Approximately two million trucks are sold in North America every year, with the primary customers being tradesmen, construction workers, and motor-cross and/or truck enthusiasts. While the load capacity of these vehicles is usually at least 1000 lbs (1/2 ton), loading large items in particular is a challenge due to the height of the truck bed and tailgate. These large items often have wheels (All-Terrain Vehicles, ATVs), or are transported on wheeled carts (fridges and other large appliances), so some kind of ramp is beneficial. Figure 1 shows improvised ramps being used to help load an ATV into the bed of a pick-up truck. The ramps need to be transported in the truck with the load so that they can also be used for unloading, but the wooden ramps in Figure 1 are too long to be conveniently carried. Folding ramps are available, which vary in performance, complexity and cost. A group of mechanical engineering students identified this as an opportunity for a lower cost solution.
Figure 1 - Improvised truck loading ramp (motivation for design improvement)