More from: lumber tarps

How To Tarp the Most Common Flatbed Loads

Flatbed trailers are used to haul loads that do not fit well in dry goods vans. Consequently, cargo on the back of a flatbed trailer does not enjoy the same protection offered by four walls and a roof. Drivers have to take the responsibility of protecting cargo themselves, using truck tarps and other cargo control supplies to protect what they are hauling.

 

flatbed

The most common flatbed loads in the industry are:

  • Construction equipment
  • Finished machinery
  • Lumber and construction materials
  • Steel coil and tubing
  • Mining and drilling equipment
  • Auto parts.

Construction equipment generally needs no protection as long as you consider machinery that is built to be out in the weather. Backhoes, loaders, and the like can simply be secured to the trailer and taken where they need to go. The same is true for most pieces of mining and drilling equipment. However, just about everything else needs to be covered and protected in some way.

Finished Machinery

Finished machinery loads which include  CNC machines, boilers, and industrial air conditioning units, must be covered to prevent damage from road debris and the elements. The best way to do this is with rectangular machinery tarps that provide full coverage across the top and all sides. As an added bonus, machinery tarps tend to be the most versatile. They can be used with the widest range of loads.

Lumber and Construction Materials

Finished lumber and construction materials usually have to be covered with tarps even if shippers have covered them in plastic. Lumber tarps are the perfect tool as they are designed with flaps so as to cover the entire load – even in the rear. The only thing to watch out for with lumber tarps is that applying them can take longer so it would be best to have another set hands to help cover the lumber load.

Steel Coil and Tubing

Flatbed truckers know that steel coil and tubing comes in many different sizes and configurations. A trucker might haul four or six spools of steel coil on one run, then turn around and carry industrial-grade tubing laid flat across the length of the trailer for the next job.

Steel tarps are the best option for these kinds of loads. They come in multiple sizes, and their rectangular shape makes it easier to cover loads regardless of the configuration. Tarps can go over the top of chains and winch straps or be secured underneath.

Auto Parts

Deciding whether or not auto parts have to be covered depends on the shipper. New and used parts intended for installation will have to be protected from road debris and the elements; old parts destined for the scrap heap can usually make the journey uncovered. It has been our experience that standard machinery or steel tarps are the best choices for auto parts.

The Occasional Odd Load

Another thing flatbed truckers know is that there are those occasional odd loads that do not fit standards. For example, a trucker might have a trailer loaded with a combination of mining equipment and a vehicle for mine operations. The vehicle does not have to be covered, but the mining equipment does.

Odd loads require a bit of creativity from the drivers who carry them. It is up to the driver to figure out the best way to protect the cargo with tarps, straps, and other cargo control supplies. Drivers are always required to protect their loads no matter how odd these tend to be.

Mytee Products has everything flatbed truckers need to protect their cargo. Whether it’s steel, lumber or something completely out of the ordinary, we have the cargo control supplies you need to protect it.


It’s All Flatbeds and Lumber Tarps in Bitterroot

As the sun comes up on the Bitterroot National Forest in Montana, the trucks are already lining up on one of several logging roads now active in the forest. Those trucks, and their drivers, are waiting for loads of lumber to be carried to a sawmill in Seeley Lake and other logging towns nearby. Up to 10 trailers haul between 40 and 45 logs out of the forest every day. It’s all flatbeds and lumber tarps in Bitterroot, as it has been for decades.

The section of forest being worked at the time this blog post was written covers 165 acres of ponderosa pine. It is but a drop in the bucket when you consider the more than 1.58 million total acres the forest covers. Every one of those acres is systematically thinned as part of the federal government’s forestry management strategy. By the time the entire forest is thinned appropriately, it will be time to turn around and start all over again.

lumber-tarps

Forestry management is an important part of keeping the trees in the Bitterroot National Forest healthy and productive. All trees need plenty of sunshine and nutrient-rich soil, but ponderosa pine is especially needful. When forests are not properly managed, overly-dense pine groves can fall victim to insects, disease, and lack of enough sunlight due to the thick forest canopy. And, of course, forests that are not properly managed are always prone to devastating fires as a result of lightning storms.

Every trailer of logs and lumber tarps represents another acre of forest land properly managed by thinning. It is a way of life that not a lot of people understand. For the professional trucker, driving a truck along the quiet and narrow logging roads of Montana is quite a bit different from hauling a dry goods trailer down the interstate. There is nothing quite like it to those who do it.

Hauling Lumber Not Easy

Hauling cargo such as machinery and steel coil is comparatively easy next to lumber taken directly from a place like Bitterroot. In terms of the former, you simply hook up your trailer and go once your cargo has been properly secured and covered. Hauling lumber is decidedly different.

Preparing for the journey is pretty straightforward: Secure your lumber tarps, do your pre-trip inspection, and make sure any necessary paperwork is in order. That’s the easy part. The real adventure is bringing your rig out of the forest and onto the main highway. The thing about lumber hauling is that the logging roads truckers must navigate are not always straight and flat. In fact, rarely are they so.

It takes a very skilled truck driver to successfully navigate logging roads without damaging equipment or the lumber itself. Once a rig makes it to the main highway, life does get easier. But that does not mean the trucker no longer has to pay attention. The section of Montana where the crews are now working is well known for dense fog and icy roads – especially during the morning hours. The trucker has to be at the top of his/her game until the sun comes up and melts away the fog and ice.

Indeed, it is all about flatbeds and lumber tarps in the Bitterroot National Forest these days. All across the forest regions of Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon there are logging crews and truck drivers working hard to harvest lumber as part of a responsible management program. At Mytee Products, we are proud to supply truckers with high-quality lumber tarps they need to keep things rolling.

Sources:

  • Missoulian – http://missoulian.com/lifestyles/hometowns/productive-ground-lake-como-logging-underway-in-area-first-cut/article_554a8b49-3004-5544-bc4b-beb72a1e6270.html

The Science behind Flatbed Truck Tarps

Flatbed truck tarps are one of the most important tools a flatbed trucker can own. However, the tarps in the trucker’s toolbox are more than just randomly manufactured pieces of fabric in different colors. There is actually a science behind their design, science you may not be aware of. Flatbed truck tarps are designed in such a way, as to provide maximum cargo protection in a package that is affordable and relatively easy to use.

The science behind flatbed truck tarps begins with the shape. Obviously, steel tarps are long and rectangular where machinery tarps tend to be squares or smaller rectangles. Lumber tarps combine long rectangles with additional flaps that come down over the sides of the trailer.

flatbed

Rectangles Are Extremely Flexible

Rectangles are the preferred shape for flatbed truck tarps because the rectangle offers maximum flexibility. A rectangle allows significant coverage for loads of all kinds, but with a narrow profile that makes it easy to handle across the back of a flatbed or a dump truck box. You can still get very good coverage with a square, but squares need to be bigger to cover the same area. This makes them less flexible and harder to work with. It is for this reason that square tarps are usually reserved for covering machinery or acting as smoke protection. Rectangles are still the preferred shape for most flatbed loads.

Flat vs. Shaped Tarps

Campers and hikers are known to prefer shaped tarps because their catenary cuts and curves provide durability and strength, especially along seams. A good shaped tarp has a very strong spine that makes it ideal as a shelter or hammock. Nevertheless, shaped tarps do not work well for most flatbed applications.

A shaped tarp is limited in coverage by the shape it takes. On the other hand, a flat tarp has no such limits. It works equally well whether the truck driver is covering a set of steel coils or a load of construction materials. The tarp will conform to whatever shape it is applied to with maximum protection at all times. Not so with the shaped tarp. That is why you don’t see shaped tarps used by truckers except in very rare and specialized circumstances.

Material Choices Equally Important

The science behind flatbed truck tarps even covers the materials manufacturers choose to use. For example, all of the tarps we carry at Mytee Products are made with heavy-duty vinyl or canvas manufactured as a woven product. It is the weaving that gives the materials their incredible strength.

A woven vinyl material is as strong as any other commercial or industrial fabric yet still lightweight enough to be easy to handle. Woven canvas is somewhat heavier, but it offers the added benefit of breathability for applications where moisture is a concern. In either case, the fabrics are woven according to detailed specifications that make them ideal for tarp manufacturing.

Grommets and D-rings

Lastly, grommets and D-rings are built into flatbed truck tarps to make securing them to trailers as easy as possible. Nonetheless, neither grommets nor D-rings are placed randomly. Grommets are sewn into the outside edges at specific intervals that offer the maximum number of securement options without sacrificing material integrity. The same is true with D-rings. Designers also place extra D-rings on specific kinds of tarps that make covering loads easier. The D-rings found on your average lumber tarp are a good example.

Tarp design is anything but haphazard. There is a lot of important science behind flatbed truck tarps that make them the perfect tools for their intended purposes.


5 Reasons Truck Drivers Prefer Steel Tarps

Flatbed truck drivers utilize several different kinds of truck tarps depending on the loads they carry. There are lumber tarps, smoke tarps, canvas tarps and the most preferred of all, heavy-duty steel tarps. Where the average driver may have only one each of the other kinds of tarps, he or she typically has a full inventory of steel tarps of different sizes. Steel tarps are easily the most preferred for all sorts of loads.

Originally designed for covering steel cable and other similar products, steel tarps have proved to be very valuable for all kinds of loads. Below are the top five reasons flatbed truck drivers prefer steel tarps to any other kind.

Steel-Tarp

1.Strength and Durability

The number one reason steel tarps are preferred is because truckers have come to rely on their strength and durability. Your average steel tarp is made of tough, 18-ounce vinyl that will stand up to a lot of wear and tear. The only caveat here is that the trucker must be careful to use edge protectors to prevent damage to the tarp from cargo underneath. However, with quality edge protectors and the right kind of securement equipment, a heavy-duty steel tarp can easily provide years of faithful service.

2.Load Versatility

Truckers appreciate heavy-duty steel tarps because these are pretty versatile. They can be used to cover just about any load requiring heavy-duty protection. By contrast, your average smoke tarp is much too small to be used on any load requiring more than just minimal protection against engine exhaust. Similarly, lumber tarps are rather large by design; they also come with built-in flaps for covering the sides and rear of a load. They are far too cumbersome for small loads.

The steel tarp is manufactured in a rectangular shape that can come in a variety of sizes. This makes it ideal for many different types of loads, as well as loads of all shapes and sizes.

3.Load Securement

A good quality steel tarp is constructed with a series of grommets evenly spaced along the perimeter and extra D-rings in strategic locations across the body of the fabric. The inclusion of both allows for multiple ways of loads securement using bungee cords, bungee ropes, straps, and even chains. You can never have too many options when it comes to loads securement.

4.Size and Weight

Steel tarps are smaller and lighter than lumber tarps, making them easier to apply, remove and fold. This is important inasmuch as truck drivers can easily be injured when working with tarps. The lighter and easier a tarp is to work with, the lower the chances of injury are. As an added benefit, the size and weight of a typical steel tarp make it possible to deploy and remove rather quickly.

5.Tarp Storage

Last but not least is tarp storage. When tarps are not in use, they need to be stored in the toolbox or on a cab-mounted rack. Maximizing storage means folding tarps as flat as possible with no air between layers. This can be challenging with a larger lumber tarp. The design, size and weight of the steel tarp make it fairly easy to fold up neatly for storage. Most truckers can manage on their own; those who cannot need the help of only one other person to fold and store their tarps.

Flatbed truck drivers prefer steel tarps because of the versatility, ease of use and durability. Every flatbed trucker in the business should have a good supply of steel tarps on board at all times.


Roll Tarps : Making Life Easier for the American Trucker

Companies such as Mytee Products sell many truck tarps to flatbed and dump truck drivers. Tarps are tools of the trade for protecting loads and meeting the regulations of the various states. We carry all sorts of products ranging from standard steel tarps to the largest and toughest lumber tarps. Recently, we have noticed a trend among truckers buying more roll tarps. These tarps are being used with different motorized rolling systems to make life a lot easier for the American trucker.

A roll tarp differs from standard steel and lumber tarps in how it is applied. Rather than being manually deployed or lowered onto a load using a tarping machine, the roll tarp is connected to a mechanized frame that rolls and unrolls the tarp with either an electric motor or a manual crank. Deploying the tarp results in the system unrolling it down its length; the retraction process works just the opposite.

roll-tarp

Roll tarps have traditionally been used on dump trucks and grain trailers where it is nearly impossible to safely use any other kind. However, the industry is coming up with new and creative ways to use roll tarps on standard flatbed trailers as well. Drivers choosing to go this route are finding tarping a lot easier.

Dump Trucks and Grain Trailers

Dump trucks and grain trailers usually carry loads that are not especially sensitive to environmental conditions. So why cover them with roll tarps? Because the states have laws in place requiring load securement in order to avoid anything flying off the truck or trailer and striking a car following behind. A dump truck carrying a load of gravel provides a good example.

If that gravel load is exceptionally dry, the wind could pick up a few pieces of rock, which could then fly off the load and strike a car. Even a small rock can break a windshield at 60 mph. At the very least, such an incident would result in damage to the car that needs repair. In a worst-case scenario, the shock of the event could cause the car driver to lose control and drive off the road. This is why the states require dump truck and grain trailer loads be secure.

Roll Tarps and Flatbed Trailers

Flatbed truckers can now use roll tarps by combining them with sidewall systems. Some of the most popular sidewall systems include a set of aluminum posts and panels that can be assembled around the perimeter of a flatbed trailer in mere minutes. Another popular system uses framing similar to what you might find on a covered wagon. In either case, once the sidewall system is in place the roll tarp can be deployed with little effort.

Flatbed truckers seem more willing to invest in these kinds of systems because they are:

•Easier to use than standard tarps
•Safer in terms of wind
•Safer in terms of walking on loads
•Less prone to damaging sensitive cargo underneath
•More than capable of withstanding bad weather
•More likely to last longer due to better deployment.

Another factor flatbed truck drivers have to consider is the time it takes them to deploy and remove a tarp. If using a standard tarp takes 30 minutes while using a roll tarp takes five, that’s an extra 50 minutes on each load the trucker isn’t spending on dealing with tarps. That time can be spent turning the wheels instead.

Mytee Products offers a selection of roll parts for truckers. All of our tarps are made with the highest quality materials and are compatible with most standard roll systems.