How to Not Abuse Your Roll Tarps

The arrival of spring brings with it increased road construction. And with that increased construction comes more dump trucks filled with gravel, dirt, broken concrete, and fresh asphalt. Truck drivers will be relying on their roll tarps to keep the loads in place during transit. Used properly, a roll tarp can provide years of reliable service.

A brief, three-paragraph article recently published by the ForConstructionPros.com website suggests that normal wear and tear is not the biggest enemy of roll tarps. Abuse is. It is an interesting perspective that certainly bears further investigation. Of particular interest is what constitutes abuse. Figure that out and it is only a short step to understanding how to not abuse roll tarps.

Watch Out for Those Loaders

One of the first points made in the article is that roll tarps can suffer damage at the hands of loader operators. There were two things associated with this point, the first being that loaders sometimes dump debris directly on tarping systems. This is an obvious no-no. The other point was that loaders sometimes make contact with roll tarps, rails, etc.

The idea here is that it is the responsibility of both truck drivers and loader operators to pay attention. No tarping system is going to survive constant impact with loaders. Tarps will rip prematurely if loaders are dumping debris on them.

Deploy Against the Wind

Anyone who has ever attempted to deploy a roll tarp knows that wind is the enemy. The ideal way to do it is to turn the truck so that the cab is facing into the wind. That way, the wind is technically behind the tarp as it starts to unroll. Do it in the other direction and the wind will catch the tarp like a sail. If it is strong enough, it can rip the entire system apart.

Deploying a roll tarp against a cross wind is only marginally better. Any wind allowed to get up underneath the tarp is bad news. So again, point the truck into the wind before deployment begins.

Keep the Tarp Taught

The third point of the article is the suggestion to keep roll tarps taught at all times. We assume this is in reference only to when they are actually deployed. When not deployed a roll tarp is obviously rolled up.

Why keep the tarp taught? For starters, that prevents it from being caught by the wind and ripped away. Keeping it taught also reduces the stress on the tarp in transit. Less stress means the tarp will last longer. If you do not make a point to keep it taught, you may be actually encouraging the tarp to wear out faster.

As an added bonus, keeping the tarp taught and rolled up when not in use improves fuel mileage. You can also improve fuel mileage by deploying the tarp over an empty dump. Just keeping the flow across the top of the truck could extend fuel mileage by as much as 10%, according to the article.

Buy Replacement Tarps Here

We present this information about not abusing roll tarps for educational purposes only. We suspect you know how to best care for your tarps better than anyone else. At any rate, even the best cared for tarps will eventually wear out. No worries, though. Mytee Products has you covered.

Everything you need for your roll tarp system is available here on our site. Feel free to browse our complete inventory in advance of your next purchase. And as always, do not be afraid to ask for something you don’t see listed here.

 


Top 4 Reasons to Buy Cargo Control Equipment Online

When Mytee Products first began operating more than 30 years ago, online shopping wasn’t a thing. Yes, there were small numbers of retailers forward thinking enough to offer their products online, but the vast majority of retail still took place in local stores and shops. How things have changed.

Today there is virtually nothing you cannot buy online. Even the most obscure products have an online home. As a truck driver, you can get your cargo control equipment directly through our website.

We welcome those truckers who stop in and see us at our Aurora, Ohio facility. If you are ever in town, we invite you to stop in yourself. Meanwhile, there are some particularly good reasons to buy what you need online. Here are just four of them.

1. Online Shopping is Convenient

We would wager that the number one reason people shop online is convenience. Without our e-store, you would have to plan to make a trip to visit our warehouse whenever you needed new tarps, winch straps, etc. That is not a bad deal if you are a planner who normally thinks ahead. It doesn’t work well in emergencies, though.

Online shopping lets you buy the products you need whenever you have the time to shop for them. Turn on the computer and shop just before you bed down for the night. Shop for those new tarps while you are having lunch at the diner. Shopping online is shopping on your schedule.

cargoonline

2. Buying is Immediate

Hand-in-hand with convenience is the ability to purchase immediately. Let’s say you’re unloading and you discover that one of your tarps has a hole in it. In the old days, you would have to wait until you could stop by the store to purchase a replacement or a tarp repair kit. But who knows? You might forget before you ever reach the store.

Online shopping lets you purchase that tarp or repair kit the minute you know you have the need. Buy it right away and there is no chance you will forget it.

3. More Time to Browse

For our money, one of the unsung heroes of online shopping is the person willing to spend a couple of hours just browsing. At the end of the day, the retail world is highly competitive. Even in cargo control, you’re going to find a wide range of prices from one supplier to the next. The wise shopper shops around rather than just buying the first thing that pops up.

Shopping online affords you the opportunity to browse at your own pace. If you’ve a couple of hours to kill at the end of the day, you can pull out your laptop or mobile device and browse for all of the supplies you know you’re going to need in the next several months. Take your time and look around. You aren’t going anywhere anyway.

4. Opportunities to Read Reviews

Finally, shopping online gives you access to customer reviews. You don’t get these kinds of reviews when you’re standing at a retail counter talking to a sales associate. Of course that associate is going to tell you that his products are great. Wouldn’t you rather hear it from a customer who has already purchased those products? That’s what customer reviews are for.

We love the fact that people can purchase Mytee Products online. We still invite you to visit us in Ohio, but we understand that it’s not possible for most of our customers. So just pop online, browse our inventory, and purchase exactly what you need from the comfort of your own truck.


Winch Winders: 5 Tips for Maximum Efficiency

Sometimes the brilliance of a particular tool lies in its simplicity. Oftentimes the most efficient tools are those with the simplest design and just a few moving parts. That certainly is the case with the humble winch winder. As a tool for truckers, the winch winder is brilliant in its simplicity and efficient in its design.

As you probably know, winches are fixed to flatbed trailers for the purposes of holding and winding webbing straps. When you use them, you don’t have to use ratchet straps or chains to secure cargo. You simply run the straps through the winch and wind them in place. When it is time to secure a load, straps can be stretched over the top and secured on the other side. Post-delivery, the straps are wound up and secured again.

 

If you are new to the whole winch winder concept, here are five handy tips that should increase your efficiency:

1. Apply a Bit of Tension

You will get a tighter wind and less crimping if you put a bit of tension on the strap as you’re winding. If you are using a two-handed winch winder, apply the tension with your foot. You could also put a wood block on the ground and run the strap underneath it. The block should be just heavy enough to do the trick but not so heavy as to prevent you from winding.

2.Consider a One-Handed Winder

If using your foot or a block doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can opt for a one-handed winder instead. This particular kind of winder is really just a smaller handle that can be cranked with a single hand while you apply tension with the other.

3. Mount According to Favored Hand

This next tip is one that truck drivers normally don’t think of until after they’ve installed their winches. Here it is: install each unit according to your favored hand. If you are right-handed, install your units with the handle to the right side (as you face it). That means the handles will point to the rear of the trailer on the driver’s side but toward the front on the passenger side.

If you are left-handed, install them in reverse. Make sure the handle is on the left side while facing it. Why do this? Because if the handles are on the opposite side, you will either have to use your non-favored hand to wind or you’ll have to turn sideways to use your favored hand. Neither option is all that efficient.

4. Install Every Foot or So

Next, we recommend installing a winch unit every 12 to 18 inches. Although this may seem like overkill, you know that the size and position of your loads is never the same from one trip to the next. If you do not have enough winches in place, you may find that you’re back to using ratchet straps because certain loads don’t line up with your winches.

5. Maintain Your Equipment

Last but not least, treat your winches and winch winders like every other piece of equipment you have. Maintain them by regularly checking for any kind of damage. Oil them periodically and, should one eventually rust, brush it off and seal it to prevent further rust.

Winch winders are a simple but ingenious invention that makes using webbing straps as easy as can be. With the right number of winches on both sides of the trailer, you will be ready for just about any load. Strap down your cargo with confidence and then, following delivery, quickly wind your straps and get back on the road.


What To Do When You Don’t Have a Winch Winder

We at Mytee Products believe that winch winders are simple but ingenious tools. Winch winders certainly qualify as those little things that make truck drivers jobs easier. It could also be coincidence that they are a popular product with our experienced truck drivers.

A winch winder is essentially a tool you attach to your winches in order to wind up straps post-delivery. It makes strap winding so easy that you can get a strap wound up and secured in under a minute. If you are not using a winch winder, then what? What are your other options?

A Winch Bar?

Let’s assume you use a standard winch bar to tighten down your straps when securing cargo. Winch bars are pretty common. You could, at least in theory, use that same bar to wind your straps back up again. But that would take forever and a day. Not only that, your arms would be pretty tired by the time you get finished. Even a ratcheting winch bar is not all that great for winding straps.

A winch bar is a good tool for tightening straps over the top of cargo. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to get straps tight enough without a winch bar. But it’s not the right tool for winding straps no longer in use. A winch bar is just too inefficient for this sort of thing.

Winding by Hand?

Your second option is to wind the straps by hand. You place your hand over the reel and rotate it while you guide the strap with the other hand. This gets old really fast. A lot of drivers will only do this for so long before grabbing a screwdriver and sticking it through the pinhole in the winch axle. The screwdriver solution certainly works, but it’s not a whole lot better than using a winch bar.

Detaching and Rolling?

There are some truck drivers who don’t like to leave their straps attached to winches when not in use. They prefer to detach the straps, roll them up, and store them in their toolboxes. This is obviously an option if you don’t want to leave your straps exposed to the weather and driving conditions. But once again, it is terribly inefficient.

Detaching straps and rolling them manually takes time you just don’t have. Furthermore, there’s no need to worry about the straps being exposed to weather and the elements. They will do just fine. You are still better off keeping your straps attached to your winches and winding them up when not in use.

Ratchet Straps Instead?

Lastly, there are some truck drivers who do not use winches on their trailers at all. Instead, they use ratchet straps run through the rails. Yes, it works. No, it is not the best option. This sort of arrangement requires a lot more manual labor than you really want to expend on cargo control. It’s a good option only if your flatbed work is limited and you’re not using a trailer for which you have permission to install winches.

At the end of the day the winch is still the most efficient way to use webbing straps as a way to control cargo. And as long as you’re using winches, you might as well wind your straps and store them in place. A winch winder makes winding a snap. Just attach the handle, crank it for a minute, and you’re all done. You can wind all of your straps in less time than it takes to get a cup of coffee.


How Much Time Can You Really Save with a Winch Winder

We recently began carrying two kinds of winch winders designed to make it easier for flatbed truckers to use webbing straps. These handy little devices wind up your straps right in place. There is no manual rolling or toolbox storage necessary. With a winch winder, you are spending less time taking care of straps and more time driving.

So, how much time can you really save with a winch winder? It may not seem like much in the moment, but it is quite a bit when you add it up over an entire year. Remember that every minute you spend doing something other than driving, you are not making money. So keeping your wheels turning is critical to your livelihood.

winch winder

Save Hours Every Year

You can visit our YouTube channel and see both of our winch winders in action. You’ll see that it’s easy to wind up a strap in under a minute. But for easy math, let’s just say it took you one minute per strap and you’re using four straps to secure a load.

It would take you a total of 4 minutes to wind and secure all your straps. Now what if you were rolling those straps manually? We will be generous and say it takes you 3 minutes to tightly wind each strap for storage. Now you’re looking at a total of 12 minutes as opposed to just 4 with a winch winder.

A total of 8 minutes difference doesn’t seem like much. But if you saved that amount of time every single week for 50 weeks (you are on vacation for two), you would be saving 600 minutes annually. That works out to 10 hours. You save a full day of additional driving every year. How much is that worth to you?

Winch Winding Is More Efficient

We bet you’ve probably never stopped to think about how long it takes to manually roll straps and store them away. Likewise, you’ve probably never considered how much time winch winders can save you over the course of a year. In the end though, it really boils down to efficiency.

Winding a strap in place is far more efficient than pulling it off the truck, stretching it on the ground, and manually rolling it up. The efficiency comes by way of eliminating several steps. For starters, you are not actually removing the strap from the truck. It remains attached to the winder throughout.

Second, you’re not having to stretch out the strap along the ground in order to manually roll it. And third, you’re not carrying the straps to your toolbox for storage. Everything occurs in place for the most efficient storage option of all.

It All Adds Up

Again, we understand you probably don’t think a couple of minutes per strap is all that important in the grand scheme of things. And maybe it’s not. Perhaps you don’t haul enough flatbed loads to warrant, at least in your mind, investing in winch winders. But consider this: it’s all of those little things that add up.

Truck drivers do a lot of things that have nothing to do with driving. There’s the pre-trip inspection, checking manifests, planning routes; and on and on it goes. All of those extra things add up to a lot of time the driver isn’t earning any money.

The point of installing winch winders is not to save you $1 million on strap storage. It is to reduce the time spent doing one of those mundane tasks for which you don’t earn any money. And the end, every little bit helps.