How to Increase Efficiency Outside the Truck

It is no secret that truck drivers are not all that thrilled about having to do work that doesn’t keep the wheels turning. They are not getting paid for the time it takes to load a trailer, secure the load, and cover it with tarps. They only get paid while the truck is in motion. So it should be obvious that efficiency outside the truck is key to making money.

The most efficient truck drivers limit the amount of time they spend doing things other than driving. The more efficient a trucker is, the more miles he or she can cover in a given day. It is with this in mind that we want to offer a few suggestions for increasing efficiency outside the truck.

1. Use Better Tools

We are fortunate enough to be part of an industry that continues to evolve. We are seeing all sorts of new tools entering the market every year, including the revolutionary ratchet winch bar. This tool takes the basic concept of a winch bar and makes it even better by combining it with the ratchet.
A ratchet winch bar works just like a ratchet wrench. Pulling up resets the bar; pushing down creates the force necessary to tension winch straps. Just reverse the action to use the ratchet winch to safely release straps on the other end.

2. Learn How to Use Your Tools

All the best tools offer only limited efficiency if you don’t know how to use them. So with every new tool you buy, make the effort to learn the best ways to use it. Read owner’s manuals; watch videos online; ask other drivers about their own experiences.

A good example of this principle is using the winch winder. The winch winder is a tool that reduces the time it takes to wind your winch straps after unloading. Using it is a lot faster than manual winding. But beware, you can create bigger problems for yourself if you’re careless. There is a right and wrong way to use the winch winder. Use it the right way and you will also increase your efficiency.

3. Think Things Through

One of the worst things a truck driver can do is jump right into securing a load without thinking things through. Time tends to be a major factor which could make a driver attack cargo control without giving ample thought to what he/she is doing.
It takes a minute or two to logically think through the best way to secure and cover a load. The few minutes it takes could save you a lot more time by giving you the opportunity to plan what it is you’re going to do before you start doing it.

4. Eliminate Unnecessary Steps

Last but not least, eliminate every unnecessary step from your work. Whether you are working with a ratchet winch bar, a winch winder, or heavy chains, there is no point in creating extra work for yourself. Let’s use tarping as an example.

As long as the conditions are right, don’t unfold a tarp on the ground. Put it on top of the load and unfold it as you go. This eliminates the unnecessary step of having to haul the tarp over the load after unfolding in on the ground. Unfolding from the top of the load is far more efficient.

Increased efficiency reduces the amount of time a trucker spends outside of the truck. It should be every truck driver’s goal to be as efficient as possible, so that more time is spent driving.


What is a Drop Forged Turnbuckle?

Any experienced lift master can tell you that a successful lift is facilitated by a long list of individual components. Lifting utilizes cables, slings, hooks, etc. One such component that doesn’t get talked about a lot is the turnbuckle. We will talk about it in this post, and specifically the drop forged turnbuckle.

In our industry, there are a lot of terms that the average person does not understand. That’s okay. As long as we and our customers speak the same language everything is fine. On the other hand, maybe you are not a lift master. Maybe you are a truck driver who has the pleasure of watching while a lift master gets cargo up onto the back of your trailer. We still want you to know what a forged turnbuckle is.

The Turnbuckle Explained

A turnbuckle is a type of fastener deployed for tensioning purposes. Also known as stretching screws and bottle screws, turnbuckles consist of two threaded bolts contained inside a metal frame with the flat ends facing one another. They can be eye bolts, hook bolts, or even eye and jaw bolts.

The secret to the turnbuckle’s usefulness is opposite threading. In other words, one bolt is threaded clockwise while the other is threaded counterclockwise. This allows the metal housing to be turned in a single direction to either increase or decrease tension. If the bolts were threaded in the same direction, this would not be possible.

When you turn a turnbuckle clockwise, it should increase tension by drawing the two bolts together. Turning it clockwise pushes the bolts apart, thus reducing tension. This simple mechanism makes it easy to control the tension on ropes, cables, and chains with very little effort.

Drop Forging a Turnbuckle

Drop-forged turnbuckles take their name from the process used to manufacture them. Mechanically speaking, they are no different from any other kind of turnbuckle.

Drop forging is a process that turns hot metal pieces into finished parts with specific shapes. If you are familiar with the image of an Old West blacksmith forming horseshoes out of molten metal, you already know what drop forging is.

In the modern era, manufacturing drop-forged turnbuckles requires a lot less human effort than fashioning horseshoes with a hammer and bare muscle. The process begins by cutting the metal to the desired size. It is then heated red-hot to prepare for the first step of forming its shape.

In some cases, the heated metal goes right into a die where weight and pressure form the initial shape. In other cases, the initial shaping is performed by hand before the piece goes into the die. It really just depends on manufacturer preferences.

Finishing the piece is a matter of putting it through a series of dies until it is shaped accordingly. The most important thing to know about drop forging is that the combination of heat, weight, and pressure is that which gives the finished product its strength. Drop forging not only shapes the piece, it strengthens the molecular composition at the same time.

The Right Tool for the Right Job

One thing we appreciate in learning about how things like drop-forged turnbuckles are made is that it gives us a greater understanding of the principle that there is a right tool for every job. Imagine being a lift master trying to adjust the tension on a sling without a supply of turnbuckles. How would you do it?

Turnbuckles are pretty simple in design yet quite effective for their intended purpose. They certainly belong in our rigging inventory here at Mytee Products.


Are Parachute Fabric Tarps Good for Lumber Loads?

We were talking about some of the past conversations we’ve had with truck drivers when we remembered one particular conversation from about seven or eight years ago. The topic was parachute fabric and whether or not it was a good choice for truck tarps. Believe it or not, parachute fabric tarps were available back then. They were just not very popular.

This particular discussion was more about whether or not parachute fabric was appropriate for lumber loads. The driver in question didn’t know much about the fabric, nor did we at the time. His concern was that it was too light to withstand over-the-road travel. He also questioned whether the fabric would flop around enough to damage the load.

We did not have the answers back then, but we do have them now. Are parachute fabric tarps good for lumber loads? Absolutely. Like anything else, it is simply a matter of using them the right way.

How Parachute Tarps Are Constructed

Let us first discuss how parachute tarps are constructed. They are made of a ripstop material, generally nylon, chosen for its weight and strength. The material is designated as ‘ripstop’ because of the special weave pattern that prevents small holes and tears from continuing to grow.

Note that ripstop nylon will not hold back water forever. As such, most parachute fabric tarps still rely on a vinyl top panel to keep out moisture. Only the drops are made of the ripstop fabric. You still get a lighter tarp without sacrificing water resistance on the top.

Using Edge Protectors

Next, it’s important to use edge protectors when you’re deploying parachute fabric tarps. Even though these tarps are made of ripstop fabric, they are still susceptible to being punctured on sharp edges. There is no point in risking the integrity of a tarp based on the notion that ripstop fabric makes it stronger than vinyl.

Should you end up unintentionally puncturing a tarp, you can repair it. There is less risk of that puncture becoming a major problem due to the ripstop nature of the fabric.

Securing the Tarp

Finally, it is true that parachute fabric will flop around in the breeze more readily than vinyl. It has two things working against it in this regard. The first is its lighter weight. Second is a weave pattern that is specifically designed to catch the air. What does this tell truck drivers? To secure a parachute fabric tarp all the way around the load.

Some drivers go around the perimeter using webbing straps or a series of bungee straps. Others use long lengths of rubber rope. Still other drivers attach bungees at each grommet and secure them to the trailer. How you go about it is entirely up to you. The point is to secure the tarp in such a way as to prevent as much movement as possible.

We Carry Parachute Fabric Tarps

At the end of the day, parachute fabric is an appropriate material for lumber loads. It is also great for steel, cable, machinery, and just about anything else you could carry on the back of a flatbed trailer. Just know that you have to be a little more careful at deployment and removal. Parachute fabric tarps are easily caught by the wind, so you have to be more deliberate in order to maintain control while you’re tarping.

We are happy to say that Mytee Products carries a selection of parachute fabric tarps. We invite you to look over our inventory whether you’re looking to add to your existing tarps or replace those that are worn out or damaged.


Home Renovations: Choosing a Spot for Your Demolition Tarp

Home renovation projects almost always involve some measure of demolition. As such, you need somewhere to put the debris until it is hauled away. A demolition tarp is one option. Demolition tarps tend to be easier to use and less expensive than dumpsters.

Believe it or not, one of the most important decisions when it comes to demolition tarps is location. More than one homeowner has gotten himself into trouble by not thinking things through. Just because you can buy a demolition tarp all folded up and wrapped in a nice, neat little package does not mean you can lay it out wherever you want.

Here are some tips for choosing a good location:

Place It Outdoors

First and foremost, you should lay your demo tarp someplace outdoors. We know this sounds like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many people lay demo tarps in a garage so as to keep everything nice and dry. They only discover what a bad idea it was when the trash hauler arrives to pick it up. It is no fun taking everything off the tarp, moving the tarp outside, and then loading everything back on.

Choose a Hard Surface

Next, choose a hard surface if at all possible. Usually this means your driveway. Why do you want a hard surface? Because a soft surface is prone to sinking. If you put half a ton of construction debris out on your lawn you may find that it leaves a depression in its wake.

The other thing to consider is the length of time your tarp will be laid out. If you put it in your yard and leave it there for a week, you could kill the grass. You will not have that issue if you lay the tarp in your driveway.

Provide Easy Access

The next consideration is access. Note that there are dual considerations here. Ideally, you want a place that is easily accessible to those who will be throwing debris on top of the tarp. Let’s say you have a double-wide driveway and you’ll be carrying construction debris out the front door. Placing the tarp on the near side of the driveway cuts the distance you’ll have to walk.

The other consideration is access for removal. Wherever you place your tarp has to be accessible to your trash hauler. Don’t place the tarp in the back of your house unless you’re okay with the trash hauler driving his truck around to get it.

Along those same lines, remember that your trash hauler will have to use a boom truck to lift the tarp off the ground. This could present a problem if you place the tarp somewhere in close proximity to trees, power lines, or any other structures that could get in the way. Think about that very carefully.

Look for a Pitched Surface

If all of your other parameters lineup correctly and you can still lay the tarp on a pitched surface to boot, that’s a bonus. A pitched surface will allow water to run off the tarp. This could be very important if you expect to have the tarp laid out long enough to have to worry about rain or snow. Remember that any water that accumulates in the bottom of the tarp will add weight, reducing the amount of debris you can dispose of.

Your choice of demo tarp location is more important than you might think. So if you are planning to use one of our tarps on a future project, think location through carefully. Do not place your tarp somewhere you’ll end up regretting.


You’re a Good Candidate for Parachute Tarps If…

A typical week here at Mytee Products sees us answering questions about parachute tarps from at least one flatbed truck driver. Sometimes we get half-a-dozen or more inquiries. One of the things drivers ask is why they should buy parachute fabric instead of vinyl. Maybe it’s because truckers have been so used to vinyl for so long that they just have no idea there are alternatives.

There is no single thing we can point to that says parachute fabric is better than vinyl or canvas. It has been our experience that truckers prefer different kinds of tarps for different kinds of jobs. The best we can do is offer a few suggestions that might help them figure it out.

Let us try that here. You are a good candidate for parachute tarps if…

1. You’re Not As Young As You Used to Be

It has been said that truckers never die, they just downshift. Whether or not that’s true, truckers do get old like everyone else. And with age comes aches and pains. We say that you might be a good candidate for parachute tarps if you are an older driver who no longer has the strength and stamina to wrestle with vinyl.

The biggest benefit of a parachute tarp is its weight. Parachute fabric is lighter, so you have a lot less weight to throw over the top of a load with a parachute tarp.

2. You’re an Expert at Tarping

It’s not unusual to caution new truck drivers against using parachute tarps given that they don’t offer the same kind of protection against moisture. By the way, that’s why parachute tarps have vinyl tops. The vinyl will hold back standing water where parachute fabric won’t.

Be that as it may, parachute tarps might be right up your alley if you’ve been trucking long enough to be a tarping expert. You know what works and what doesn’t. You don’t have to practice tarping overkill to protect your loads.

3. You Have a Tendency to Rip Vinyl

Next, you might also be a good candidate for parachute tarps if you have a tendency to rip vinyl. This is not to say that parachute fabric never rips or tears; it does. But parachute fabric is ripstop fabric. That means it is made with a special weave pattern that prevents rips and tears from growing.

Bear in mind that using edge protectors is still a wise idea even with the tarp made of ripstop nylon. But at least a minor tear or rip will not become a major disaster before you get your load to its destination. You cannot necessarily say the same thing about vinyl.

4. You Want to Try Something New

You’ve been on the road now for decades. In all your years you have used nothing but vinyl and canvas. Now you’re looking for something new, something that will shake things up a bit. Perhaps it’s time to give parachute tarps a chance. Parachute fabric certainly does take some getting used to, and you might welcome the challenge of tarping with a lighter material that can sail away in the wind.

Please note that all of our parachute fabric tarps offer the same quality and durability as our vinyl and canvas tarps. Parachute fabric tarps come in a variety of sizes and styles designed to meet the needs of the modern trucker. If you have any questions about our parachute tarps, don’t be afraid to ask. And if you need something you don’t see in our inventory, let us know. We’ll do what we can to get it for you.