Here are 5 short must-know tips you should consider before committing to your purchase.
#1: Does the plank have grip and to what extent?
It is important to note that having grip is important to both your stability while standing on top of the aluminium plank, and also under the plank for the surface the plank is touching. This is to prevent slipping.
Some planks offer a completely smooth surface; some planks offer a pressed tread into the aluminium extrusion; and some planks offer rubber treads (either on the top side, or on both sides).
Yakka Gear recommends choosing a plank with all of the above, meaning a plank with both aluminum pressed treads and rubber treads, and making sure the grip is on both the top and bottom of the plank.
#2: Can the length be customised or cut to size?
To answer this question you need to consider how the plank endcaps are attached to the aluminium extrusion. The endcaps can either be attached via pop riveted, welded, or screws.
Pop rivets and welded endcaps are not designed to be removable and for this reason Yakka Gear recommends you will want to select screw-in endcaps. This way you can cut the plank to the size with screw-in endcaps you can easily unscrew them and then screw them into the plank where the newly cut end is.
It is important not to leave the newly cut ends exposed without endcaps, because it does a few important things: prevents rubbish from filling inside the plank, prevents sharp exposed ends, and provides a visually easier object to see so you do not hit or walk into it.
#3 What is the rating of the plank?
For aluminum planks, generally speaking ratings range from 1.8m up to 3m max span.
Max span refers to how long you run the plank before it needs support again. The longer the better. This means you will not have to run so many planks or supports if it is 3m vs 2m.
Weight ratings may vary based off the max span length.
E.g. 3m max span 250kg.
Note: Reducing the span may help increase the strength of the planks.
Pro-tip: Using the right plank clamp may help evenly distribute the weight across both planks and reduce the flex on the planks.
Yakka Gear recommends favouring the max span length first so you require less gear, and then consider the kg ratings to ensure it meets your requirements.
#4 What is the material made of?
Here is a quick breakdown on the pros and cons of different materials.
Lightweight and sturdy construction, long life, weather resistant protection.
Wood: Not recommended.
Lacks grip, too heavy to carry, absorbs moisture, can be brittle and prone to snapping or breaking down in the weather, splinters, short life.
Steel: Not recommended.
Too heavy, if not galvanised it will be prone to rusting in the weather, short life.
#5 Fixed length plank vs extendable (telescopic) plank?
Fixed planks provide a solid stability; whereas an extendable plank tends to wobble. Extendable planks may not be suitable for ramps either as this requires running the plank on an angle.
Yakka Gear recommends looking for aluminium fixed length planks, with aluminium and rubber treads on both sizes, rated to 3m max span over 250kg, and removable screw-in endcaps. You can buy them direct from Yakka Gear by visiting www.yakkagear.com.au, available for pickup or delivery from overnight or next day.
Yakka Gear planks also come standard with our lockable plank system – do not let your gear get stolen. Planks are one of the first things on a worksite to go missing, and you would hate for that to happen after spending your hard earned money.
Disclaimer: Yakka Gear does not offer legal advice and is not responsible. This is the opinion of Yakka Gear, and hopes it will be helpful to shoppers make better informed decisions.