More from: ratchet straps

A Reminder about Those Ratchet Straps

The holiday season that time of year when truck drivers are under more pressure than they deal with the rest of the year. As such, there might be instances when attention to cargo control equipment is not as it should be. We strongly encourage our customers to prevent such instances from taking place in their cargo control routine. Being diligent about cargo control this time of year as you are any other time always pays off.

A recent accident in Minnesota underscores what we are referring to in this blog post. In early November, a woman driving on I-494 in Maple Grove found her car struck by a piece of metal that broke loose from a nearby truck. The piece of metal bounced off the pavement and went through the windshield of her vehicle.

Fortunately, the woman walked away with just a few minor cuts. Things could have been worse. As for the truck from which the metal piece dislodged, it has not been located. That did not stop the Minnesota State Patrol from using social media to post a reminder to drivers to make sure any non-contained cargo is properly secured during transport. The post specifically mentioned using toe or ratchet straps. Whether intended or not, the post speaks directly to truck drivers.

No Room for Error

Without locating the truck involved in this accident, there is no way to know what went wrong. What we do know is that there is no room for error when tying down cargo. Any non-contained cargo can pose a danger to other drivers if not properly secured. This is why every state includes specific legislation in its motor vehicle code requiring drivers to secure their cargo and fully control it throughout transport.

Where ratchet straps are concerned, the two biggest issues are related to working load limits and operational conditions. Both are things that should never be neglected by truck drivers.

Beginning with working load limits (WLLs), every ratchet strap should have its WLL printed on it. This number tells the truck driver how many tie-downs are needed based on the total weight of the load. Having said that, there are some important things to understand:

• If the WLL of a ratchet strap is either missing or illegible, the law requires assuming the lowest possible rating. If a driver assumes a higher rating which is then observed during a roadside inspection, the driver could be cited for a violation.
• Even if WLLs are clearly displayed on ratchet straps, drivers can still be cited if they don’t use enough tie-downs to accommodate the total weight of their loads.

The other area of concern is operational condition. In other words, a driver should never use ratchet straps that are frayed or demonstrate excessive wear and tear. Inspectors can downgrade a strap to zero if they observe any such issues that they believe compromise the integrity of the strap.

In short, truck drivers are required to use ratchet straps that are in good operational condition and appropriate to the load being transported. Drivers have to pay attention to working load limits, the operational condition of their ratchet straps, and the methods used to tie down cargo.

Make the Holidays Safe

The holiday season is supposed to be one of good cheer and happy times. Do your part to make the 2017 season safe by not slacking off on cargo control. Everyone else on the road is depending on you to make sure your straps and chains are in good condition and that you use appropriate methods to keep your cargo under control.


Easy Care and Maintenance Tips for Ratchet Straps

Your ratchet straps are among the most important tools you own as a flatbed trucker. Without ratchet straps, you would be left to secure everything you haul with chains and ropes. Imagine the amount of work that would be! Be that as it may, you need to protect your investment in ratchet straps by taking care of each one as though it were gold.

The thing about ratchet straps is that they are not invincible. They can wear out and break over time. A good goal is to maximize the life of your straps by taking care of them as best you can. To that end, we recommend a handful of easy care and maintenance tips gleaned from experienced drivers who have visited our warehouse.

Keep Straps Out of the Sun

The sun’s ultraviolet rays break down both nylon and polyester fibers. This is what causes ratchet straps to discolor and become brittle. It is best to keep straps out of the sun when they are not in use. For our money, the best way to go is to either store your ratchet straps in an exterior toolbox or somewhere in the back of your cab.

Note that the sun will eventually damage webbing material to a point of reducing its strength. Keep an eye on discoloration as the first signal. When a strap looks unusually pale, be extra vigilant in your visual inspections. Webbing material that has lost almost all its color is probably on its way out.

Don’t Store Wet Straps

Mold and mildew are never a truck driver’s friends. They are especially damaging to ratchet straps inasmuch as mold and mildew can weaken fibers over time. Therefore, treat your ratchet straps the same way you treat your tarps in terms of moisture. Never store a wet strap except in an emergency situation. Instead, let it thoroughly dry before putting it away. If you do end up with mold on a strap, do not use a chlorine-based product to clean it. Use a product that is friendly to the webbing material the strap is made of.

Remove Webbing from Handles

When taking ratchet straps out of use, be sure to remove webbing from the handles. This prevents the webbing from getting too tightly wrapped around the spindle or catching on the teeth of the ratchet. You’ll find that your ratchet straps last a lot longer just by following this one simple tip.

Wrap Webbing around the Ratchet

With webbing removed from the handle, we recommend wrapping it entirely around the ratchet and securing it with a rubber band. This protects the ratchet from road vibration while also keeping everything in your toolbox neat and tidy.

Lubricate the Ratchets

Finally, be sure to lubricate your ratchets with a dry silicone spray or industrial lubricating oil. We recommend against solvents like WD-40, as their lubricating properties are rather short-lived. Whatever your lubricant of choice, use it carefully and sparingly. Do your best to avoid allowing lubricant to come in contact with strap webbing.

As always, thoroughly inspect ratchet straps as you are tying down your load. If you ever question the integrity of a strap or ratchet, don’t use it. You are better off being safe than sorry. Remember that it only takes one failure to create big problems. Those are problems you do not need.

Mytee Products is your source for everything flatbed trucking, including ratchet straps. Before you take to the road for your next job, make sure you have all the straps, tarps, and protectors, and bungee straps you need.


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.


The Secret to Preventing Tarp Billowing

After spending 20 to 30 minutes tarping a load, nothing aggravates a flatbed trucker more than looking out the mirror 25 miles down the road and seeing one or more of those tarps billowing in the wind. Billowing tarps reduce fuel efficiency and risk both straps and cargo. Truckers hate billowing tarps.

The question many new truck drivers struggle with is how to prevent billowing. After all, moving down the highway at 65 mph creates a lot of air movement around a flatbed load. Any natural wind added to the equation just makes things worse.

So, what is the solution? The secret to preventing tarp billowing is in how tarps are applied at various points of a load.

In the below post, we will explain how to secure tarps that will not billow as you drive down the road. You can use ratchet straps, bungee straps, bungee rope, or even nylon rope as you see fit. A combination of bungee straps and ratchet straps is the best way to go for efficiency and speed.

Tight at the Front

Physics and common sense dictate that air flows across a load from front to back. Therefore, common sense also dictates that tarps should be getting the most attention at the front of the load. Veteran truckers who tarp well, will tell you that the front of the load is key.

The most important thing for preventing billowing is to make sure the tarp at the front is as flat and tight as possible. If you do not give air a clear path under the front of the tarp, you will reduce the likelihood of billowing across its entire surface. So think tight and flat.

One suggestion from veteran truckers is to start by securing the front corners of the tarp with bungee straps. Pull the tarp tight and secure the rear with bungee straps as well. Then go back to the front of the load and apply one ratchet strap across the top of the tarp as far forward as possible. You can then use bungee straps or bungee rope to go around the front edge of the tarp, hooking to a strap on either side, to keep the vertical surface of the tarp lying flat.

Work Your Way Back

Once the front of the tarp is flat and secure, work your way back. Use additional bungee straps at key points to secure the tarp to either your trailer or the load itself. Another ratchet strap across the middle of the tarp will keep that section flat. Finally, wrap the entire perimeter of the load using bungee rope from corner to corner. This keeps the edges of the tarp secure against the load.

The advantage of using bungee rope here is that you can apply fairly large sections of rope without creating a safety hazard or risking damage to the load.

One veteran trucker we know offers another tip that makes sense. He says that it helps to take a few extra minutes to make sure tarps are applied evenly. An uneven tarp is harder to keep flat and tight because you are working with different amounts of material at various points across the load. An even tarp gives you the same amount of material at the critical points, making it possible to apply even tension with each bungee or ratchet strap you use.

Remember, the secret to preventing tarp billowing is to concentrate on the front of the load in order to ensure the tarp is flat and tight. If you can conquer the front of the load, the rest should be fairly easy.


Material Choices: Not All Ratchet Straps Are Equal

Makers of winch and ratchet straps for cargo control can choose from a number of different construction materials. The three most common are propylene, nylon, and polyester. Of those three, propylene is not recommended for the trucking industry because it does not handle heavy loads very well. Among the remaining two choices, the latter is the best choice for cargo control.

To say that all ratchet straps are not equal is obvious if you understand the differences between the three materials. Propylene is material generally reserved for needs that do not require heavy load limits. For example, you might find it used to make bag straps, belts, and other similar things. Winch and ratchet straps for flatbed trucking are rarely, if ever, made with propylene.

Five Reasons Nylon and Polyester Are Better

Before you buy new winch or ratchet straps for your truck, we encourage you to consider material choices. The material you choose could end up having a significant impact on how securely your cargo is carried. Below are five reasons nylon and polyester are far better choices than propylene.

1. UV Protection

Ultraviolet rays from the sun can do damage to cargo control products without a truck driver ever knowing it. Ultraviolet rays can dry out and crack rubber bungee straps; they cause significant discoloration of truck tarps; they can reduce the life of the stitching material used to hold tarp material together. Where ratchet straps are concerned, polyester is the most resistant to UV rays. Nylon is fairly resistant as well.

2. Overall Strength

The biggest reason propylene is inappropriate for heavy loads is because it stretches considerably. Stretching of up to 50% is not abnormal for propylene. Nylon can stretch up to 30% under the heaviest loads while polyester is not likely to stretch beyond 15%. Once again, that makes polyester ideal for ratchet straps.

3. Tensile Strength

Tensile strength is defined as the maximum load a material can bear before breaking. Once again, propylene does not hold up very well. The average propylene strap is good only for about 700 pounds whereas nylon and polyester can manage loads of up to 7,000 pounds and 10,000 pounds respectively.

4. Resistance to Abrasion

Abrasion is a big problem in the trucking industry. From the sharp edges of cargo to the flatbed trailers that carry it, there are a lot of things that can cause abrasive friction on ratchet straps. Neither propylene nor nylon stand up well to abrasion. Polyester does.

5. Water Resistance

Lastly, water resistance is something truckers have to be concerned about. If a strap that were to become saturated it would automatically be weaker under load. It would also be prone to mold growth and more rapid breakdown under continual cycles of saturation and drying.

Believe it or not, the worst performer in the water-resistant category is nylon. Propylene actually does better in this regard, which is why it is used for things like lifejacket straps. Ultimately though, polyester is again the clear winner.

Winch and Ratchet Straps from Mytee

Hopefully you have detected a pattern here. Polyester is the material of choice for winch and rapid straps because it is far superior to its alternatives. It is the material of choice used by our manufacturers.

Mytee Products carries a full line of winch and ratchet straps ideal for flatbed truckers and their cargo control needs. You can shop for your straps by browsing our inventory like a catalog, or by using the handy search tool now available on our website. Search by price, load limit, brand, etc.