More from: flatbed truck

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.


Why Headache Racks: The Definitive Answer

If we earned $100 every time a new flatbed truck driver asked us how the headache rack got its name, we might not have to sell trucking supplies to stay in business. Be that as it may, the question about the name of headache racks is as old as the rack itself.

For the record, a headache rack is a large piece of steel or aluminum mounted on the back of a truck cab. You see them on 18 wheelers and larger pickup trucks. Professional truck drivers often use their headache racks as a place to hang their chains and bungee straps.

For the remainder of this post, we want to talk about the name ‘headache rack’ and where it came from. If you are looking for a definitive answer, we have it: there is no definitive answer.

Protecting the Driver from Renegade Cargo

The first explanation of the headache rack name has to do with renegade cargo crashing through the back of a truck cab and injuring the driver. For a long time, there was a popular article circulating on the internet claiming that both the name and the device itself goes back to the days when surfing first became popular.

As the thinking goes, the racks were installed on pickup trucks to prevent harm to drivers if a surfboard were to break loose and crash through the back window. There’s only one problem with this theory: headache racks were around before surfing became popular. Second, you can spend all day traversing the roads of California and Hawaii, and you will probably never see a pickup truck with a headache rack carrying a load of surfboards.

There are other stories that use the same general theme without specifically referencing surfboards. The general idea being that headache racks are really the domain of pickup truck drivers attempting to protect their own heads.

Giving the Driver Headache

The second explanation is one that makes more sense where truck drivers are concerned. This explanation suggests that drivers, while working around their rigs securing cargo or doing maintenance, have a tendency to hit their heads on the metal racks. Unwittingly striking your head on such a large piece of metal would undoubtedly result in a headache.

If you are a professional truck driver, you are familiar with the scenario described here. Every truck driver has done it at least once, and many of you know drivers who do it routinely. Some hit their head so often that they have permanent marks. It is not a pleasant experience, to say the least.

We Have What You Need

The definitive answer about why headache racks are called as such is clear: there is no definitive answer. Therefore, there is no need for truck drivers to dispute or debate any longer. Far better to put your energies into being better drivers capable of delivering loads on time and in good condition.

As for the headache racks themselves, rest assured that Mytee Products has what you need. We have seven different models to fit a variety of needs and styles. We also carry installation kits, chain hangers, light brackets, and even tarp trays.

Your headache rack does not have to give you a headache at the time of purchase. Just shop the Mytee Products inventory to find what you’re looking for, make a quick purchase, and relax while we ship it right to your door. You’ll be protecting your head, or injuring it, in no time at all.


Ratchet Straps and Palletizing Strategies

On a beautiful spring day in central Florida, a flatbed truck was seen traveling down the road with a load of pallets packed with decorative paver stones. The pallets had been completely wrapped with shrink wrap before being loaded onto the trailer. To keep them secure, the driver ran two ratchet straps over each pallet row with large, plastic edge protectors between the straps and the cargo. This was the perfect setup for this kind of load.

Key to the driver’s strategy was securing the pallets from movement without damaging the paving stones. Now, it might seem a bit of overkill to use the edge protectors in light of the fact that the pallets were wrapped in shrink wrap, but shrink wrap does not cover the tops of pallet loads – just the sides. The highest layer of paver stones was fully exposed on the top surface. Edge protectors were necessary to protect the stones and ratchet straps alike.

Every Situation Is Different

The scenario described here is a perfect illustration of how wide the variation can be in palletized loads. For example, just because the shipper in this case used shrink wrap on the pallets doesn’t mean every shipper will do likewise. Paver stones are heavy enough that they will stay in place pretty much on their own, so some shippers will use a couple of aluminum straps along with large pieces of cardboard rather than shrink wrap.

How cargo is palletized really depends on the cargo itself and what the shipper believes is necessary to provide adequate protection. It is still the driver’s responsibility to get cargo to its intended destination without damage, regardless of how it is palletized. Therefore, it is not wise for drivers to rely on shippers and their palletizing strategies. Every situation is different.

In this case, all the driver needed to do to properly secure and protect the pallets was to have them stacked in rows before securing them with ratchet straps and corner protectors. If the palletizing method had been different, the driver might have had to choose another means of securing them.

This solution was relatively simple because all the pallets were of uniform size and height. Indeed, securing this load was probably one of the easiest things the driver ever had to do. There were no tarps involved, the weight of the pallets prevented them from being stacked, and the cargo itself was heavy enough that it was not prone to excessive movement.

The Right Kind of Equipment

As cargo and palletizing strategies are different, a flatbed driver has to keep a good supply of all the right equipment on board. In this case, it means ratchet straps and edge protectors. In other cases, drivers will need bungee straps, tarps of various sizes and materials, and even wood blocks to prevent cargo from moving. The inventory of necessary equipment can be rather extensive for truckers who are willing to haul just about anything.

Here at Mytee Products, we do our best to maintain a solid inventory of all the equipment and supplies to flatbed truck needs. We also strive to ensure that all the products in our inventory come from trusted brand names truckers know and recognize. This helps us to ensure quality with every product sold.

We have no way of knowing where the trucker in the scenario described here purchased his ratchet straps. But we can say that if they were purchased from Mytee Products, they were made with high-quality bedding material built to last. They were the perfect tool for securing that kind of load.


Basic Principles of Flatbed Rigging

Using a flatbed trailer to haul heavy construction equipment and other oversized loads is one of the simplest solutions for what can often be a tough problem. Still, the actual processes of rigging and loading are not so simple. Engineers take into account complex mathematical formulae applied to rigging and loading for the purposes of making sure everything stays safe for the duration of a move. Those mathematical equations are used to figure out everything from the best way to move a load to how to secure it effectively.

Mytee Products’ inventory of flatbed rigging supplies includes everything the flatbed trucker needs to work safely. In addition to standard cargo control equipment such as chains and straps, we also carry turnbuckles, rope clips, wire rope thimbles, block and tackle equipment, wire rope, and more.

 

wire-rope

So, just what goes into safe and effective flatbed rigging? A lot, quite frankly. Here are just a few of the basic principles engineers should pay attention to:

  •  Load Weight – Just about everything having to do with flatbed trucking starts and ends with the weight of the load. Tractors are only capable of hauling so much weight safely, and cargo control supplies are rated according to how much weight they can effectively handle. Before any oversized load can be configured for transport, engineers need to know how much it weighs.
  •  Permitted Axle Weight – America’s roads are rated according to how much. weight they can safely handle. That weight is expressed as a maximum permitted axle weight. Engineers preparing to move oversized loads have to consider the routes taken by truck drivers and the permitted axle weights on those routes. Unfortunately, sometimes a heavy load requires taking an indirect route in order to stay safe.
  •  Center of Gravity – Any experienced flatbed truck driver will tell you that getting the center of gravity right is critical to safe loading. Being off just a few inches can make hauling an oversized load more difficult and dangerous than it needs to be.
  • Road Surface Grades – Road surface grades can add to the challenge of hauling heavy loads. Flatbed rigging takes into account road grades for cargo control purposes. For example, a truck that will be traversing steep grades in the Sierra Nevada will need extra rigging to keep the load in place under additional stress.
  • Turning Requirements – Tight turns are another problem for oversized loads. Engineers have to account for turning radii along certain portions of the route with the knowledge that tight turns put additional stress on both trailers and the loads they are carrying.
  • Overhead Height Restrictions – Lastly, flatbed rigging must account for overhead height restrictions presented by bridges and overpasses. As with permitted axle weights, height restrictions may partially determine the route taken by a trucker hauling an oversized load.

As you can see, there is more to flatbed rigging than simply placing a load on the back of a trailer and tying it down. A lot of work goes into making sure loads get where they are going safely, especially when those loads are oversized or particularly heavy.

As a company specializing in the trucking industry and its associated equipment, we are committed to making sure flatbed truckers have the equipment and supplies they need for flatbed rigging and cargo control. We invite you to browse our entire inventory of rigging supplies and cargo control equipment before you make your next purchase.

All products sold by Mytee meet or exceed industry standards and regulations. We carry only the highest quality products from brands you trust.


Marking Tarps for Professionalism and Protection

Flatbed truckers invest a lot of money in vinyl tarps. It is a necessary part of the job given the fact that the driver is responsible for the cargo he or she is carrying from the moment the load is signed off for. Vinyl tarps offer protection against all of the dangers of the open road including debris, weather, and truck exhaust. In that case, why not go a step further? Why not use tarps to advertise your services?

Dry vans and reefers are adorned with all sorts of advertisements letting the whole world know the company behind the trailer. Owner-operators put identifying markers on their tractors for the same purpose. Nevertheless, the flatbed trailer offers nothing by way of marketing or promotion. The trucker can take advantage of this by marking his/her tarps using a stenciling kit that includes vinyl ink.

Professionalism and Protection

A well-marked tarp that has been carefully marked with a stenciling kit demonstrates the professionalism of the driver behind the wheel. Not only does it bear the company name and telephone number, it demonstrates to shippers that a driver has taken the time to do a good job. Straight, neat, stenciled letters helps to promote a professional image.

stencil-kit

As for protection, marking the vinyl tarps with your company name and phone number makes it less likely they will be stolen. Believe it or not, this is something construction contractors do all the time. They use stencils and spray paint to mark everything from ladders to scaffolding to their own vinyl or canvas tarps.

Tips for Marking Your Tarps

Applying your name and telephone number to the vinyl truck tarps is not difficult in principle. However, it is not as easy as buying a run-of-the-mill can of spray paint and going to town. In fact, using spray paint is a bad idea.

Regular spray paint does not adhere well to vinyl materials. A thin coat can wear off quickly just by being exposed to weather conditions. A thick coat may withstand the weather somewhat better, but it can be peeled off with very little effort. The solution is to use a vinyl ink that is specifically designed for use with things such as vinyl and poly truck tarps.

Mytee carries a stenciling kit that includes lettered stencils and a can of vinyl ink from Marsh Shipping Supply Company. Marsh is a leading name in all sorts of marketing materials and equipment, so you can depend on their vinyl ink to work as advertised.

Before you mark your tarps, be sure that they are clean and dry wherever you plan to apply the ink. It is also good idea to apply it indoors if possible. If you do not have an indoor space large enough, be sure to choose a warm and relatively wind-free day for marking.

Spread your tarp flat on the ground and pull it as tightly as possible. It is especially important to get the area you plan to mark as tight and flat as you can. You may have to weigh down the perimeter of the area to be marked using bricks or other heavy objects. Once the vinyl ink is applied, you will need to allow for plenty of drying time. The label on your ink can should tell you how long drying takes.

If you are a flatbed truck operator, you might want to consider marking your vinyl tarps for the purposes of marketing and protection. Identifying your tarps with your company name and phone number is a great way to promote your business while also reducing the chances of theft.