More from: flatbed truck

Why Bees Are One of the Most Challenging Flatbed Loads

In the last couple of months we have seen an up-tick in demand for our bee nets (bee hauling tarps). It happens every spring. Beekeepers looking to transport large colonies over long distances rely on truck drivers and open-deck trailers. The bee nets we sell are intended to keep bees with their colonies and offer some protection against dirt and debris.

In thinking about it, we realized that hauling bees is one of the most challenging jobs in all of flatbed trucking. Right off the top, bees constitute live cargo. Truckers are not just hauling inanimate objects that could easily be replaced in the event of unforeseen damage. They are dealing with living creatures that beekeepers cannot afford to lose.

Dwindling Bee Populations

Honeybee populations have been dwindling over the last couple of decades or so. All around the world, researchers and beekeepers alike have been struggling to find out why colonies are collapsing. In the meantime, they have also been working to restore populations to previous levels. That is the reason truck drivers have to be so very careful when hauling bees.

Beekeepers cannot afford to lose even one hive. They certainly do not want to load a flatbed full of as many as 400 colonies only to have them all collapse before they reach their destination. As such, they are extremely strict guidelines beekeepers and truckers follow for preparing, loading, transporting, and unloading beehives.

From the Trucker’s Perspective

As you know, truck drivers are ultimately responsible for the safety of their cargo from the moment it is loaded until the moment it comes off the trailer. It is a lot of responsibility under normal circumstances, but the responsibility is even greater when a driver is hauling bees.

Truck drivers have to take great care to make sure hives are loaded gently and safely. He or she has to calculate weight to make sure the loaded rig falls within federal and state guidelines. The driver then has to check the height to make sure stacked hives are low enough to accommodate height restrictions. Finally, he or she has to tie down the load with straps in such a way as to secure each one without damaging the protective wood around it.

A bee net is put over the top of the load for reasons mentioned earlier in this post. If the beekeeper has done his/her job, very few bees will escape the hives during transport. Those that do will be kept in the general proximity by the bee net.

Once on the road, the driver has to stop at regular intervals to inspect the load. There can be no room for load shifting as this could upset the colonies. The driver also inspects the bee net to make sure it is still firmly in place. As for the driving itself, the trucker has to take it easy. He/she has to be easy on the gas, easy on the turns, and is consistent as possible with speed.

Good Driving Benefits All of Us

Provided the truck driver does everything by the book, we all benefit. Beehives reach their destination intact and full of healthy bees just waiting to get to work. Those bees are released to pollinate both farmlands and wild nature alike.

Did you know honeybees are among the most prolific pollinators in all of nature? They do the majority of the heavy lifting, so to speak, which is why we cannot afford to allow bee populations to fall any further. Those truck drivers who haul beehives do a difficult job for which we should all be grateful.


How to Fit Truck Tarps Perfectly

You see a lot of interesting things traveling down the interstate. For example, flatbed trailers carrying all kinds of loads are commonplace. Some of those trailers looked to be carrying pretty impressive cargo, though you might never know what it is hidden under all those tarps. That leads to the following question: how do truck drivers get those tarps fitted so tight?

Covering a load with truck tarps is not as easy as it sounds. Anyone can throw a couple of tarps over the top of a load and secure them with bungee straps, but that does not mean the cargo underneath is safe from all that could potentially harm it. That’s why truck drivers go to such great lengths to guarantee their tarps are tightly secured. They do not want their tarps flapping in the breeze at 60 mph.

So, how do they do it? It is a combination of a number of things.

1. Years of Experience

First and foremost, there is no substitute for experience. Every truck driver learns on the job regardless of how much training he or she received in CDL school. Simply put, learning the best ways to deploy truck tarps for any given load is a matter of book knowledge, time, and plenty of time actually doing it.

Imagine hauling an oddly shaped load consisting of industrial machinery and supplies. You might get it wrong the first time out, failing to get your tarps tight and secure. Rest assured you would hear about it on delivery. Whatever mistakes you made that first time are unlikely to be repeated the next time. You will find a better way to do it on the next run. Load after load, you’ll get better at tarping.

2. Daily Observations

The laws of physics are a wonderful thing in that they can be learned through simple observation. A truck driver may not have taken high school or college physics prior to beginning his or her career but watching how loads and tarps respond during travel can make any truck driver a physics expert in no time at all.

Truck drivers with the best tarping skills are the same drivers who pay attention to the smallest of details. They pay close attention to how each load is tarped and then, during transport, how the load and its tarps respond. They pay attention to tarp movement at highway speeds; they pay attention to how tarps handle bad weather; they pay attention to how temperature extremes affect their tarps.

3. Advice from Others

Finally, the smart truck driver doesn’t turn away any advice offered by others. No trucker lives on an island, and no trucker knows everything about tarping. So receiving and offering sound advice is in the truck driver’s best interests. Drivers get advice from other truckers, from shippers, and even from police officers and DOT inspectors.

Imagine being at a roadside inspection when a state trooper notices one of your tarps isn’t as tight as it could be. If that trooper offers a word of advice based on his past observations, how would you respond? Smart truckers take the advice for what it is. If it is usable, great. If not, it is dismissed. No harm, no foul.

Next time you drive down the interstate and see a flatbed trailer with a tightly tarped load, don’t assume that the deploying of the tarps was an easy task. Truck drivers put a lot of work into securing their loads prior to departure. If you observe an exceptionally good tarping job, be confident that driver knows what he or she is doing.


What Kind of Tow Truck Do You Operate?

To the average person on the street, the tow truck is a modified pickup truck with extra tires on the back end and an on-board yoke for towing disabled cars. Few people pay any attention to the fact that the vehicle recovery industry has multiple kinds of trucks at its disposal for nearly every kind of job. If you are a tow operator, what kind of truck do you normally operate?

Different trucks are designed for different kinds of jobs. As such, the auto towing and hauling equipment drivers use differ from one recovery to the next. They have auto hauling straps, towing chains, winches, and hooks to work with. Equipment has to be matched to the job at hand to ensure it is done safely and efficiently.

We have put together a list of the different kinds of tow trucks below. If you are a tow operator, just remember this: who you choose to supply your straps, chains, etc. will play a role in your overall success. You have to have the right equipment to do the job. You are in luck, because Mytee Products has exactly what you need.

The Boom Truck

The boom truck is the biggest and baddest of all tow trucks. This is a vehicle built on the same kind of frame as an 18-wheeler tractor. It has an on-board adjustable boom capable of recovering extremely heavy vehicles or lifting a disabled car right out of a ditch.

The secret of the boom truck is its hydraulics. By combining hydraulics with telescoping booms, these trucks can access disabled vehicles that are all but inaccessible to other kinds of tow trucks. They are the only recovery vehicles suitable for extremely heavy lifting.

The Wheel-Lift Truck

The wheel-lift truck is one of the more common tow trucks used in the United States. It is built on the frame of a pickup, but everything underneath is reinforced for extra strength. On the back of the truck is mounted a hydraulic frame with a steel or aluminum alloy cradle that slides under the front wheels of the vehicle to lift it off the ground. Towing straps or chains are then used to secure the vehicle to the cradle.

The Integrated Truck

This kind of truck is a hybrid vehicle with both hydraulic cradle and boom on board. It is not a truck we see commonly used in this country. However, it’s seen a lot in Europe. It is ideal for recovering broken down vehicles in urban areas.

The Flatbed Truck

Next to the wheel-lift, the flatbed truck is the second most commonly used vehicle for towing operations in this country. Flatbeds make vehicle transport a lot safer because cars are taken completely off the road. The flatbed tilts up and slides down to meet the road, making it easy for the tow operator to drag the car on board using a winch and cable. The car is then secured with straps or chains prior to departure.

The Lift Flatbed Truck

Last is the lift flatbed truck, another kind of truck used more in Europe than here. This is a flatbed with an on-board boom. The boom is used to lift a car vertically and place it on the flatbed. Lift flatbed trucks are another good option for vehicle recovery in urban environments.

Regardless of the kind of truck used, tow operators rely on their winches, straps, and chains to do what they do. Here at Mytee Products, we are proud to supply the towing industry with all the necessary equipment. We hope you find what you’re looking for here on our site.


How Tough Is Your Headache Rack?

A story appearing last year on the automoblog.com website described two ‘autobots’ vehicles being sold at the 2016 Barrett-Jackson Auction in Arizona. One was a tractor that was custom built to portray the Optimus Prime character of Transformers fame. One of the things that caught our attention was the description of the headache rack mounted on the back of this truck. The article described it as being an “armor-like headache rack.”

Describing something as armor-like is a complement to its strengths and toughness. That led us to wonder about the toughness of the headache racks on the real-life trucks that traverse our nation’s highways. If you are a flatbed trucker, ask yourself just how tough your headache rack really is.

Up to the Task

There is a purpose for having a headache rack that goes above and beyond aesthetics.A headache rack is intended to protect both cab and driver in the event that cargo breaks free and shifts forward. The headache rack is supposed to prevent the cargo from crashing through the back of the tractor. With that in mind, a good headache rack has to be up to the task. It has to be strong enough to withstand the forces of physics in the event of an accident.

The purpose of a headache rack dictates that function is the priority when buying one. Yes, a clean and polished headache rack is a visual chrome feast for the eyes on a tricked-out truck that looks as good as it drives. But all the aesthetics will not mean much if that freshly polished rack cannot hold up to the forces of a shifting load during a forced hard stop. Truck drivers should buy their headache racks first and foremost as a safety device. After that they can talk about aesthetics and peripheral utility.

Shopping for a Rack

The headache rack is one area where it does not pay to skimp. So what do you look for while you’re shopping? Start by looking for something made with high-strength, premium alloys. An alloy is a material derived by combining multiple metals or a single metal with other elements.

Alloys are defined by their bonding characteristics. Thus, their superiority is found in their strength and durability. An aluminum alloy headache rack is going to be tougher and stronger than a pure aluminum alternative. Likewise for any other alloys a manufacturer might use.

Finally, make the effort to visually inspect any headache rack you choose before you buy it. If you are forced to purchase online because you cannot get to the supplier in person, make sure your purchase comes with a reasonable return policy just in case it arrives in less than perfect condition. Your visual inspection should include looking at all the welded seams and the entire face of the headache rack. There should be no cracks or breaks of any kind.

The Optimus Prime truck sold in 2016 is nothing but a Hollywood showpiece. As such, whether its headache rack is truly armor-like doesn’t really matter. It is just for looks. The same cannot be said for your own truck. If you are flatbed truck driver, you absolutely have to have an armor-like headache rack to protect yourself and your truck.


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.