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Vinyl Cement Is Not Your Typical Contact Cement

Flatbed truck drivers routinely have to repair torn and otherwise damaged tarps. It is part of the job. Here at Mytee Products, we sell both tarp repair kits and individual containers of vinyl cement. We believe it is important that truckers understand the difference between vinyl cement and typical contact cement. While contact cement can be used to make tarp repairs on a short-term basis, it is not recommended for permanent repairs. Suffice it to say that contact and vinyl cement are not the same things.

Vinyl Cement

Contact cement is a kind of adhesive that bonds two surfaces together after they have been coated with the cement. You apply the cement with a brush or roller, give it time to dry according to the specifications on the container, and then press the two surfaces together. The molecules in the cement bond rather quickly and almost permanently.

Differences Between the Two Types of Cement

Your typical contact cement, also known as the contact adhesive, is made either with natural rubber or polychloroprene. Both substances are elastomers that can be used to bond a lot of different surfaces including laminates, rubbers, and even fabrics. At a pinch, they can also be used to bond vinyl as well. However, repairing truck tarps with standard contact cement is not recommended.

The chemicals in vinyl are known to break down the elastomers in typical contact cement. A trucker may repair his or her tarps using contact cement only to find after just a few months that the repairs don’t hold. This is because the cement has been compromised by the chemicals leaching out of the vinyl.

Vinyl cement is a waterproof, solvent-synthetic resin that is unaffected by the chemicals in vinyl. In addition, it is highly resistant to a long list of chemicals found in the manufacturing and industrial environments. When a truck driver repairs his/her tarps with vinyl cement, he/she can be confident that the repairs will likely be permanent.

Vinyl Cement for Strong, Lasting Repairs

It can be hard to find vinyl cement at your local home improvement or hardware store. This is one of the reasons Mytee Products sells one-gallon containers. We know our customers don’t want to be caught on the road with damaged tarps and no means to repair them. And as we mentioned above, drivers should avoid using contact cement to repair tarps.

As explained previously, the chemicals in vinyl breakdown contact cement. But there’s another thing to consider: even when contact cement is fresh, it does not provide the same level of strength you get from vinyl cement. In other words, vinyl cement is so strong that it can be used on tensioned structures including tents, domes, and awnings. It will hold up just fine with truck tarps even at highway speeds. The same cannot always be said about generic contact cement.

As a truck driver, you invest a lot of money in the flatbed truck tarps that keep your cargo safe. You want repairs that are strong and long-lasting so that you are not constantly putting money into new tarps that could just as easily be repaired. For strong, long-lasting repairs, you need vinyl cement.

A tarp that is completely separated into two or more pieces will likely have to be sewn back together along with using vinyl cement. Also bear in mind that attempting to repair a truck tarp without cleaning it first may compromise the integrity of your vinyl cement considerably. When repairing tarps, always follow the instructions on your repair kit or the container of cement.


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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5 Things to Have on Hand for Winter Flatbed Driving

Severe winter weather is just weeks away in parts of the country where storms can begin in late November and last all the way through March. In the past, we have written blog posts detailing safe winter driving tips and how to apply tarps and other cargo control components in winter weather. In this post, we want to focus on some of the equipment drivers should have on hand if they are planning to haul flatbeds over the next several months.

Obviously, tire chains and a good selection of high-quality flatbed truck tarps are prerequisites for winter weather. Departing without them wouldn’t be a good idea. But what else does a trucker need? Are there any other pieces of equipment truckers should be considering about above and beyond  tarps, ratchet straps and bungee cords? Absolutely.

winter-tarping

 

Here are five things you should have on hand for winter flatbed driving:

1. A Heavy-Duty Tool Box

No flatbed trucker should ever think about hitting the road without a solid, heavy-duty toolbox on board. During the winter, it’s worth carrying the extra weight to have a second tool box. The tool box is the prime storage area for everything from tarps to bungee straps to those extra hand tools that might be necessary to keep a truck going in bad weather.

We obviously recommend aluminum as the construction material of choice. Aluminum is lightweight on one hand, durable on the other. If you have room on your truck, two tool boxes would be ideal for winter driving. You can never have too much storage for all the extra gear you need for the season.

2. Work Lights

With the onset of winter is less daylight to work with. As such, flatbed truckers may find themselves loading or unloading in the dark. A good collection of work lights is indispensable. Work lights come in different sizes and shapes; they can be permanently affixed to a truck or moved around and used as needed.

3. Trailer Stabilizer Dolly

The presence of snow and ice in freight yards can make parking and stabilizing a trailer a bit tricky. If you have room in your toolbox, a good tool to have on hand during the winter is a trailer stabilizer dolly. This handy piece of equipment makes it possible to add extra support underneath a trailer to keep it stable on uneven ground. This isn’t something to leave behind, though.

4. Air Brake Tubing

Cold temperatures can wreak havoc on air brake hose when temperatures get really low. More than one trucker has found cracked tubing that renders air brakes useless. Therefore, it goes without saying that the flatbed trucker needs a healthy supply of air brake tubing in the toolbox at all times, more so in the winter. You never know when an emergency brake repair going to be necessary.

5. Beacon Lights

The relatively low profile of flatbed trailers makes them harder to see in inclement weather. Every flatbed trucker should have a supply of beacon lights to increase visibility. A couple of lights mounted in strategic positions could be the key to keeping you safe on the road.

Winter is coming and with it a long list of extra challenges for flatbed drivers. Here at Mytee Products, we have everything you need to keep your cargo safe and secure in all kinds of weather. From truck tarps to chains to beacon lights and reflective tape, you can find everything you need quickly by browsing our online store. We make shopping for your truck driving supplies easy and convenient.


How to Choose the Right Class of Beacon Lights for Flatbeds

Beacon lights are tools flatbed truck drivers can use to warn other drivers of potentially hazardous conditions. They are required for certain kinds of loads, such as oversize loads, for example, but drivers can use them to indicate any number of hazards. The type and number of beacon lights a driver chooses depends on the load being carried and the amount of danger it represents.

Manufacturers make beacon lights in three classes which are discussed below. Most modern products are made with LED bulbs to maximize both efficiency and illumination. If you are in need of beacon lights, Mytee Products carries an excellent selection for you to choose from.

 

beacon_lights

Class 1 – The Strongest and Brightest

Class 1 beacon lights are the strongest and brightest of all three classes. These are the lights typically found on police cars, ambulances, fire trucks, and so forth. Think of class 1 beacons as warning lights for the most hazardous situations. They are up to four times brighter than class 2 lights.

For flatbed truck drivers, class 1 beacons would be the ideal solution for extremely oversized or hazardous loads. At least one would be mounted on the tractor; two or more would be mounted on the trailer or the cargo itself. And, of course, any escort vehicles traveling with the tractor-trailer would be equipped with class 1 beacon lights as well.

Class 2 – Medium-Range Lighting

A typical class 2 beacon light is about twice as bright as a class 3 product. These lights are used for warning traffic at an intermediate range that potential hazards are present. They are the light most normally seen in road construction settings. They can be solid, rotating, or strobes.

Class 2 beacon lights in a trucking scenario would be used for hazardous loads that don’t necessarily qualify as being oversized. The driver wants to alert the public of the potential hazard, but other drivers do not necessarily have to be cognizant of the size of the load. Class 2 beacons are very helpful for timber loads, especially when driving in limited visibility.

Class 3 – Light Duty Beacons

Class 3 beacon lights are considered the light duty beacons for warning purposes. They are the least bright and normally not used by flatbed truckers for anything other than increasing visibility during inclement weather. More often than not, class 3 beacons are the domain of forklift trucks and small industrial vehicles. However, yard tractors may be fitted with them to increase safety in the freight yard.

Mounting Choices for Beacon Lights

Flatbed truckers who routinely haul oversize or hazardous loads will probably want to mount permanent beacon lights on their tractors. One or two on the roof and perhaps an additional light on the front bumper would be appropriate. Permanently mounted lights are not suitable for trailers due to load variations.

Here at Mytee Products, we carry beacon lights with magnetic mounting systems. These are designed to be temporary. They are ideal for the trucker who only hauls oversize and hazardous loads occasionally; they are also ideal for trailers because their location can be determined by the load.

If you haul hazardous or oversize loads, you should have at least a basic supply of beacon lights in your toolbox. We recommend a combination of strobes and steady-on lights to accommodate different needs. Note that some of our lights feature dozens of flash patterns that can be customized for purpose. And remember, beacon lights are about safety. Do not settle for inferior quality products that may not hold up.

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