More from: Ratchet straps

Easy Care and Maintenance Tips for Ratchet Straps

Your ratchet straps are among the most important tools you own as a flatbed trucker. Without ratchet straps, you would be left to secure everything you haul with chains and ropes. Imagine the amount of work that would be! Be that as it may, you need to protect your investment in ratchet straps by taking care of each one as though it were gold.

The thing about ratchet straps is that they are not invincible. They can wear out and break over time. A good goal is to maximize the life of your straps by taking care of them as best you can. To that end, we recommend a handful of easy care and maintenance tips gleaned from experienced drivers who have visited our warehouse.

Keep Straps Out of the Sun

The sun’s ultraviolet rays break down both nylon and polyester fibers. This is what causes ratchet straps to discolor and become brittle. It is best to keep straps out of the sun when they are not in use. For our money, the best way to go is to either store your ratchet straps in an exterior toolbox or somewhere in the back of your cab.

Note that the sun will eventually damage webbing material to a point of reducing its strength. Keep an eye on discoloration as the first signal. When a strap looks unusually pale, be extra vigilant in your visual inspections. Webbing material that has lost almost all its color is probably on its way out.

Don’t Store Wet Straps

Mold and mildew are never a truck driver’s friends. They are especially damaging to ratchet straps inasmuch as mold and mildew can weaken fibers over time. Therefore, treat your ratchet straps the same way you treat your tarps in terms of moisture. Never store a wet strap except in an emergency situation. Instead, let it thoroughly dry before putting it away. If you do end up with mold on a strap, do not use a chlorine-based product to clean it. Use a product that is friendly to the webbing material the strap is made of.

Remove Webbing from Handles

When taking ratchet straps out of use, be sure to remove webbing from the handles. This prevents the webbing from getting too tightly wrapped around the spindle or catching on the teeth of the ratchet. You’ll find that your ratchet straps last a lot longer just by following this one simple tip.

Wrap Webbing around the Ratchet

With webbing removed from the handle, we recommend wrapping it entirely around the ratchet and securing it with a rubber band. This protects the ratchet from road vibration while also keeping everything in your toolbox neat and tidy.

Lubricate the Ratchets

Finally, be sure to lubricate your ratchets with a dry silicone spray or industrial lubricating oil. We recommend against solvents like WD-40, as their lubricating properties are rather short-lived. Whatever your lubricant of choice, use it carefully and sparingly. Do your best to avoid allowing lubricant to come in contact with strap webbing.

As always, thoroughly inspect ratchet straps as you are tying down your load. If you ever question the integrity of a strap or ratchet, don’t use it. You are better off being safe than sorry. Remember that it only takes one failure to create big problems. Those are problems you do not need.

Mytee Products is your source for everything flatbed trucking, including ratchet straps. Before you take to the road for your next job, make sure you have all the straps, tarps, and protectors, and bungee straps you need.


Tips for Hauling Sensitive Industrial Machinery

As a flatbed trucker, have you ever had the experience of hauling sensitive industrial machinery that the shipper expects to arrive with nary a scratch? If so, you know how challenging this can be. Road vibration can be an absolute killer when it comes to industrial machinery. Just a little vibration can do a lot of damage, even if you are not going thousands of miles.

To say that hauling industrial machinery is more than just tying it down with bungee straps is to state the obvious. These kinds of loads require a little TLC along with a basic understanding of how road vibrations affect different kinds of cargo. It can take years to learn all the tricks of the trade for protecting sensitive machinery.

If you are new to the flatbed industry, don’t be afraid to take sensitive industrial machinery loads. Consider such loads a challenge. Then do what you can to learn how to transport them safely, including heeding the tips explained below.

Prepare Machinery Properly

The first step in hauling sensitive industrial machinery is to prepare the cargo for loading. The good news is that shippers often take care of this stuff themselves. It is fairly common for truckers to arrive at the yard and find machines already wrapped in cardboard and plastic, and secured to pallets. If that is not the case, the driver should insist that the shipper prepare the machines properly.

Loading and Positioning

Once the loading process begins, the truck driver is in control. The driver is ultimately responsible for the cargo from the moment it touches his/her trailer to the moment it is taken off, so make the effort to protect yourself by taking the lead in the loading process. The idea is to guarantee machinery is loaded in a way that allows you to protect it through your cargo control procedures.

The general rule for sensitive industrial machinery is to keep individual pieces from making direct contact with one another, if possible. Keep them as far apart as you can. If the number of pieces being loaded dictates that they have to be placed relatively close to one another, you’ll have to use your best judgment.

Edge Protectors, Blankets, and Tie-Downs

This next part of the process is the most critical of all. After machinery has been put into position, it’s now up to you to eliminate all risk of damage. You should immediately begin thinking about corner and edge protectors. Wherever you can place one, you should. Use corner and edge protectors to prevent direct contact among multiple pieces of machinery. You also want to prevent contact between machinery and your tie-downs and tarps.

If need be, you may want to throw moving blankets over the top of the machinery and into empty spaces. Then securely tighten everything down with ratchet straps. There should be something between every strap and the machinery it secures, whether that be an edge protector or blanket.

Keep Tarps Taught

Our last tip is to keep your tarps taught throughout the entire journey. There is nothing more frustrating than going to great lengths to protect sensitive machinery only to find that a tarp left flapping in the wind caused some damage.

The trucker’s best friend for this job is the bungee strap. Tarps can be secured to the bed of the trailer using bungee straps at every grommet. The driver can then use bungee rope or a series of straps connected to go around the perimeter of the cargo. Securing the perimeter at the top and bottom will keep tarps tight and in place.

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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.


Inventorying Cargo Control for Insurance Purposes

Every truck driver is familiar with the principle of inventorying cargo control supplies in advance of rougher winter weather. You need to know what you have so you know what to buy to be ready for the coming wind, snow, and sleet of winter. Yet the stormy summer of 2017 has been a reminder that there is another important reason to inventory your cargo control equipment and supplies: insurance claims.

Whether you are an owner-operator or work for a carrier, cargo control equipment and supplies are considered part of the business to which they belong. As such, any losses relating to things like tarps and toolboxes are subject to insurance claims.

The problem is that you cannot claim what you do not know you have. Furthermore, you can only make claims based on events and subsequent damage as outlined in your policy. You may have pieces in your inventory that are already suffering from minor wear or damage; they may not be eligible for an insurance claim should that wear or damage lead to a catastrophic failure during a storm.

Know Exactly What You Have

The one side of the insurance inventory coin dictates that you need to know exactly what you have on board at any given time. So, create a running inventory of everything you own. We are talking tarps, ratchet straps, ratchets and binders, corner and edge protectors, bungee straps, blocks, chains, and everything else you use for cargo control.

Where tarps are concerned, it is important to distinguish exactly what kinds of tarps you have. You may have a variety that includes steel, lumber, and smoke tarps. You may have a larger number of machinery tarps than anything else; that would be noted in your inventory.

Binders are another item that you may possess in different variations. Be sure to detail every binder in your box according to type. And while you’re at it, make sure to inventory your hand tools as well. They can be claimed if they are lost in an accident or storm.

Know the Condition of Each Item

Taking inventory for the purpose of determining the condition of your cargo control supplies is important for a couple of reasons. First is the issue explained earlier in this post: you may not be able to claim a piece of equipment that was already showing signs of wear or damage prior to the incident in question. In fact, if the failure of such a piece of equipment contributed to a loss of cargo, that cargo may not be fully covered either.

The second reason condition is important has to do with the kind of insurance coverage you have. Your policy might offer to pay the replacement value of lost cargo control supplies, or it may pay the actual value. Replacement value is the amount of money it would take to replace an item at its current retail price. Actual value is the is real value of an item based on its age, condition, etc.

Actual value dictates that things like tarps and ratchet straps are worth less over time. That is not necessarily good or bad, but it is further motivation to make sure all your cargo control supplies are in good working condition.

While you are conducting an inventory, you may discover that you are short on one or two items. We have you covered here at Mytee Products. You will find everything you need for safe and efficient cargo control in our online store.


The Secret to Preventing Tarp Billowing

After spending 20 to 30 minutes tarping a load, nothing aggravates a flatbed trucker more than looking out the mirror 25 miles down the road and seeing one or more of those tarps billowing in the wind. Billowing tarps reduce fuel efficiency and risk both straps and cargo. Truckers hate billowing tarps.

The question many new truck drivers struggle with is how to prevent billowing. After all, moving down the highway at 65 mph creates a lot of air movement around a flatbed load. Any natural wind added to the equation just makes things worse.

So, what is the solution? The secret to preventing tarp billowing is in how tarps are applied at various points of a load.

In the below post, we will explain how to secure tarps that will not billow as you drive down the road. You can use ratchet straps, bungee straps, bungee rope, or even nylon rope as you see fit. A combination of bungee straps and ratchet straps is the best way to go for efficiency and speed.

Tight at the Front

Physics and common sense dictate that air flows across a load from front to back. Therefore, common sense also dictates that tarps should be getting the most attention at the front of the load. Veteran truckers who tarp well, will tell you that the front of the load is key.

The most important thing for preventing billowing is to make sure the tarp at the front is as flat and tight as possible. If you do not give air a clear path under the front of the tarp, you will reduce the likelihood of billowing across its entire surface. So think tight and flat.

One suggestion from veteran truckers is to start by securing the front corners of the tarp with bungee straps. Pull the tarp tight and secure the rear with bungee straps as well. Then go back to the front of the load and apply one ratchet strap across the top of the tarp as far forward as possible. You can then use bungee straps or bungee rope to go around the front edge of the tarp, hooking to a strap on either side, to keep the vertical surface of the tarp lying flat.

Work Your Way Back

Once the front of the tarp is flat and secure, work your way back. Use additional bungee straps at key points to secure the tarp to either your trailer or the load itself. Another ratchet strap across the middle of the tarp will keep that section flat. Finally, wrap the entire perimeter of the load using bungee rope from corner to corner. This keeps the edges of the tarp secure against the load.

The advantage of using bungee rope here is that you can apply fairly large sections of rope without creating a safety hazard or risking damage to the load.

One veteran trucker we know offers another tip that makes sense. He says that it helps to take a few extra minutes to make sure tarps are applied evenly. An uneven tarp is harder to keep flat and tight because you are working with different amounts of material at various points across the load. An even tarp gives you the same amount of material at the critical points, making it possible to apply even tension with each bungee or ratchet strap you use.

Remember, the secret to preventing tarp billowing is to concentrate on the front of the load in order to ensure the tarp is flat and tight. If you can conquer the front of the load, the rest should be fairly easy.