Essential Tools for Cargo Securement

The average consumer has some knowledge on trucking and cargo transportation depending upon their personal relocating experiences. Some truck drivers who are relatively new to the trucking profession tend to be unfamiliar to the tricks of tarping and protecting the load they are about to transport. Yet proper cargo securement is a matter of having the right tools at hand for each job.

Whether someone is new to the profession or is a veteran trucker, at the end of the day, it boils down to remembering and applying the basic rules of cargo securement. It is about preventing a load from shifting in any way that could damage cargo or cause it to fall from the trailer so that it reaches it destination safely.

Here are some essential and helpful tools truckers could use to protect their truckload:

E-Track Straps

E-Track straps are primarily used for dry goods or refrigerated trailers. It is a slotted rail normally installed along both sides of a trailer’s interior at a height matching that of the cargo. The purpose of e-track is to keep the cargo in place and prevent is from sliding around.

This can be accomplished in one of two ways. The first is to use a shoring bar or decking beam made of aluminum and galvanized steel. Each end of the bar is fitted with a mechanism that fits into the e-track and locks into place. A shoring bar can handle pretty substantial loads. Where more flexibility is required, ratchet straps can be used in place of the rigid shoring bar. Straps are attached on both sides of the trailer and ratcheted together in the middle.

truck-straps

Winch Straps

Winch straps tend to be popular with flatbed truck drivers. They are made with heavy duty webbing material that meets or exceeds all DOT regulations and industry standards. They typically come with a flat hook, wire hook or chain anchor on one hand. Winch straps get that name because they are tightened down using a standard winch system. They provide maximum cargo securement strength in a package that is easy to deploy.

Corner and Edge Protectors

Truck drivers never simply back up to a trailer, hook it and go. They have to make sure their loads are secured properly prior to departure. Flatbed drivers have to place tarps over their cargo as well. Tarps are used to protect cargo from varying weather conditions, road situation and while they use the right corner and edge protectors to protect their tarps from wear and tear.

Corner and edge protectors are a great option as there are many choices available depending on the application. For example, a pyramid shaped tarp protector needs to be used if a load may cut or rip the tarp. These small pieces of plastic are placed over sharp corners and secured with webbing.

Another popular option is the v-shaped edge protector. This tool comes in a variety of sizes and can be made of plastic or metal. V-Shaped edge protectors are used to protect cargo, tarps, and straps.

Having the right tools for cargo securement makes the trucker’s job much easier. Mytee Products carries a wide range of essential load securement tools that range from straps to edge protectors to high-quality tarps needed in North America.


The Importance of Tarps for Farmers

If you drive through Chase, Kansas these days, you are likely to see a recently built structure that slightly resembles bridge trusses built over the top of a large, concrete box. You may not know what it is, but locals know that the structure will be used to store grain when complete. It is currently being constructed by an Illinois contractor on behalf of the Central Prairie Co-Op. The storage bin’s owners will use tarps to cover the grain in storage.

The design of the structure is such that grain can be easily loaded and unloaded without compromising the quality of the product. Hay tarps will keep out the weather and, in so doing, prevent the growth of mold and other contaminants within the grain product. Yet the tarps can be easily removed to allow the storage structure to be quickly filled using a dual-purpose chute. The chute will also be used to transfer grain from the storage area to waiting trucks. It is a well thought out design that maximizes storage capacity and efficiency at the same time.

grain-storage

As for the tarps, these will be made from high quality canvas. Canvas tarps are preferred over vinyl in this case because they are more breathable. The additional weight of the canvas will also make it more secure in windy conditions and better able to withstand precipitation and changing temperatures. The design calls for the use of fabric sidewalls, or ‘curtains’, that can be opened or closed as the weather dictates.

Importance of Covering Grain

Covering grain with canvas or tarps is about more than just convenience. Grain is susceptible to different kinds of mold and bacteria growth that could make the product unsuitable for human or animal consumption. Moisture encourages that growth. Keeping the grain dry reduces the risk of contamination and keeps the eventual selling price of the product as high as possible. It also prevents grain fires.

Though it may seem counter intuitive, grain with a moisture content that is too high can spontaneously combust. Once again, it comes down to the growth of bacteria and mold. The right combination of water and oxygen encourages microbial growth within the grain. As bacteria grows and multiplies, it produces heat that is then trapped within the grain. The heat can build up to a point of igniting the grain.

It is for these same reasons farmers cover their hay after harvesting it. They choose tarps rather than out buildings because tarping is a more cost-effective solution that also gives the farmer more flexibility in how his/her land is used when hay storage is not required. Tarps are easy to apply, easy to store and inexpensive enough that they do not significantly affect the farmer’s budget.

Mytee Products carries a full line of vinyl hay tarps in 10 different sizes. Each of our hay tarps is made with heavy-duty polyethylene fabric that has been UV treated. If you need canvas tarps instead, we carry those too. All are made with 100% duck cotton canvas for maximum breathability and durability.

Sources:

1. Hutch News – http://www.hutchnews.com/news/local_state_news/new-grain-storage-rising-ahead-of-the-wheat/article_bccfb95d-e5cb-5b06-8693-9f980a0d6a87.html


Tire Chains and Bad Weather: When to Chain and When to Park

Driving in winter weather is just part of the over the road driving career. There is no way around it. As such, the vast majority of truck drivers have to think about tire chains from time to time. There are two questions to consider in this regard, the first being whether to purchase chains or to use chain banks along major routes that supply them. The second question is one of deciding whether to chain your truck or to park it instead.

The answers to both questions really depend on the individual driver and how much risk he or she is willing to take. Ultimately, though, it is the driver who decides whether to proceed in bad weather or not. Federal and state laws prevent employers or dispatchers from forcing drivers to continue driving when they believe weather conditions endanger their safety.

Tire Chain Basics

Tire chains are available in two basic options: the ladder design and the zigzag design. The ladder chains looks just like a mini version of an aluminum ladder you use to paint your home, except that it’s made with chain links instead of pieces of aluminum. The ‘steps’ of the chain ladder go across the horizontal surface of the tire while the rails fit over the side.

tire-chains

The zigzag tire chain looks a lot like a shoelace, crossing from one side of the tire to the other. A zigzag chain can consist of one or two ‘laces’ held together by two side rails. Some truck drivers prefer this pattern because they believe it provides extra bite; others prefer the ladder design.

Regardless of which type a driver chooses, the chains are applied to the tires and held in place with either additional chains, bungee cords, or rubber rope. It is important for drivers to check chains within a few hundred yards of installation to make sure they are tightly secured. It is possible for chains to fall off during travel if not properly secured.

State Regulations

The states have different regulations when it comes to tire chains. For example, California does not require truckers to use chains in a general sense. However, police do have the authority to prevent truckers from entering certain roadways, under certain weather conditions, without chains. Colorado is a bit stricter.

The laws in Colorado apply to every interstate and state and federal highway when weather conditions warrant. When the regulations are in effect, DOT officials post signs along roadways warning truckers to chain up. Chains can only be removed when bare pavement is encountered on a descending grade.

Parking versus Chaining

Truck drivers ultimately have to decide whether or not to chain or to park. Having said that, some trucking companies have established policies indicating they do not want their drivers ever using chains. If weather were bad enough to require chaining, these companies would prefer drivers pull over and park their rigs instead. They do not want to risk driver or equipment in such bad weather.

Independent contractors do not have the luxury of a company policy making chaining decisions for them. Therefore, they have to consider their own schedules and financial requirements. The one thing that should always be remembered is that human beings cannot be replaced. Delivery schedules can be changed, extra work can be taken to make up for lost income, and equipment can be repaired or replaced. However, a dead trucker is a dead trucker.

Chains are appropriate in certain weather conditions and inappropriate in others. At the end of the day, a driver needs to be objective when it comes to deciding between chaining and parking.


Three Reasons to Consider Hay Tarps

November and December mark the year’s final hay harvest in the southern portions of the U.S. In the north, farmers will be preparing for the first harvest of the year next spring. Yet no matter where hay is produced, growers want to get the most for their money. And in many cases, using hay tarps is part of the profit-maximizing equation.

Hay tarps are designed to protect the harvested crop from moisture. Farmers who want that protection can either use tarps or build storage barns for the harvested material. Other growers do not worry about protecting the crop at all, choosing to leave it exposed to the weather instead.

Here are three reasons you should consider using hay tarps if you are a grower:

1. Protecting Crop Value

Hay is often bailed before it has a chance to fully dry out. This is done in order to maintain proper moisture levels. However, moisture levels that are too high promote mold growth. This is the first reason for covering your hay with tarps. You do not want bales to get wet if it rains because wet hay can contain mold that is dangerous to horses and cattle.

hay-tarp

According to Hay & Forage, growers can lose as much as 20% of a crop by not protecting with either tarps or storage barns. Most of the damage is limited to the outer two or three inches that have absorbed the water from rainfall. Even so, a 20% loss of a crop can be financially devastating. It’s well worth spending the money on tarps and stakes compared to the amount you could lose if baled hay gets wet.

2. Fire Prevention

Though most hay growers will go an entire career without experiencing a hay fire, such fires are more common than you might think. Fires in baled hay are usually the result of high moisture content and inadequate ventilation. The fires are sparked by what is known as spontaneous combustion.

When the moisture content of hay is too high, it allows for the growth of mold and bacteria. The mold and bacteria break down the hay into simple sugars they can digest easily. This is the process of respiration. Unfortunately, respiration produces heat that, under the right conditions, can cause hay to combust. Growers who intend to store hay for any longer than four weeks need to be concerned about protecting the crop from additional moisture.

3. Less Expensive Than Barns

It is true that hay tarps do not offer the same level of protection as dedicated barns. However, they offer adequate protection that is more in line with their expense. Simply put, tarps and stakes are less expensive than building barns. Growers which short-term storage needs are better off spending their money on less expensive tarps.

For a few hundred dollars, a grower could provide adequate protection for his or her crop until it is shipped. Tarps can then be folded and stored until the next harvest, leaving the land open and usable for other purposes. Barns, on the other hand, are fixed structures with permanent footprints.

As a hay grower, do you use tarps to protect your crop? If not, consider the possibility that you might be losing up to 20% of your earning power by leaving your hay exposed to the weather. It is probably well worth your investment to purchase the necessary tarps and stakes you need to protect your hay prior to shipment. At Mytee Products, we carry a number of different hay tarps in various sizes to meet your specific needs and budget.


Common Roll Tarp Problems and How to Fix Them

Roll tarps are indispensable for specific trucking jobs involving loose loads such as stone and grain. They are easy to apply, easy to remove and very effective at preventing debris from flying into the roadway. However, the mechanical nature of the spooling systems used with them is such that things can go wrong. Knowing how your system works, and how to fix it, can save you a lot of aggravation and downtime.

You can encounter many potential problems with a roll tarp and spooling system. We have put together a list of the three most common problems and how these problems can be fixed. Thankfully, a little knowledge goes a long way.

1. Frame Arms Not Centered and Parallel

A roll tarp spooling system requires frame arms to be centered and parallel in order to work properly. When arms are out of position, a truck tarp will not roll evenly. This is a problem whether you are applying or removing your tarp. Fortunately, the issue is usually a bad spring or tube arm. Both can be fixed relatively easily.

The first thing to do is to check the tension springs on both arms. The arm that is in the more forward position is likely the one that is operating properly; the one that is lagging behind is usually the one with the problem. You will know a tension spring is bad when it is fully compressed with little or no tension. Replace that spring and your system should be fine. If all of your springs are extended equally, you likely have a tube arm that is bent or broken. Bent tubes can be straightened; broken tubes must be replaced.

It should be noted that a single failing tension spring could be a sign of more failures to come. Remember that the springs installed when your unit was first manufactured all have the same shelf life. When one spring fails, it is only a matter of time before the rest follow suit. You might be better off replacing all of your springs at the same time.

2. Tarp Is Not Square

It is possible to have problems with frame arms not being centered or parallel even though all of your tension springs and tube arms are just fine. What is the culprit in this case? It could be a tarp that is not square. Although this is rare, it is possible – especially if you purchased a used system that was previously repaired by its owner. If all of your springs and tubes appear to be in good working order despite an off-center or unparallel condition, you may have to remove the tarp and check it for squareness.

3. The Motor Struggles to Unroll Tarp

Systems equipped with motors may struggle at times to unroll the tarp. Sometimes the motor itself is failing, but the problem is more likely to be related to the arm pivot mounts. You can adjust the tension at the pivot mounts to make the arms tighter or freer. If your motor is struggling, consider loosening the tension a bit. As a side note, electric motors usually fail completely rather than gradually. This is why we say that a motor struggling to roll a tarp probably has to overcome too much pivot tension.

Mytee Products carries roll tarps in a variety of lengths and widths for grain trailers. All of our tarps are made of durable 18-ounce vinyl with webbing strips every 3 feet. They can be used with any standard roll tarp system fitted to your trailer.