How to Withstand the Big Challenges of Flatbed Cargo Control

It is a generally accepted rule in the trucking industry that flatbed loads are worth more money than dry van loads. The reason is simple: truck drivers have to put a lot more effort into protecting cargo being carried on the back of a flatbed trailer. They cannot simply hook up and go. They have to safely secure the load at a minimum; in some cases, loads also have to be covered with flatbed truck tarps.

It is ultimately the driver’s responsibility to make sure cargo arrives at its destination in perfect condition. As you might expect, there are plenty of things along the way that can cause problems. Drivers need to choose the right kind of cargo control equipment, and deploy it correctly, to prevent damage to whatever they are carrying.

weather-conditions

Here are the three biggest challenges of flatbed cargo control:

1. Weather Conditions

The biggest foe  for flatbed cargo is weather. For example, what appears to be a light rain standing in a stationary position instantly becomes driving in rain at 60 mph. New flatbed drivers are often surprised by how much damage a bit of rain can do. But it’s not just rain. Snow, sleet, ice, wind, and even sunshine can all cause problems.

A truck driver’s best protection against the weather is the standard truck tarp. Mytee Products carries a variety of truck tarps in different sizes and configurations. Our steel tarps are ideal for steel coil and tubing while lumber tarps come with side and back flaps to fully cover sensitive lumber loads. We also carry machinery and smoke tarps as well.

A driver’s choice of tarps can mean the difference between keeping cargo safe and delivering it with damage. That’s why we encourage investing in a full selection of high-quality tarps. The better a truck driver’s tarps, the less risk to his or her cargo.

2. Road Vibration

Most people do not understand the destructive power of road vibrations. Experienced flatbed truckers know full well that these vibrations can cause significant problems. It doesn’t take much to damage cargo, which is why flatbed truckers make use of things such as blocks, edge protectors, and pads to protect cargo from vibration-related damage.

How much of a problem is road vibration? Well, consider the principle of wrapping stemware and porcelain dishes in newspaper before moving. The reason for doing so is to protect them from vibration. Just a few miles of minor vibration can cause sensitive stemware to reach a frequency that causes it to shatter. The same principle holds true for flatbed trucking. Road vibrations have to be dampened to protect cargo with effective cargo control equipment.

3. Load Shifting

Hand-in-hand with road vibration is the third big challenge of cargo control: load shifting. Flatbed truck drivers take steps to ensure the cargo they are carrying is loaded onto the trailer in such a way as to keep weight evenly distributed across the platform. Even weight distribution is critical to both safety and fuel mileage.

What should be understood is that even a shift of just a few inches can compromise safety. Load shifts also carry the potential of making cargo less secure to the point that it could be dropped. This is why truckers use things like blocks and chains to keep cargo in place.

The three big challenges of cargo control are weather, road vibrations, and load shifting. The good news for truck drivers is that Mytee Products has everything needed for effective cargo control. From tarps to chains to winches and straps, you will find everything you need for protecting cargo here on our website.


Wire Rope Nomenclature for Beginners

Now that Mytee is offering rigging supplies, we are beginning to see an increase in the number of questions for these products. Our customers need to know what they are purchasing before they complete their purchase, and want to ensure that all their questions are answered correctly. For example, we sell a number of different kinds of wire rope for rigging.

wire-rope

Two examples of wire rope products would be our peerless galvanized aircraft cable and peerless fiber core wire rope. If you were to view either of these products on our site, you would see a description complete with a set of numbers that you might not understand. Unfortunately, there is a certain nomenclature assigned to wire ropes that you may not be familiar with unless you have extensive experience with rigging.

Wire rope is normally identified using three features:

  • The number of wires in each strand
  • The number and/or configuration of strands in each rope
  • An indicator of the construction or arrangement of the wires in the rope.

For example, a product designated as ‘6×7 fiber core’ would consist of six strands of seven wires per strand, surrounding a core made of a synthetic fiber. To an experienced rigger, the product designation would be enough to tell him or her whether the product is suitable for his/her purposes or not. Someone who does not possess the same kind of knowledge might look at the product designation and think nothing of it.

Different Rope Cores

The core, or center of a wire rope, indicates how that rope is used and what its capabilities are. Riggers have to fully understand load requirements in order to know what kind of core is most suitable to the needs of the job at hand. There are three primary core options to choose from:

  • Strand Center – This core is made up of a strand of wires either similar or identical to the outer strands. It is the weakest kind of core, yet it is still strong enough to be used for guy wires, suspension bridge cables, and aircraft cable. It is the core of choice for applications in which crushing weights are a concern.
  • Fiber Center – This core consists of pre-lubricated plastic fibers made of a material such as propylene. The advantage of a fiber core is that it stands up to tremendous amounts of pressure. It also tends to do very well against caustic substances that might be damaging to a strand center rope. It is not a good choice for applications involving crushing weight.
  • Independent Center Core – Known formally in the industry as IWRC (independent wire rope center), this kind of core is essentially a separate wire rope made with its own strands and core. Wire ropes made with IWRC cores are the strongest of all. They are generally accepted to be 7% stronger than comparable strand center wire ropes. The increased strength makes IWRC the preferred core for wire ropes that will be used to carry heavy loads.

One last thing riggers need to consider is the lay of wire strands within a rope. A regular lay rope is one in which the individual strands of the rope run opposite to the rope itself. A lang lay rope consists of strands that are laid in the same direction as the completed rope.

Finally, the alternate lay configuration utilizes equal numbers of regular and lang lay strands, woven together alternately. You can see this alternating pattern by laying the wire rope on a flat surface and inspecting the individual strands.

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How to Identify Different Types of Flatbed Trailer Parts

One of the things we’ve come to learn over the years with regards to flatbed trucking, is that there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution for every kind of load. Just browse our inventory of truck tarps and you will see what we mean. Lumber requires one kind of tarp while steel coil is better protected with another. The differences in load carrying and cargo control go beyond just tarps, though. There are even different types of flatbed trailers that carriers and drivers can choose from.

load-leveler

People with some flatbed experience tend to think of the standard flatbed trailer most often. This trailer is typically no more than 48 feet long with a bed that is between 4 and 5 feet off the ground. Standard flatbed trailers are suitable for all kinds of loads that do not qualify as wide or tall.

Carriers and drivers have several others to work with:

Removable Goosenecks

Also known as RGNs, these trailers have removable goosenecks that allow them to drop down so that the front can be used as a ramp. It is a good trailer option for construction equipment.

Step Decks 

Step deck trailers have a lower deck to accommodate loads that are too tall to fit under standard overpasses. These trailers can be coupled with trailer loading ramps to allow construction equipment to be driven into place before being secured.

Side Kit Trailers 

The side kit flatbed trailer is one with removable sides. The sides can be deployed for loads that would normally fit inside the width of a dry goods van, then removed again for loads that do not work well in confined spaces. They are very popular for transporting steel.

Stretch Trailers

Stretch trailers are usually removable goosenecks with built-in extensions that can be deployed to carry extra-long loads.

Double Drops

A double drop trailer has higher decks at the front and rear and a lower deck in the center. Like step decks, they are ideal for loads that are otherwise too tall based on legal limits.

Each of these trailers can accommodate unique loads that do not fit well inside dry goods vans. But the cargo being hauled still has to be protected. That is where the different kinds of truck tarps come in.

Securing and Protecting Cargo

Truck tarps are just one component of a much larger system of cargo control and protection. State laws require truck drivers to properly secure their cargo prior to departing on a journey. Cargo must be routinely inspected to make sure it remains secure throughout. As for protection, it is up to drivers to make sure their cargo gets to its destination in good condition.

Truck tarps serve to provide the protection drivers need. A good, high-quality truck tarp will provide years of reliable service protecting cargo from road debris, sunlight, moisture, and other sources of potential damage. Yet maximum protection means choosing the right tarp for the right kind of load.

Mytee’s inventory includes every kind of truck tarp the flatbed trucker needs. We carry lumber tarps, steel tarps, coil tarps, and machinery tarps. We also offer smaller smoke tarps designed to protect cargo from exhaust stack soot. All our tarps are made with high-quality materials and to the most stringent standards.

Flatbed trucking is by no means a uniform enterprise. There are different kinds of trailers used to carry different types of loads, and a full range of truck tarps that drivers can deploy to protect those loads. Here at Mytee we have all the truck tarps and cargo control supplies you will need. You’ll have to handle the trailers yourself.


Things to Consider before you Buy a Trailer Tool Box

So, you are a new flatbed trucker in the process of getting your rig together so you can start searching for loads. You’ve heard other truckers tell you to purchase several tool boxes to carry all your cargo control supplies. That is good advice. You will probably need at least two boxes, if not more. You’re going to need the space to store all your tarps along with your winches, straps, chains, etc.

tool-box

It might take some time for you to figure out a tool box configuration that works for you. To help you make wise purchase decisions, we have put together a list of things to think about as you are shopping. Don’t hesitate to ask other truckers for their advice as well. You can learn a lot from veteran flatbed truck drivers.

Tool Box Position

The first thing to consider is where you plan to position your trailer tool boxes. Why is this important? Because tool boxes have doors that can get in your way if you don’t place them correctly. For example, consider a tool box that you plan to mount underneath the trailer bed for tarp storage. You have to look at how the door of that box will operate.

Some tool boxes offer doors that open from the top down, protruding outward in the open position. This kind of arrangement might be suitable for a box mounted near the front of your trailer where you are not likely to need a lot of access. But the door could get in the way if that same box is mounted toward the rear of the trailer. A better option might be a tool box with a door that opens from the front and hangs below the box.

Space Requirements

You will require larger boxes to store truck tarps while smaller boxes are suitable for straps, winches, and hand tools. The reality is you might not know what your space requirements are until you have been on the road for a while. So we recommend at least one large box to handle your tarps along with another small box for straps and winches should be fine. You can add additional space in the future if you need to.

Construction Materials

Most flatbed tool boxes these days are made with high-grade aluminum (with steel doors). This sort of configuration gives adequate strength without adding unnecessary weight. Having said that, you can buy some pretty hefty tool boxes that are rather heavy. Just remember that every pound added to your rig has an effect on fuel mileage. The idea is to use as few tool boxes as necessary and to purchase boxes that are as lightweight as possible without compromising strength.

Brand Reputation

As with anything else, the reputation of a given brand says a lot about what you’re paying for. Brand-name products tend to be more reliable than their generic counterparts, hence the fact that they cost more. A higher price tag is certainly warranted when it comes to flatbed tool boxes.

Mounting Bracket Needs

Lastly, you’re going to need mounting brackets to properly secure your tool boxes. Make sure the brackets you choose are compatible with your boxes, or you could find yourself having to rig something up. Should you purchase from Mytee Products – and we hope you will – we have mounting brackets suitable for all the tool boxes we sell.

Tool boxes serve as critical storage space for flatbed truckers. As a new trucker, you are going to find that your tool box needs change over time. Rest assured, Mytee has everything you need for effective cargo control.

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How To Tarp the Most Common Flatbed Loads

Flatbed trailers are used to haul loads that do not fit well in dry goods vans. Consequently, cargo on the back of a flatbed trailer does not enjoy the same protection offered by four walls and a roof. Drivers have to take the responsibility of protecting cargo themselves, using truck tarps and other cargo control supplies to protect what they are hauling.

 

flatbed

The most common flatbed loads in the industry are:

  • Construction equipment
  • Finished machinery
  • Lumber and construction materials
  • Steel coil and tubing
  • Mining and drilling equipment
  • Auto parts.

Construction equipment generally needs no protection as long as you consider machinery that is built to be out in the weather. Backhoes, loaders, and the like can simply be secured to the trailer and taken where they need to go. The same is true for most pieces of mining and drilling equipment. However, just about everything else needs to be covered and protected in some way.

Finished Machinery

Finished machinery loads which include  CNC machines, boilers, and industrial air conditioning units, must be covered to prevent damage from road debris and the elements. The best way to do this is with rectangular machinery tarps that provide full coverage across the top and all sides. As an added bonus, machinery tarps tend to be the most versatile. They can be used with the widest range of loads.

Lumber and Construction Materials

Finished lumber and construction materials usually have to be covered with tarps even if shippers have covered them in plastic. Lumber tarps are the perfect tool as they are designed with flaps so as to cover the entire load – even in the rear. The only thing to watch out for with lumber tarps is that applying them can take longer so it would be best to have another set hands to help cover the lumber load.

Steel Coil and Tubing

Flatbed truckers know that steel coil and tubing comes in many different sizes and configurations. A trucker might haul four or six spools of steel coil on one run, then turn around and carry industrial-grade tubing laid flat across the length of the trailer for the next job.

Steel tarps are the best option for these kinds of loads. They come in multiple sizes, and their rectangular shape makes it easier to cover loads regardless of the configuration. Tarps can go over the top of chains and winch straps or be secured underneath.

Auto Parts

Deciding whether or not auto parts have to be covered depends on the shipper. New and used parts intended for installation will have to be protected from road debris and the elements; old parts destined for the scrap heap can usually make the journey uncovered. It has been our experience that standard machinery or steel tarps are the best choices for auto parts.

The Occasional Odd Load

Another thing flatbed truckers know is that there are those occasional odd loads that do not fit standards. For example, a trucker might have a trailer loaded with a combination of mining equipment and a vehicle for mine operations. The vehicle does not have to be covered, but the mining equipment does.

Odd loads require a bit of creativity from the drivers who carry them. It is up to the driver to figure out the best way to protect the cargo with tarps, straps, and other cargo control supplies. Drivers are always required to protect their loads no matter how odd these tend to be.

Mytee Products has everything flatbed truckers need to protect their cargo. Whether it’s steel, lumber or something completely out of the ordinary, we have the cargo control supplies you need to protect it.