Felling Trailers, Inc. was recently awarded a U.S. patent grant for their Air Bi-fold Ramps System, U. S. Patent 11,613,197. The Air Bi-fold Ramps system was first introduced to the construction and paving industry at the 2020 CONEXPO-CON/AGG show. The Air Bi-Fold Ramps system was featured on Felling's 25-ton FT-50-3 LP, a tri-axle low-profile flatbed tag trailer.
Filing for a U.S. patent is an extensive process, taking anywhere from two to three years from start to finish. Felling’s VP of Engineering worked with a Registered Patent Agent to complete the many steps in the process, from patent search to application to acceptance. Once a U.S. Patent is granted, it remains in effect for a period of 20 years from the original filing date. The patent protects the intellectual property of the air bi-fold ramps system design, preventing others from creating, making or selling a similar product.
“The patent helps to protect our invention and maintain Felling Trailers’ presence in the marketplace as innovative solutions provider both today and in the future,” said Patrick Jennissen, Felling Trailers’ VP of Sales & Marketing.
Few manufacturers in the marketplace offer an Air Bi-Fold Ramp system, let alone with the functionality that Felling's offers. A key feature of Felling's design is the operation of the flip ramp. The flip ramp locks out fully when extending, preventing scraping or marring of the ground, which is undesirable, especially if it's a new surface of any kind. Another key feature is Felling' controlled flow air ramp technology, which provides for soft ground contact of the ramp, keeping new surfaces free from being damaged.
The Air Bi-Fold Ramps are 45 in. wide by 11 ft (7.5 ft +3.5 ft) wood inlaid. For more than a decade, Felling Trailers has offered air ramps with available lengths of 6 ft to 8 ft. The 11 ft Air Bi-Fold ramps were designed to accommodate the load angle necessary for loading cumbersome low-clearance equipment such as paving equipment and directional drills.
The Air Bi-Fold ramps’ length provides the operator with a gentler, more gradual incline to provide ease in loading/unloading with its 9.5º load angle with the option of air ride suspension when the air is dropped. Felling Trailers’ Air-Ramp technology allows operators to use the tow vehicles’ onboard air system to power the ramps, eliminating the maintenance of an onboard electric/hydraulic system. Furthermore, the patented technology allows for minimal ground contact when deploying/retracting the ramps to reduce damage to new pavement when loading/unloading.
“These ramps are available on a wide range of air brake-equipped trailers and allow the safe loading of most paving equipment with ease. Air-operated ramps are far more reliable than those powered by an electric/hydraulic pump, making it a clear choice for many paving crews,” says Nathan Uphus, Felling Trailers’ Sales Manager. The patented air bi-fold ramps system is currently available on 20, 22.5, 25, and 30-ton tag series with plans to expand into the semi-trailer lines.