More from: flatbed truck

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.


3 Reasons Tool Boxes Are Diamond Plated

You have probably noticed that most tool boxes manufactured for flatbed trucks are diamond plated in some way, shape, or form. Sometimes just the top is plated while other times doors and sides are plated too. Have you ever wondered why? There are three very good reasons for diamond plating.

For the record, diamond plating is not exclusive to truck trailer tool boxes or aluminum panels. Diamond plating’s raised lines pattern can be applied to aluminum, steel, or stainless steel using a hot rolling procedure. You can build anything with plated panels that you might otherwise build with non-plated panels.

Non-Slip, Non-Skid Surface

Diamond plated metals were originally developed to provide a non-slip, non-skid surface for industrial uses. The most common applications for the metal plates were walkways, cat walks, ramps, and staircases. Diamond plating worked so well that manufacturers started applying it to fire trucks, ambulances, and cargo trailers.

Today it is normal to see diamond plated surfaces on emergency vehicles. It is used in the construction of truck tool boxes with the understanding that truck drivers often have to stand on their boxes when securing cargo, storing straps and tarps, and washing the cab. It is nice to have that non-slip, non-skid surface under your feet.

Extra Grip in Weather

There are times when metal surfaces have to be handled in inclement weather. For a truck driver, that might mean moving a tool box from one location to another. It could mean the simple act of opening or closing a tool box door in a driving rain or while wearing gloves. That extra bit of grip helps either way.

A diamond plated surface can make it easier to install tool boxes as well. The extra grip makes it easier to hold a box in place while it is being secured to mounting brackets.

It Just Looks Good

We have to be honest and say that diamond plated aluminum is not just a utilitarian product. There are manufacturers who use it on truck tool boxes and running boards simply because it looks good. The raised texture adds a bit of style and character whereas smooth surface metals tend to fade away without being noticed.

Truck drivers who compete with show vehicles put a lot of effort into metal surfaces. As you may have noticed, they are not shy about using diamond plated chrome and aluminum either. Of course, making diamond plated metal truly eye-catching requires keeping it clean and polished. Fortunately, doing so isn’t that hard.

A truck driver only needs a quality cleaning solution, a piece of scrap carpet, and a little elbow grease to keep diamond plated metal looking its best. Cleaning only takes a few minutes if it is done regularly. Clean aluminum also protects itself through oxidation, by the way, so keeping aluminum tool boxes cleaned and polished adds to longer life.

We Have Your Aluminum Tool Boxes

As a flatbed truck driver, you know how important aluminum tool boxes are to your daily routine. You would be lost without them. You use your boxes for everything from tarp storage to carrying the hand tools you need to keep your truck on the road. Here at Mytee Products, we are thrilled to be able to carry a selection of tool boxes suitable for most rig set-ups.

Our inventory currently includes six different tool boxes for both tractors and trailers. Each box is made with heavy-duty aluminum and solid welded seams to keep cargo clean and dry year after year. We also carry the mounting brackets you’ll need to affix your boxes to your rig.


5 Flatbed Trucking Uses for Mesh Tarps

The mesh tarps we sell at Mytee have a lot of great uses around the home, including providing shade on those sunny summer days. We sell a lot of these tarps to construction companies as well. They are used as privacy barriers during both building and road construction. As a flatbed truck driver, you might be interested to know that mesh tarps can be very helpful to your job.

Our truck driving clients tend to buy more lumber, steel, and smoke tarps than anything else. But we do cater to some drivers who need a supply of mesh tarps on hand as well. They buy mesh tarps for five different kinds of loads:

1. Sod Loads

Covering a load of sod is not necessarily to protect it from the weather or flying debris. It is really just to keep everything in place during the trip. The challenge with sod is preventing the sun from cooking it during transport. That’s where mesh tarps come in handy. A steel or lumber tarp would trap too much heat underneath, heat that could kill grass before it ever reaches its destination. And because sod is so fragile, truckers just cannot afford to take chances.Mesh tarps keep everything in place, while still allowing plenty of air circulation.

2. Tree Loads

Flatbed truckers face the same challenges with tree loads that come with hauling sod. They need to use tarps to keep everything in place during transport, but lumber and steel tarps can cook trees. Mesh tarps are the solution. It is also interesting to note that tree loads do not usually have to go great distances. They spend less time under tarps as a result.

3. Agricultural Products

Some agricultural products stacked in crates are better served by steel tarps that can keep the weather out. But like sod and trees, other agricultural products are terribly sensitive to heat. Fresh fruits and vegetables immediately come to mind. A truck driver may load crates of fresh produce and then cover the stack with a couple of mesh tarps to prevent any of the product from flying off during transport. The produce can breathe during transport, reducing the risk of spoilage.

4. Beehives

Transporting beehives is interesting, to say the least. Most times, beekeepers do not need their hives covered during transport because the bees are sedated. But a trip that is longer than usual may require tarping. Once again, mesh tarps are the ideal solution. They allow the hives to get plenty of air while still keeping everything in place.

5. Construction Materials

Using mesh tarps to cover construction materials isn’t routine, but the need does arise from time to time. Think of things like expensive slate tiles or imported paver stones. These kinds of materials are usually wrapped in plastic after being placed on skids. The plastic keeps everything in place, but shippers may ask for a tarp just to prevent any road debris from coming in direct contact with the load. A mesh tarp will do the trick. Truckers prefer the mesh tarp for these loads because it is lighter and easier to apply.

Mytee Products carries high-quality mesh tarps in different sizes and colors. We even have purpose-built mesh tarps made just for bee hauling. You can browse the entire inventory of mesh tarps we carry in our online store. Rest assured that every product we sell is manufactured to the highest standards of quality in accordance with all regulations. When you purchase from Mytee, you are purchasing cargo control equipment and supplies you know you can rely on.


The Real Value of Corner and Edge Protectors

Corner and edge protectors represent a rather insignificant investment on the part of the flatbed truck. They cost a lot less than tarps, winch straps, and just about all the other cargo control supplies you might purchase. They certainly cost less than paying for damaged cargo. However, the real value in corner edge protectors is not found in the retail price. It is found in what they do for the truck driver.

Just to be clear, corner and edge protectors are used to eliminate direct contact between cargo and tarps and, when necessary, other pieces of cargo. They can be made of steel, plastic, or rubber. Mytee Products carries 14 different options in a variety of styles, materials, and colors.

Edge Protectors Save You Money

The first thing corner and edge protectors do for the truck driver is save money. How so? Remember, truck drivers are responsible for the integrity of their loads from the moment of pick up until the time of unloading. If anything arrives damaged, the driver could be financially liable.

Flatbed truckers commonly carry cargo insurance for their own protection. But keep in mind that insurance rates stay low only if the driver does not make any claims. By investing a small amount in corner and edge protectors, drivers are reducing the likelihood of damaged cargo that could result in an insurance claim. They are keeping their insurance rates as low as possible at the same time. That saves money.

Corner Protectors Protect the Driver’s Reputation

As a flatbed trucker, you may not run into too many shippers willing to mandate the use of corner and edge protectors. Yet they still expect you to take good care of the cargo you are being entrusted with. Don’t you think shippers are paying attention to what you do? Of course they are.

When shippers and receivers know a truck driver voluntarily uses corner and edge protectors, they think more highly of that driver. It goes without saying that a driver’s reputation to protect cargo is improved with every effort taken to properly protect cargo. Furthermore, drivers with good reputations for cargo control get the most lucrative loads more often.

Edge Protectors Reduce Driver Anxiety

You can value your edge and corner protectors in dollars and cents simply by keeping track of how much money you spend on them. But those little pieces of plastic and metal can do something for you that cannot be valued in terms of money: they can greatly reduce or completely eliminate your anxiety.

Anxiety over protecting cargo is part and parcel with flatbed trucking. Preventing damage is always at the back of the trucker’s mind, as it should be. But why be more anxious than you need to be? Better yet, why be anxious at all? If you use corner and edge protectors the way they are supposed to be used, the risk of damage from contact with other surfaces is minimal. So is the risk of damage from road vibration.

Purchase Your Corner Protectors from Mytee

The amount of money you invest in an ample supply of corner and edge protectors is relatively minor compared to what you invest in other cargo control supplies. In light of that, there really is no valid reason to not have edge and corner protectors in your toolbox. We recommend a variety of options including steel protectors with chain slots, elongated v-board edge protectors, plastic tarp protectors, and rubber corner protectors.

Before you decide to purchase your next round of corner and edge protectors, browse our inventory. We have everything you need at very reasonable prices.