Using Tarp Repair Tape to Extend the Life of Tarps

America’s flatbed truckers rely on waterproof tarps to protect loads as they transport cargo from shipping yard to receiver. They cannot afford to use tarps that have tears or small holes which let in dirt, debris and the exposes the cargo to the elements, which in turn, could potentially cost the trucker his/her reputation and a paycheck or two. Keeping a supply of tarp repair tape on board goes hand-in-hand with always having reliable tarps to cover a load.

Today’s tarps are made from high-quality materials designed to withstand the harshness of trucking. Yet every tarp can still wear out over time depending upon, its exposure to weather conditions and the shipment is protects. Resilient tarps too can suffer punctures or tears caused by just about anything. Tarp repair tape is valuable to truckers because it makes repairing seams, holes, and tears easier, thereby reducing the amount of money truckers have to invest in their tarps.

To be clear, repair tape is not intended to fix extensive damage that compromises the integrity of a tarp. For example, you would not use it to join two halves of a tarp that separated at the seam. Such a repair would be far too stressful to hold up, even under normal conditions. But for everything else, repair tape is a less expensive option than buying new tarps.

tarp-tape

Repairing Small Holes and Tears

Tarp tape is designed to be strong and waterproof. Therefore, a single-sided repair is usually sufficient for small holes and tears no bigger than a few inches. Repair tape is cheap enough that you could hit both sides if you were concerned about repair integrity.

There are factors to making sure your repair is watertight. First, the surface of the tarp should be clean and dry. The trucker must be careful to remove all dirt, grease, and anything else stuck to the surface. Second, the repair should be made on a flat, hard surface to ensure the tape can be applied with no wrinkles or bubbles. Tape should be pressed firmly into place so that no air is trapped between it and the surface of the tarp.

Repairing Larger Breaches

Larger breaches can still be repaired with tarp tape as long as the overall strength of the tarp has not been compromised. Gashes and seam tears are routinely repaired this way. Before applying tape to a larger breach, make sure to pay attention to the same two factors listed above. Start by applying tape to the outside first, then flip the tarp over and repeat the tape application on the inside.

Double taping larger breaches ensures strength and provides a near-impermeable waterproof seal. Having said that, tape applied to the inside of the tarp has a tendency to suffer damage from cargo over time. These kinds of repairs should be checked regularly to make sure the inside surface remains strong and waterproof.

In closing, some truckers recommend using a heat gun on tarp repair tape to ensure better adhesion. This is not recommended by manufacturers. The tape is strong enough by itself to adhere to tarp material without any need for additional heat.

Tarp repair tape offers an excellent option for repairing damaged tarps in order to extend life. Unless a tarp is severely damaged, you can add years to its life by repairing minor holes and tears with tape. Mytee now carries 2-inch tarp tape from BAC Industries in both black and silver. We recommend you keep an ample supply on your truck. You can use it to repair your tarps as well as making similar repairs to other materials at home.


Many Ways to Use Pipe Stakes: Do What Works for You

Among the many tools flatbed truckers have at their disposal is the trusted pipe stake, used for securing pipe loads by creating a barrier to prevent a loss over the sides of the trailer. Pipe stakes are affixed to the trailer using sleeves that fit into stake pockets built into the trailer by the manufacturer.

Truckers may use steel pipe stakes because shippers require them, or simply because they prefer the extra security the devices offer. There is some debate as to whether any states require the use of pipe stakes but, in the end, it comes down to the driver’s legal responsibility to properly secure the load before starting a journey. There are multiple ways to do this.

pipe-stake

 

Securing Pipes Over the Top

A general rule for pipe stake height is 48” – you can purchase both taller and shorter stakes. When a load exceeds the height of the stakes, some drivers have been known to secure them over the top of the load by connecting opposite stakes with chain or straps. The extra tension pulls the stakes together and creates a secure load.

A benefit of this setup is that it provides a natural frame on which to place a tarp if tarping is necessary. On the other hand, securing pipe stakes in this way does take time that could be spent turning the wheels. A less time-consuming method of securing stakes is to run chain or straps around the perimeter of the trailer and winch everything tightly together.

Securing Pipes at the Base

Because pipe stakes tend to be made of galvanized steel, there is little worry about them bending or cracking as long as the pipe load itself is properly secured. The real concern is that stakes might break loose from their pockets during transport. Some drivers address this risk by securing pipe stakes at their base.

To do this, a chain is wrapped around the base of the stake, run down through the rub rail, sent back up the other side of the stake pocket, then run across the bed and repeated on the other side. This method is effective for pipe stakes of 48” or shorter. For longer stakes, securing at the bottom is sometimes complemented by additional securement at the top.

Shippers Ultimately Have their Say

The question of whether to use pipe stakes may not be so difficult to answer in light of shipper requirements. For example, a brief perusal of a number of trucker forums reveals that multiple shippers will not allow pipe loads to leave the yard unless drivers use pipe stakes. Shippers obviously have a vested interest in making sure their products arrive safely; they may not be willing to take a chance with a trailer that is not staked.

To keep shippers happy and loads secured as well as possible, pipe stakes are a good idea. The average trucker’s tool box should accommodate 48” stakes without issue, along with the associated hardware and hammer chocks. We recommend our own 48”, 7-gauge stakes with a 6” flat bottom that easily sits into most pockets

You may be tempted to make your own pipe stakes out of scrap, but we would advise against doing so. Purchasing a manufactured product ensures the integrity of the steel and the individual pipes themselves, offering you maximum stability, security and strength.

If you haul pipe loads, you need to keep a selection of pipe stakes on board. Doing so will give you access to more loads and more pay.


Protecting Seed Cotton with Hay Tarps

Hay tarps protect baled and rolled hay from the weather, thereby reducing the likelihood of bacteria growth, mold growth, and potential spontaneous combustion. However, hay farmers are not the only ones who benefit from these tarps. In other parts of the country, hay tarps are also used to protect seed cotton as well as post harvest alfalfa.

The only caution with tarping seed cotton pertains to the materials used to provide UV protection. HALS and Carbon Black stabilizers used for UV protection are harmless to seed cotton. Conversely, BHT stabilizers are another matter. Farmers are better off avoiding hay tarps treated with BHT stabilizers unless they do not mind the seed cotton turning yellow.

cotton

Moisture Protection

Prior to the introduction of mechanized harvesting equipment, there was little need to store seed cotton prior to sending it for ginning. The manual harvesting process was simply not fast enough to keep up with the speed of cotton gins, so farmers could harvest and immediately transport their crop. Things have changed since those days. Now, seed cotton must be harvested and stored in modules until they are ready to be transported.

As with hay, one of the primary enemies of harvested seed cotton is moisture. Moisture decreases the value of the cotton by proportionally increasing the cost and time of ginning. If a cotton gin has to spend more time processing raw product, they will pay less for that product. Moisture also reduces the overall yield of the ginning process by causing discoloration.

A cotton farmer wanting to make the most of his harvest needs to keep moisture away. This means tarps should cover the tops of modules and at least a portion of the sides. Hay tarps are perfect for this task. They are available in a in a variety of sizes along with appropriate anchor pins to keep them in place.

Protection from Wind and Sun

Seed cotton has two additional enemies who are kinder to hay – wind and sun. As seed cotton is very light in its unprocessed form, it is subject to damage from the wind even when stored as modules. A moderate, steady breeze can gradually reduce the size of the module by blowing away the material on the exterior surface. Think about soil erosion as an example to this situation

Sun can be a problem for seed cotton by causing it to dry prematurely. In other words, some moisture content is required to prevent damage to seed cotton prior to ginning. Exposing a module to direct sunlight for an extended period of time does reduce the size of the yield by drying out the outer layers of cotton.

Applying Tarps

Applying a hay tarp to a cotton module is by no means a difficult task. It is applied the same way it would be used for hay. Perhaps the only difference is the fact that cotton modules are rarely stacked three and four high like hay, while they wait to be transported. Cotton modules are generally covered individually in the field or stacked side-by-side in a staging area.

Knowing this, the tarp should cover the entire top surface of the module stack and as much of the sides as possible. If the sides cannot be completely covered, the wind facing side takes priority and should be protected. Tarps can be secured with pins or with ropes tied around the perimeter of the module stack.

Protecting harvested crops is as important to a cotton farmer as is to a hay farmer. At Mytee Products, we encourage farmers choose and invest wisely in their hay tarps. The old adage that you ‘get what you pay for’ applies in most cases and heavy-duty tarps are no exception. For maximum yield and longevity, an investment in quality now will pay off over the long term.


Factors Benefiting the Trucking Industry

It is commonly understood by economists that the state of the trucking industry in America reflects the state of the overall economy. Why? Because 70% to 80% of the freight we move completes at least part of its journey by truck. Trucking is the most cost-effective way to move freight. Therefore, a robust trucking industry is a sign that the economy is doing well. In light of that, economists sometimes look at new truck orders in an attempt to forecast what things will look like in the coming year.

Some economists were concerned because new truck orders were off in January (2016). According to Bloomberg, year-on-year sales were down some 48% as compared to the previous year. It did however raise the question whether or not falling new truck orders are a key indicator of the trucking industry. We don’t think so, as there are a variety of reasons that help the trucking industry.

trucking-industry

Freight Volume Is More Important

The first thing to understand is that, freight volume is a much more reliable indicator than new truck sales. The more disposable income consumers have, the more money they spend on buying things. This results in higher inventory levels at distribution centers and warehouses and in turn increases the volume of freight being moved closer to the consumer.

Due to this fact, what we should consider is whether or not trucking companies are still moving the same volume year-on-year, combined with forecasts for economic growth. According to Bloomberg, economic expansion for 2016 should be slightly more than 2%. The trucking industry should be able to absorb such a modest amount of growth without substantial investments in new equipment.

As long as truckers are still moving the same volume of freight, the situation is fine. Falling new truck orders do not necessarily translate into lower volume any more than falling profits for diesel fuel makers.

Shifting Logistics

Another reason to be optimistic despite fewer new truck orders can be found in shifting logistics. We have noticed a trend beginning to emerge involving trucking companies and shippers relying more on regional distribution rather than coast-to-coast freight forwarding. Moving to a regional model reduces travel time between destinations, keeps truckers closer to home, and makes logistics more flexible in adapting to a quickly evolving on-demand marketplace.

What does all this mean to truck manufacturers? It means fewer orders. Trucking companies that rely more on a regional distribution model do not need to invest as much equipment on an annual basis. Equipment lasts longer under this model, and replacement schedules can be adjusted accordingly.

Constant Economic Cycles

The US economy is no different than any other major world economy undergoes similar economic cycles. Some economists concerned about falling new truck sales point to a 2014 surge that saw near record numbers of new trucks manufactured and sold. What they may have not accounted for are new equipment purchases made by companies emerging from the last recession. Those same companies might not be replacing equipment as aggressively.

The cyclical nature of any economy dictates that there are ebbs and flows in nearly every industry. Truck manufacturing is not unique in that sense. Economists who might be concerned need only look at the outlooks of each of the major manufacturers who supply the trucks both domestically and abroad. None of them are panicking, so there is no need to be concerned.

As an existing truck driver, the ordering of new trucks doesn’t mean more road time and translates to more higher wager. In fact, well planned logistics result in improved driving schedules and the ability to choose better route options, both, for the driver and the load being transported. That being said, if you are conscious of your trucking gear and truck tarps, a look through our complete inventory of flatbed truck tarps, truck tires, cargo control equipment, and other accessories you would need for the coming year and change in seasons.

Sources:

  • Bloomberg – http://www.bloomberg.com/gadfly/articles/2016-02-08/truckmakers-skid-doesn-t-mean-recession

On-Demand Economy Reshaping the Trucking Industry

An on-demand economy fueled by the sale of smartphones is changing literally every segment of our society. Traditional taxi and livery services are losing out to ride sharing companies while weary travelers can use their smartphones to do everything from ordering a meal to finding last-minute accommodations. Even doctors and nurses have embraced the on-demand economy by using mobile platforms to arrange house calls. So it should come as no surprise that, an on-demand economy is also reshaping the trucking industry. A great case in point being Amazon.

The Internet retailing giant recently began purchasing a fleet of branded trucks and trailers many believe will be just the starting point of a foray into logistics. For the time being, it appears as though the company is looking only to control its shipping rather than having to rely on companies like UPS and FedEx. But who knows? If Amazon is successfully able to handle their shipping and save money at the same time, they just might end up expanding into freight forwarding. But don’t worry, that would not be a bad thing.

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As the Wall Street Journal points out, there is still more than enough freight to go around – even with the entrance of Amazon into logistics. Some of the biggest names in trucking are already working at maximum capacity with still more freight to be accounted for. And like it or not, the on-demand economy is playing an important role in what we are observing.

Speed and the Logistics Sector

Just a decade ago, a veteran truck driver might pick up a flatbed trailer in California and drive its load of steel coil down to Texas. From there he might pick up a dry goods van loaded with imported consumer goods headed for Chicago. That truck driver would spend months at a time on the road without ever seeing home.

While the scenario we just described is still fairly common among long-haul truckers, the model is gradually being replaced by a new model focused more on regional, rather than national, distribution. Shippers and receivers are more content to operate a larger number of smaller distribution facilities in and around major metropolitan hubs in order to get goods from the warehouse to the customer more quickly. This is what Amazon is attempting to accomplish with its trucks and trailers.

In order to meet the needs of the on-demand economy, companies have to have an ample supply of goods on hand. They also have to be close enough to their customers to get those goods delivered in a timely manner. The only way this is possible is by embracing more regional and local distribution.

Truckers Will Keep on Trucking

There are those in the logistics industry who do not see the on-demand economy’s influence as being a good thing. But it actually is. Despite the changes – and we know that change is difficult to embrace – America’s truckers will keep on trucking for decades to come. The big difference will be one of time and distance.

The Wall Street Journal also points out that logistics companies are already looking at charging by the day rather than the mile to account for the needs of the on-demand economy. They are looking at quicker deliveries and shorter routes that have truck drivers home more frequently. It is all about finding the model that works best at keeping wholesale distributors happy so that they, in turn, can keep their customers happy. In the end, there is no need to fear Amazon trucks. They are a positive addition to the logistics industry.

Sources:

  • Wall Street Journal – http://www.wsj.com/articles/trucking-companies-confront-amazon-threat-1453842572