance and the customer’s satisfaction. Misunderstanding or ignoring this concept will certainly lead to unwanted frustration.

The most critical step in ordering a railboard is the process of measurement. Because the resultant measurements can “make or break” the end-user’s product satisfaction, Bluff has developed a comprehensive Railboard Worksheet which can be located at: http://www.bluffmanufacturing.com/products/dock-boards/rail-boards-worksheet.htm Every effort is taken at Bluff Manufacturing to ensure that the dealers and end-users have a good understanding of this process: what to measure, how to measure and the importance of accuracy. Accurate measurement allows the manufacture of a rail board that has the proper width, length, bends, capacity, and understructure. We realize that the dealer wants to make the sale and that the end-user wants the railboard and, more than likely, they both want it now! However, the additional time taken to correctly and accurately complete the Railboard Worksheet will be well worth it. Bluff wants to provide a railboard with the most perfect fit possible; one that will be secure,safe, provide maximum durability and comfort.

Most of the questions on Bluff’s Railboard Worksheet are quantitative and involve active measurement of the “X” and “Y” variables: inside of the rail to the dock face (X) and from the top of the rail to the top of the dock (Y). The “Y” vertical measurement is best confirmed using a line level and string. Other questions are more qualitative and open ended: identify the types of equipment / attachments used to travel across the rail board. Upon completion of all measurements, the Railboard Worksheet is submitted to Bluff and is reviewed by Bluff’s engineering design team. Should questions arise while field measurements are being taken and the Railboard Worksheet is being filled out, five dedicated account representatives, including two product specialists as well as the engineering design team are all readily available by telephone for live field-to-shop interaction.

So the next time it snows, you can marvel at the incredible uniqueness of that snowflake on the end of your nose, and take a moment to consider your Bluff Railboard knowing that it too is a wonder of customized manufacturing! You have your accurate completion of the Railboard Worksheet to thank for that and you deserve a cup of hot chocolate.