Maintain Safety Standards with Grade 70 Chain Load Binders

Commercial trucks are very important to America’s economy. More freight, goods and industrial machinery is transported via commercial trucks than any other type of transportation in the continental U.S. According to a report from ATA  the trucking business, “deliver ten billion tons of virtually every commodity consumed—or nearly 70 percent of all freight transported annually in the U.S.” Virtually all goods and supplies transported in the U.S. use commercial trucks for transportation from oil and fuel to pharmaceuticals to fresh drinking water. Without cargo and flatbed trucks, our nation could not survive. Therefore maintaining safety standards with approved chains, binders and securement devices is of the utmost importance.

Any type of commercial hauler, whether it’s a full size semi-trailer or store delivery truck, needs to have contents secured. Chains are used the most on commercial trucks with chain binders for securing heavy machinery, steel, logs, portable buildings, vehicles and shipping containers. Chain binders offer the most securement when transporting heavy loads and with the proper chain grade are approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and American Trucking Association (ATA). Ratchet and lever or snap binders are two types of chain binders; however, snap binders are used less due to the risk of snapping out of position. Foldable handle binders are becoming more popular in the commercial trucking industry.

Chain grade is determined by the stress on a chain link at its breaking strength, according to the National Association of Chain Manufacturing (NACM). They have provided a breakdown of the different grades and applications of chains in the chart below.

Grade 30 Proof Coil Chain General Purpose, carbon steel chain.
Grade 43 High Test Chain A carbon steel chain widely used in industry, construction, agricultural and lumbering operations.
Grade 70 Transport Chain A high quality, high strength carbon steel chain used for load securement.
Grade 80 Alloy Chain Premium quality, high strength alloy chain, heat treated, used in a variety of sling and tie down applications. For overhead lifting applications, only Alloy Chain should be used.
Grade 100 Alloy Chain Premium quality, highest strength alloy chain, heat treated, used in a variety of sling and tie down applications. For overhead lifting applications, only Alloy Chain should be used.

Grade 70 transport chain is the recommended grade for chain binders and boomers in the commercial trucking industry. All chain binders must be secured using the attachment points on a truck. The minimum is four according to the NACS; however, the total weight of the load and the chain binder size determines how many attachment points are needed to properly secure the load. Attachment points should not exceed 45 degrees in order to secure any movement.

The best security is one which is carefully executed for the safety of the driver and other drivers on the road.

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Understand the Basic Types of Tarps for Truck or Trailers

Trailer tarps

For flatbed haulers, Tarping is perhaps the most arduous part of the job, the chief reason why Flatbed Driving Professionals command a premium over others. Flatbeds, by their very definition, are open topped. Loads being hauled on flatbeds need to be tarped frequently to protect the load from the elements. Given the significance of Tarps to the flatbed hauler, it is important to understand various Tarp types and Tarping Systems.

Tarp itself is a commonly used term for plastic coated fabric. We can broadly divide Tarps into four categories: Mesh Tarps, Poly Tarps, Vinyl Tarps and Canvas Tarps. Of these four categories, only Poly and Vinyl Tarps are supposed to be totally waterproof. The Mesh Tarp is designed to let water and air pass through but hold back debris. Of the two waterproof tarps, those with polyethylene coating (Poly Tarps) are what one generally finds at Home Depot or Wal-Mart. These are cheaper tarps with reduced durability. Poly Tarps have various uses but are not suitable for Trucking applications. Vinyl Tarps are the most commonly used material for Trucking applications. Vinyl is the best material for Heavy Duty Truck Tarps. They tend to be more expensive but have the necessary strength to handle the strain from exposure to winds on the highway and also the tension from bungees exerted on the D-Rings of the Tarp.

Tarping can be done manually by the driver. Different sizes of finished tarps such as the Heavy Duty Lumber Tarp, Steel Tarp, Coil Tarp, Machine Tarp or a Three Piece Tarp can be kept rolled up above the Headache Rack or in the Toolbox. Once the Steel Coil or other load is placed on the trailer bed, secured with Tie-Downs or 3/8 x 20 G 70 Transport Chains and Ratchet Chain Binder, a Moving Blanket can be thrown on top of the load, the necessary Plastic Tarp Protectors Placed and then the Coil Tarp or Heavy Duty Lumber Tarp can be laid above the load. The tarp is then secured in place with 21 Inch Rubber Bungee Straps pulling down on the D-Rings. This is the most common yet manual method of Tarping a load. It is required for loads of unpredictable sizes, loads such as Machines.

For consistent loads, load of predictable dimensions, Mechanical Tarping systems are also available in the Market:

  1. Front to Back Tarp Systems
    The most common examples of such systems are Asphalt Tarp  and Dump Truck Tarping systems. The Tarp has two long pockets along the Trailer length. The system has two metal arms that are inserted through the side pockets of the Tarp. The tarp is rolled up into a cylindrical roll at the front of the trailer. At the time of deployment, the tarp is unfurled from its rolled position and extended out to cover the open area of the trailer. Asphalt Tarps are made of Vinyl while Dump Truck Tarps are made of PVC Coated Mesh. There are other sliding Tarp systems as well available which fall under the category of Front-to-Back systems.
  2. Side to Side Tarp Systems
    Side to Side systems are generally synonymous with Roll Tarp systems. The tarp is fixed on one end and free on the other. The open area of the trailer is covered with bows that act like a system of ribs on which the tarp can roll back and forth. The mechanism drives the free end to roll and simultaneously curl toward the fixed end. Such systems are common on Gran Trailers. For flatbed trailers, a Side-Kit system is used. It is similar to the Roll-Tarp system but the drop height is provided by a combination of Stakes inserted in the Trailer side pockets and 4 foot high panels inserted through the sides of stakes along specially grooved channels.

Automatic Versus Manual Drive

All mechanical Tarping systems can be driven by a manual crank or an electrically automated motorized drive. The automated systems, while more convenient, can be more expensive and complex. Manual systems can be effort intensive, especially during the winter months, but tend to be simpler and robust.

Flatbed Lumber Tarps – A Great Protector of Goods

Firstly let us check the meanings of what a lumber is and what a tarp is. A lumber in the simplest language is a load of raw wood material. Have you ever seen trucks carrying wood? Have you noticed the wood covered with a waterproof polythene or nylon tarpaulin sheet? That is exactly what we will discuss about in this article. A tarpaulin sheet in short is what you call a Tarp. So that’s how we get the two words conjoined as Lumber Tarp.

How are Lumber tarps manufactured?

You must have heard the name of nylon or polyester. The material used for manufacturing lumber tarps is polyester which is PVC coated. 6oz nylon fabric is used to make the lumber tarpaulin. This assures that the tarps are light weight. The weight of tarps depends on how much ‘oz’ they are made up of. While tarps made of 6oz fabric are light weight, 10oz and 14oz fabric tarps are heavier.

What is the name of the stitch and what is the name of the thread?

Though heavy duty tarps are welded, but mostly tarpaulin is stitched. The edges are double locked that means each stitch is twice locked by the next stitch. The hem stitch pattern is used to stitch tarps. #207 bonded threads are used to stitch tarpaulins. At the underside edge of the tarpaulin brass grommets are fixed.

Two additional rows of D rings are adjusted by hem stitch on the inner edge of the tarp border at a gap of 30 inch and 60 inch.

What are Light weight tarps and heavy duty tarps?

Broadly tarps can be categorised into two types— the light weight tarps and the heavy duty tarps. Light weight tarps are made of 6oz nylon fabric. Heavy duty tarps mean the tarpaulin covers made of 10oz, 12oz or 14oz vinyl fabric that is heavier.

If we go to the bottom of the discussion, there are many subtypes of the tarpaulin. Both light weight and heavy duty tarps have their respective subcategories. For example, the light weight tarps are also available in super light type which in texture feels nothing heavier than the parachute material. On the other hand, the heavy duty tarps are available in different subtypes depending on whether they are three pieces or two pieces. Light weight tarps usually don’t weigh beyond 90 lbs. The super light one weighs approximately 65 lbs. The heavy weight tarps weight over 100 lbs and the very heavy ones that are two pieces or three pieces weight up to 215 lbs.

For flatbed lumber tarps the flap on the rear side edge is a mandatory part. The flap is necessary to overlap the edges so that the tarps wraps around the lumber underneath.

What are the uses of lumber tarps?

From the name you can well understand that tarpaulin sheets are used to cover lumber that is load. It can be any kind of load, but mostly it is wood that is transported. The main purpose of the lumber tarps is to protect the wood being carried in the truck. The tarpaulin sheets protect the goods from rain water and sunlight. They are acid resistant so there are fewer chances that they will be affected badly. Also the tarps are fungus free so even in moisture or humidity or after rainfall, they don’t allow mushroom or fungi to grow on the wood and spoil its quality. The tarps are manufactured by double layered polyester so that they attain a certain thickness. Tarps are not fully waterproof but they don’t usually allow water to seep through the material.

Are all tarps waterproof?

Tarps are made waterproof as much as possible during the time of manufacture. But tarps cannot be made fully water resistant because in case of very heavy rainfall, sometimes rain water seeps through the tarps into the wood underneath. But usually tarps are made with a bi-layer of polyester which disallows water to seep through the two parallel sheets.

What to do if tarps get torn? Can they be repaired?

Tarps usually last longer if you can take adequate care of them. Do not leave tarps in water or dirt like in a go-down kind of area for a long time unused. If you keep using tarps, they last longer. Tarps always last a long life if you keep them clean and they don’t usually get torn easily. But in case tarps get torn, they can be re-stitched if they are of the light weight type. The heavy weight 10oz vinyl fabric is difficult to stitch so these tarps get welded in case they tear off.

Tarps are repairable but re-stitching repeatedly may harm their quality and hey would anyways wither off after a certain period of time. The light weight tarps are more durable.

What are D rings and what is the utilization?

D rings or Dee rings as they are called are the brass grommet like things that are hem stitched on the edge of the tarps so that the ropes to tie the sheet over the wood can be entangled through. The D rings are stitched in rows and sometimes in fact in double rows to ensure safety.

So what do you have to keep in mind before buying tarp?

When we talk about tarpaulins we are reminded of its versatile use. Sometimes not only to cover goods on flatbed trucks, but the material is also used even to cover construction sites in days of monsoon. From here we understand that this is a very useful material. So the next time you need a tarpaulin sheet, you know what it is made up of, how to take care of it, what are D rings, which type to buy according to your requirement, which is light weight and which is heavy duty and how to select your choice.

Do not compromise on quality and always make it a point to buy a branded tarp. Branded material lasts longer and can be relied upon for its durability.

The A-Z of Flatbed Lumber tarps

Lumber means a raw wood material and tarp means cover. So lumber tarps are covers made of tarpaulin of canvas material to cover such raw wood material. They are also to protect the lumber from heat and rain while carrying the same on the truck. Before we set our eyes on lumber tarps, let’s first get a clear idea of what lumber tarps are. Have you ever heard the word Tarpaulin?  Tarp is the short form of that. Drivers who drive trucks carrying goods over long distances are often worried about keeping the goods covered. When goods are delivered, they are supposed to reach the destination intact. Here rises the need of tarps for covering the merchandise.

What is a tarp and what is a lumber tarp?

A tarp in the simplest language is a cover or a tarpaulin. Flatbed tarps help to cover a bigger size of load. Flatbed tarps are the most popular type of tarps and they come in different types. Lumber tarps are used mostly for flatbed trucks. Lumber tarps are larger in size than steel tarps and have a flap on one side to cover the lumber unit ends together. A typical lumber tarp is of the standard size of 24’ wide and 27’ long.

What are flatbed lumber tarps made up of?

All types of lumber tarps for flatbed trucks are made up of PVC coated polyester. Lumber tarps are available in different types depending on shapes, sizes and weights. The size ranges from four feet to eight feet, the shape varies from two-piece to three-piece and the weight differs from light weight lumber tarps to heavy duty lumber tarps. 6oz nylon fabric is used to manufacture lumber tarps to ensure maximum light weight.

Are tarps stitched and how? Tarps are also welded?

Yes, absolutely. Tarpaulins are stitched by the double lock hem stitch. The thread used is #207 bonded that is very hard to tear off. Some rugged heavy duty tarps are welded and not stitched. The end flap is a must on lumber tarps.

Brass grommets are installed at every 24 inch around the bottom edge of the tarp. Additional two rows of Dee rings are hemmed on each side of the three rows down. Rows are stitched 30 inch and 60 inch up from the bottom edges.

Hybrid tarps are also available

To produce a hybrid tarp, the heavy duty 14oz or 10oz vinyl tarp fabric is combined with light weight 6oz fabrics. This assures durability of the tarpaulin. Custom tarps are also available according to prior orders.

What are the different sub-types of Lumber Tarps?

Light weight lumber tarp: The light weight lumber tarps are made up of 6oz fabric that is nylon. They are lighter than the vinyl tarps and are easily torn by the strong wind, water and dust.

Heavy duty lumber tarp: Heavy duty tarps are manufactured from vinyl fabric.

Heavy duty three piece lumber tarp: This vinyl fabric has two flaps and one overlapping flap, thus making it three pieces.

(24 x 18) heavy duty lumber tarp: This is the standard size of the vinyl fabric tarp and is popularly used in larger flatbed trucks.

Super light lumber tarp: The super light lumber tarpaulin is made up of the lightest 6oz material of nylon fabric. They are manufactured of the same material as the parachutes.

Weight of lumber tarps

Weight of the lumber tarps depend on what material they are made up of, whether they are light weight of 6oz fabric or heavy duty of 14 oz fabric, and with or without flaps. The light weight tarps vary between 65 lbs to 75 lbs. The rugged heavy duty tarps vary in weight between 90 lbs to 215 lbs.

Are tarps waterproof?

Tarps are not absolutely waterproof. No type of tarpaulin is waterproof, so in case of rain, trickles of water seep into the fabric. The light weight 6 oz fabric has an outer coating that can shed off water if it rains, but the fabric needs to be sewn and not welded.

What are Dee-rings or D-rings?

Dee rings are rings through which the ropes are entangled to tie the tarp so that the goods don’t fall off the truck. The rings are stitched in rows so that the ropes can be tied around the tarpaulin. If a customer wants an extra set of Dee rings, it is available any time. All the D rings are triangular and are stitched in a way that the rings are stitched inside the extreme points of tension.

How to take care of tarps and are they repairable?

Taking care of the tarps depends on the quality and texture of the tarp. The 10oz or the 14oz vinyl fabric can be welded and patched with the help of the AA-66 adhesive. But of the 6oz lighter fabric gets torn, it should be carefully stitched by the professional repairer.

Why are lumber tarps used?

The basic reason to use lumber tarps is to protect the underlying wood from sunlight and rain. The tarps are mushroom proof so fungus never grows on their surface.  The tarps are acid resistant so there is no chance to get burnt. The lumber tarpaulin is treated in such a double protection way that ultra violet rays of the scorching sun don’t affect its texture. The D rings have super flexibility and thus do not tear off easily. The material of tarp is poly layered on both sides to attain the thickness. Lighter the tarp, lesser the durability. 6oz fabric gets torn faster than heavy duty vinyl fabric of 14 oz or at least 10oz.

So the next time you are sending wood or any load by a truck, don’t forget to cover it up with the lumber tarp to make the journey to the destination intact and secure. You have to understand that open load is unsafe and a waterproof canvas cover is ideal for the protection of your expensive goods. So don’t hesitate and buy a tarp, and don’t you forget the D strings for that extra security.

Tarps Specially Designed For Lumber

If you are transporting lumber in your cargo then you must make sure that the covering you use is specifically designed for that. Different cargo needs different types of protections. Thus it makes sense to get a specially designed tarp for your lumber. Lumber needs to be drier than perhaps any other type of cargo, so moisture free tarp is mandatory. Similarly there are so many specific needs that lumber has that other cargo does not need.

Firstly we will try and understand what lumber is? Lumber is raw wood. Fungus attacks the lumber when moisture is present in the environment, the weather is warm or when air is present. So lumber during transportation should be shielded from these hazards. Fungus ruins the lumber and lumber becomes useless. Thus the protection for lumber should shield it against all these problems.

Here we will discuss about a tarp, which is specially designed for lumber:

1.    Moisture Proof- The lumber tarps come in a material that is moisture and water proof. So it not only protects the lumber from water, but also ensures that moisture does not damage it.  Transporting lumber long distances and making sure it reaches the destination completely dry can be a difficult task. So this is one way you can ensure complete dryness without any hassles.

2.    Keeps it cool- The tarp actually keeps the lumber cool and prevents humidity. Very warm climates give rise to humidity. A good tarp can have a cooling effect on the cargo and can prevent humidity. Cool and dry climate works best for lumber.

3.    Air tight- Tarps prevent the air from passing to the lumber. Air carries moisture particles which again give rise to a moist climate. As discussed above moisture is bad for the lumber so an air tight tarp helps.

4.    You can buy parts- One very interesting feature is that you can buy these tarps in parts. So when the truck bed is really long you can utilize more portions, when the bed is short you can use a few portions. This way you can adjust the length of the tarp to suit your needs.

5.    Easily available- These tarps can be found just about anywhere, even online. This makes it very convenient, as even if a tarp is very good and cannot be found easily it is of no use. These however can be bought online and in local markets. Lumber tarps are the most common variety of tarps found.

6.    Covers even a huge pile of cargo- Your lumber stack or pile can be several feet high. These tarps can cover up to eight feet high cargo.  These are very long and broad. It can measure up to 48 feet in length. Even after covering your cargo the sides of the tarp would be hanging down on either sides of the cargo. So this ensures that more part of your cargo will be left exposed. As even if a small portion of your cargo is uncovered it becomes useless. There has to be 100% coverage.

7.    Strong Hems- The hems and edges are made exceptionally strong. As in any cover the most vulnerable parts are the edges. As on tying the cargo to the truck the edges come under a lot of pressure. So the edges have to be really strong or else it would tear.

8.    Can be custom made- Lumber tarps can ideally be found in all sizes. No matter what the size of your vehicle is, you are sure to find a tarp to suit it. But in case you are not happy with the sizes available you can always get one made. Making one to suit your need can be done at no additional cost.

9.    Arctic Protection- These tarps are known to give protection even in the harshest of winters. Even in arctic winter your lumber will be safe. These tarps are made of polyethylene and this material prevents the cold from entering. Also it prevents the heat present inside to escape. This feature makes these tarps excellent for lumber protection.

10.    Also used in flatbed trucks- Flatbed trucks are those which have no side walls and are completely flat, giving it a bed like look. These flatbed trucks are good for carrying very heavy cargo or cargo that is broad and cannot be accommodated within the walls of the truck. Flatbed lumber tarps are used in these trucks. As they helps secure the cargo very firmly and avoid it from spilling or grazing against other things.

11.    Fire safe- These tarps often come in fireproof materials. This is very good as fire can strike anywhere and anytime. One must always be prepared for it. Fire does not catch these tarps as they are fire resistant; also if fire catches the tarp prevents it from spreading all over. So this ensures that your lumber is safe. As lumber is wood and wood is highly combustible. Even if a small portion of the wood catches fire within seconds the whole cargo would be in flames. So it should be protected from fire at all cost.

12.    Protection against acid rains- Sometimes even the rain water is not pure. It comes down as acid rain. Even snow and precipitation contain small traces of acids in them. So protection against the rain is not enough. As acid can eat in to the cargo and damage it. So a lumber tarp with acid protection is necessary.

Your lumber tarp should have all the features that you are looking for. It is wise to jot down the things you need before you venture out to buy a tarp.  As you meet the requirements, start crossing out the points in your slip. In this way you will make sure that you don’t leave out any point. This would be very helpful, as many people come home to find that they have come back with half their requirements. This would mean that you have to go back the next day and exchange the tarp or perhaps buy a new one. So a meticulous noting down of points can be very helpful.