Tips for Hauling Sensitive Industrial Machinery

As a flatbed trucker, have you ever had the experience of hauling sensitive industrial machinery that the shipper expects to arrive with nary a scratch? If so, you know how challenging this can be. Road vibration can be an absolute killer when it comes to industrial machinery. Just a little vibration can do a lot of damage, even if you are not going thousands of miles.

To say that hauling industrial machinery is more than just tying it down with bungee straps is to state the obvious. These kinds of loads require a little TLC along with a basic understanding of how road vibrations affect different kinds of cargo. It can take years to learn all the tricks of the trade for protecting sensitive machinery.

If you are new to the flatbed industry, don’t be afraid to take sensitive industrial machinery loads. Consider such loads a challenge. Then do what you can to learn how to transport them safely, including heeding the tips explained below.

Prepare Machinery Properly

The first step in hauling sensitive industrial machinery is to prepare the cargo for loading. The good news is that shippers often take care of this stuff themselves. It is fairly common for truckers to arrive at the yard and find machines already wrapped in cardboard and plastic, and secured to pallets. If that is not the case, the driver should insist that the shipper prepare the machines properly.

Loading and Positioning

Once the loading process begins, the truck driver is in control. The driver is ultimately responsible for the cargo from the moment it touches his/her trailer to the moment it is taken off, so make the effort to protect yourself by taking the lead in the loading process. The idea is to guarantee machinery is loaded in a way that allows you to protect it through your cargo control procedures.

The general rule for sensitive industrial machinery is to keep individual pieces from making direct contact with one another, if possible. Keep them as far apart as you can. If the number of pieces being loaded dictates that they have to be placed relatively close to one another, you’ll have to use your best judgment.

Edge Protectors, Blankets, and Tie-Downs

This next part of the process is the most critical of all. After machinery has been put into position, it’s now up to you to eliminate all risk of damage. You should immediately begin thinking about corner and edge protectors. Wherever you can place one, you should. Use corner and edge protectors to prevent direct contact among multiple pieces of machinery. You also want to prevent contact between machinery and your tie-downs and tarps.

If need be, you may want to throw moving blankets over the top of the machinery and into empty spaces. Then securely tighten everything down with ratchet straps. There should be something between every strap and the machinery it secures, whether that be an edge protector or blanket.

Keep Tarps Taught

Our last tip is to keep your tarps taught throughout the entire journey. There is nothing more frustrating than going to great lengths to protect sensitive machinery only to find that a tarp left flapping in the wind caused some damage.

The trucker’s best friend for this job is the bungee strap. Tarps can be secured to the bed of the trailer using bungee straps at every grommet. The driver can then use bungee rope or a series of straps connected to go around the perimeter of the cargo. Securing the perimeter at the top and bottom will keep tarps tight and in place.

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5 Questions to Ask Before Buying Tarps

In just a few short weeks, we at Mytee Products will begin seeing an influx of truck drivers coming in to stock up on tarps in preparation for the winter. Many of our customers have been driving trucks long enough to know exactly what they need. Others, might not be so sure of what they need to buy – especially if this is their first winter on the road.

We believe the best way to assemble a collection of tarps is to ask the five questions posed below. These questions help truck drivers better understand what they need, covering everything from standard steel to canvas tarps.

1. How do different tarps vary?

We carry a range of vinyl and canvas tarps in different shapes and sizes. We don’t do so simply because we like variety. It turns out that each kind of tarp has its own unique purpose. As for vinyl and canvas, the two materials have their strengths and weaknesses.

New drivers should do a little research to learn about coil, steel, lumber, smoke, and machinery tarps. They should also educate themselves on the difference between vinyl and canvas. Once a driver knows all the differences, he or she can evaluate what is necessary to get through winter.

2. Which tarps best suit my needs?

Driver needs are as varying as the loads they carry. A driver who earns most of his or her living carrying loads of steel coil will probably invest mainly in those two kinds of tarps. Another driver who concentrates mainly on lumber will invest heavily in lumber tarps. Most drivers don’t have the luxury of focusing on a particular type of cargo, though. Therefore, they have to carry a selection of different tarps on board.

3. How will a particular tarp perform?

There is always the question of how a particular tarp might perform if used to cover cargo for which it was not originally intended. For example, consider a driver who focuses mainly on lumber. If he were to accept one or two machinery loads every year, would those lumber tarps in the toolbox still perform well? The idea here is that while a variety of tarps are usually recommended, a driver does not need to invest unnecessarily if some of the tarps in the box can be multi-functional.

4. What sizes do I need?

Truck tarps come in a variety of sizes to accommodate different loads. We know drivers who purchase only the smallest tarps because these are the easiest to use. They would rather deploy multiple smaller tarps then wrestle with bigger ones. But that’s all driver preference. If you want to invest in tarps of multiple sizes, purchase an equal number of all.

5. Do I know how to care for tarps?

Last but not least is the pesky question of caring for truck tarps. Although truck tarps are generally not high maintenance items, they do require a certain amount and type of care if a trucker wants to get maximum life out of each purchase. It should be noted that caring for canvas tarps is different than caring for vinyl tarps. There are also different ways to repair tarps depending on the material used.

Autumn is the season when we see a lot of truck drivers stocking up on their tarps ahead of winter. If you need to bolster your inventory, Mytee Products has everything you need. From vinyl steel tarps to heavy duty canvas tarps, you will find everything you need to complete your inventory here. Feel free to order online or, if you’re ever in the neighborhood, visit our Ohio warehouse.


Interesting Things You Might Not Know about Ratchet Straps

Ratchet straps are very familiar to flatbed truck drivers who use them to tie down everything from steel coil to landscaping products. You might even make the case that ratchet straps are among the most important cargo control tools a trucker can have on board. But there is a lot to know about these straps, how they are made, how they are rated, and so on.

As a leading provider of cargo control supplies for truck drivers, we thought it might be interesting to help our customers test their knowledge of ratchet straps. Below is a selection of interesting things you may or may not know about these incredibly useful tools.

The Differences in Webbing Material

The polyester material from which ratchet straps are made is known in the industry as webbing. If you are even remotely observational, you have probably noticed that the webbing of a ratchet strap is fairly similar to the webbing used to make seat belts. You may have even noticed that webbing material is used in the manufacture of tarps, tents, backpacks, etc. But did you know that not all webbing is equal in terms of strength?

Polyester seat belt webbing is nearly identical to polyester ratchet strap webbing in terms of the material used. The main difference between the two is the strength of the webbing. Seat belt webbing is considerably thinner than its ratchet strap counterpart, and its tensile strength is much lower as well. Remember that a seat belt only has to stop a few hundred pounds, at most, moving in a single direction. Ratchet straps have to hold thousands of pounds in place by preventing cargo from moving in multiple directions.

Webbing’s Environmental Resilience

Webbing is the material of choice for all sorts of things because of its resilience. It holds up very well to an extensive list environmental conditions that would damage other materials. For example, it resists mildew and mold because it also resists moisture. Webbing does not shrink, it stands up to direct sunlight, and it is not affected by a number of acids found in industrial environments.

Not All Webbing Is Polyester

While polyester is one of the more common materials for making webbing fabric, it is not the only material. Webbing can be made of polypropylene, nylon, and even high-strength materials like Kevlar and Dyneema. Each of these materials has specific properties manufacturers are looking for when they create new webbing products.

Polyester is usually sufficient for typical cargo control applications within the flatbed trucking industry. But where extremely high tensile strength ratings are required, truckers might choose a more expensive product.

Webbing Construction Methods

Finally, the webbing material used to make ratchet straps can be constructed based on one of two weaves. The first is the solid weave. Solid weave is not the preferred process for ratchet straps because it is not as strong as the other process, known as tubular weave.

A webbing material constructed with the tubular weave utilizes flattened tubes of fibers instead of individual fibers in the weave. Using flattened tubes provides extra strength and shock absorption. Tubular weave webbing material is a bit more expensive, but you do get what you pay for when it comes to ratchet straps.

Yes, the trusted ratchet strap is one of the more important tools that flatbed truckers keep in their toolboxes. Ratchet straps are one of the keys to successful cargo control that is still efficient at the same time. Without ratchet straps, truckers would be left to secure their cargo with chains, ropes, and inadequate bungee straps.


Toolboxes: 5 Reasons Newbies Shouldn’t Leave Home Without One

Aluminum toolboxes are just one of the many items we carry to accommodate flatbed truckers. It is interesting to hear the stories every time a newbie comes in looking for that first toolbox that should have been purchased weeks or months ago. Unfortunately, some newbies just do not understand how important toolboxes are until something happens.

Drive down any U.S. interstate and you will see flatbed rigs with all kinds of toolboxes. Some drivers mount step boxes on the sides of their cabs while others prefer the larger, rectangular boxes mounted to the back of the cab or directly on the trailer itself. The type of toolbox a driver prefers is not as important as the fact that he has one. A lot of truckers have more than one.

If you are new to flatbed trucking, there are plenty of reasons to never leave home without at least one toolbox affixed to your rig. Five such reasons are listed below.

1. Something Is Bound to Break

When you put in as many miles as a professional trucker, you are guaranteed that something will break at some point. It could be as serious as a brake line or as minor as a mirror mount. The point is that the driver is his or her own best mechanic for keeping a truck on the road in emergency situations. But fixing your rig requires a toolbox with the right tools and supplies.

2. Mechanics Are Expensive

Minor repairs that can be accomplished on the road can save a trucker a tremendous amount of money. On the other hand, mechanics are expensive. Why spend a ton of money paying a professional to replace a hose when you can easily do it yourself? Of course, this is assuming you have spare hoses in your toolbox.

3. Waiting for Mechanics Wastes Time

A lot of the newbies that come in for their first toolboxes talk about having to wait hours for a mechanic to rescue them. This is not good. Truck drivers are paid by the mile, not the hour. Waiting on a mechanic is like flushing money down the toilet. Time spent waiting is time not spent driving.

4. Tools Are Dangerous in the Cab

Another rookie mistake is storing tools right in the cab. This is a dangerous practice that should be avoided. Why? Because anything stored in the cab can easily become a projectile in the event of a crash. More than one driver has sustained serious injuries from in-cab projectiles, when he or she would otherwise have walked away unscathed.

5. Toolboxes Protect Cargo Control Supplies

Even if a flatbed trucker has no interest in carrying things like wrenches, duct tape, and extra bulbs, aluminum toolboxes are rather useful for protecting cargo control supplies. In fact, that’s why veteran flatbed truckers have multiple toolboxes. Some of their toolbox space is reserved for things like tarps, straps, ratchets, and edge protectors. You can never have too much storage space if you are flatbed trucker.

It is hard to argue how valuable aluminum toolboxes are to flatbed truckers. They are so valuable that we wouldn’t think of serving truckers with an inventory that didn’t include them. We currently offer several different toolboxes in assorted styles and sizes to accommodate any need.

Once you buy your first toolbox, do some online research into what you should carry. Trucker forums are a great source of information. Veteran truckers would be happy to share years of knowledge with you. Remember, a well-stocked toolbox is your friend on the road. Do not leave home without one.


What Can Happen When You Don’t Use Corner and Edge Protectors

Some of the products Mytee Products sells are universal among flatbed truck drivers. Tarps are a great example. There are other products that some drivers would rather work without. Corner and edge protectors would be among them. For some reason, there are flatbed drivers who do not want to invest in these rather inexpensive devices that could mean the difference between getting a load to its destination safely and having to explain to the shipper why damage occurred in transit.

You will find that we consistently recommend corner and edge protectors to every flatbed truck who asks. We have a variety of corner and edge protector products in assorted sizes and materials. Most importantly, all of them are comparatively inexpensive. When you understand what these little devices can save you from, investing in them is well worth every penny.

Not convinced? Then consider what can happen when you do not use corner and edge protectors:

You Rip Your Tarps

Even the most innocuous looking cargo can be deadly to your tarps. All it takes is one semi-sharp edge and a good breeze to put a hole in a brand-new tarp you just invested hundreds of dollars in. On the other hand, you could have invested in 4-inch corner protectors for as little as $0.99 each.

The fact is that corner and edge protectors save tarps. Even if you were not interested in protecting your cargo – and that is something we do not recommend – you should at least be concerned about your tarps. You invested in them; why would you not protect them?

You Damage Your Cargo

Obviously, the other side of the coin is damaging your cargo. Corner and edge protectors prevent different pieces of cargo from coming into direct contact with each other. They prevent tarps and straps from rubbing on cargo surfaces as well. For especially sensitive cargo, contact with any other surface can be harmful.

If you ever wondered why some shippers and receivers mandate the use of edge and corner protectors, this is the reason. A lot of damage can be done over just a few hundred miles at 65 mph – damage that could otherwise be prevented simply by using plastic, leather, or metal edge protectors.

You Find Yourself Improvising

In relation to the previous point, you may find yourself improvising if you don’t have corner and edge protectors that a shipper is demanding. Of course, you’re not going to turn down a load if you can improvise. But what do you have to work with?

You might find yourself ripping apart a couple of cardboard boxes in a pinch. We’ve known drivers who have used pieces of PVC pipe, ripped up T-shirts, foam coffee cups, spare work gloves, sneakers, and a whole host of other stand-ins. Such resourcefulness is okay in rare emergency situations, but you’ll never make it as a career trucker if you’re always having to keep shippers happy by improvising on corner and edge protectors.

Shippers and receivers love drivers who are prepared for any kind of load. They want to see rugged edge and corner protectors designed specifically for the job at hand. They do not want to see drivers improvising just because they don’t want to invest in the right equipment.

As a flatbed trucker, it is your responsibility to protect cargo from start to finish. It is smart to protect your own investment in tarps and straps. So do yourself and your customers a favor and purchase a collection of corner and edge protectors. We have never known a driver to regret doing so.