More from: Ratchet straps

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.


Material Choices: Not All Ratchet Straps Are Equal

Makers of winch and ratchet straps for cargo control can choose from a number of different construction materials. The three most common are propylene, nylon, and polyester. Of those three, propylene is not recommended for the trucking industry because it does not handle heavy loads very well. Among the remaining two choices, the latter is the best choice for cargo control.

To say that all ratchet straps are not equal is obvious if you understand the differences between the three materials. Propylene is material generally reserved for needs that do not require heavy load limits. For example, you might find it used to make bag straps, belts, and other similar things. Winch and ratchet straps for flatbed trucking are rarely, if ever, made with propylene.

Five Reasons Nylon and Polyester Are Better

Before you buy new winch or ratchet straps for your truck, we encourage you to consider material choices. The material you choose could end up having a significant impact on how securely your cargo is carried. Below are five reasons nylon and polyester are far better choices than propylene.

1. UV Protection

Ultraviolet rays from the sun can do damage to cargo control products without a truck driver ever knowing it. Ultraviolet rays can dry out and crack rubber bungee straps; they cause significant discoloration of truck tarps; they can reduce the life of the stitching material used to hold tarp material together. Where ratchet straps are concerned, polyester is the most resistant to UV rays. Nylon is fairly resistant as well.

2. Overall Strength

The biggest reason propylene is inappropriate for heavy loads is because it stretches considerably. Stretching of up to 50% is not abnormal for propylene. Nylon can stretch up to 30% under the heaviest loads while polyester is not likely to stretch beyond 15%. Once again, that makes polyester ideal for ratchet straps.

3. Tensile Strength

Tensile strength is defined as the maximum load a material can bear before breaking. Once again, propylene does not hold up very well. The average propylene strap is good only for about 700 pounds whereas nylon and polyester can manage loads of up to 7,000 pounds and 10,000 pounds respectively.

4. Resistance to Abrasion

Abrasion is a big problem in the trucking industry. From the sharp edges of cargo to the flatbed trailers that carry it, there are a lot of things that can cause abrasive friction on ratchet straps. Neither propylene nor nylon stand up well to abrasion. Polyester does.

5. Water Resistance

Lastly, water resistance is something truckers have to be concerned about. If a strap that were to become saturated it would automatically be weaker under load. It would also be prone to mold growth and more rapid breakdown under continual cycles of saturation and drying.

Believe it or not, the worst performer in the water-resistant category is nylon. Propylene actually does better in this regard, which is why it is used for things like lifejacket straps. Ultimately though, polyester is again the clear winner.

Winch and Ratchet Straps from Mytee

Hopefully you have detected a pattern here. Polyester is the material of choice for winch and rapid straps because it is far superior to its alternatives. It is the material of choice used by our manufacturers.

Mytee Products carries a full line of winch and ratchet straps ideal for flatbed truckers and their cargo control needs. You can shop for your straps by browsing our inventory like a catalog, or by using the handy search tool now available on our website. Search by price, load limit, brand, etc.


Tips for Getting Better Use from Great Ratchet Straps

Ratchet straps are among the most important tools used by flatbed truckers. They keep cargo secure from point A to point B, sometimes in concert with chains, tarps, and bungee straps. Mytee Products carries a complete inventory of ratchet straps and cargo control equipment from well-known manufacturers.

The ratchet straps you buy from us are already top-of-the-line quality. But we have a few tips for getting better use out of them. With a little care and attention, you can extend the life of your straps.

Regularly Lubricate Ratchets

While the material used to make the straps is not bothered by weather, ratchets are. The best way to keep ratchets in good working order is to regularly lubricate them with a lithium grease. This is the same product auto mechanics use to lubricate car parts because it holds up very well even under extreme temperatures. It will wash away after time, which is why you need to apply regularly.

The key with lubrication is to hit all the moving parts. It doesn’t take much, either. Just a little spritz and a few seconds to work it in will keep everything working even on the coldest of days.

Thread from Underneath

When threading ratchets with new strap material, always run the strap from underneath the ratchet rather than over the top. This results in the short end being on the top while the main portion of the strap is below. Physics dictates the straps will slip a lot more easily when disengaged if threaded this way.

Leave Plenty of Room for Ratchet Extension

When tying down a load, keep in mind that the ratchet has to be extended beyond the gear teeth to release the tension pin that keeps the strap in place under load. It is a wise idea to leave enough space under the ratchet to be able to reach underneath and fully extend the ratchet to release it. If you do not leave enough space to pull down on the ratchet and fully extend it, you will have trouble releasing the strap to unload.

Do Not Let Extra Strap Hang Loose

Sometimes you have loads that are not tall enough to require the full length of your ratchet straps. So what do you do with the excess strap material? Truck drivers have all sorts of tricks for dealing with it. The one thing you do not want to do is let the excess strap hang loose. Loose strap flapping in the wind risks cargo damage and shortens the life of the strap material.

Some truck drivers roll the excess strap and then bind it with a bungee cord. Others tie a series of knots and tuck any remaining strap in under the tense part of the strap, or even under a tarp. Still others use a looping technique that utilizes the excess strap to secure it. There are dozens of ways to do it.

Our final tip is something that every truck driver should already be doing. Ratchet straps are tough and reliable, and are subject to wear and tear just like anything else. Therefore, it’s very important that truck drivers inspect their straps on a regular basis. Any strap showing signs of wear or tear needs to be addressed immediately. If you do not check your straps routinely, rest assured that roadside inspectors will.

Mytee products is here to serve you and your needs as a truck driver. We are your one-stop choice for ratchet straps, truck tarps, bungee cords, and everything else you need to do your job.


Aluminum Toolboxes: Organization Tips for Truckers

The average flatbed trucker has at least one toolbox affixed to his or her rig. Some have a large trailer toolbox and two aluminum step boxes to maximize storage space, and some drivers have even more. The thing to remember is that proper organization of aluminum toolboxes maximizes storage space and reduces the frustrations of not being able to find the tool you’re after when you need it.

What constitutes the right number and size of toolboxes isn’t for us to say. Every flatbed trucker has his or her own preferences. But Mytee can offer a few organizational tips to help truckers make the most of their storage space. Keep in mind that we carry a full inventory of aluminum toolboxes for truck drivers and pickup truck owners.

 

Organizing Tarps

Assuming you are the kind of trucker who stores tarps and toolboxes, the first rule of thumb is to consider which tarps you use most often. Let’s say you regularly haul lumber loads that require coverage on all sides. You are going to want those tarps easily accessible at all times.

You may have a selection of smaller smoke tarps or general purpose canvas tarps that you only use every once in a while for machinery loads. Because they are used less frequently, you can store them on the bottom of your toolbox in favor of putting your lumber tarps on top.

One thing to note is that tarps should never be put away while still wet. If throwing a wet tarp into a tool box is unavoidable at the time, it should be retrieved and dried out as soon as possible. Leaving tarps in long-term storage with moisture trapped in the folds is a good recipe for mold.

Organizing Tools

When it comes to tools, truckers need to separate things like ratchet straps and binders from the hand tools used to perform regular maintenance. It’s a good idea to keep them in separate toolboxes if you have the space. If not, divide existing toolbox into two separate compartments using a piece of scrap wood or metal.

Ratchet straps can be rolled up and stacked very neatly in one corner of the box. Chains can be coiled and stacked in another corner. Binders, hooks, and other similar tools can then be placed in the center of the compartment. As for those hand tools, keep them separated according to tool type. Put all your sockets in one location, all the wrenches in another, etc. Organizing hand tools is a lot easier if you invest in some shelves and smaller boxes that can fit inside your main toolbox.

Everything in Its Place

It should be obvious that the strategy we are promoting here follows that old adage that says, ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’. The hard part is not necessarily finding a place for everything that needs to be stored. It is finding the most efficient place and then making sure that the items are returned to their places after use.

Few things are as frustrating as having a journey interrupted by some sort of failure and then not being able to find the tools you need to fix the problem. Equally frustrating is the task of securing a load and having to dig through your toolbox looking for the right straps or chains. Organizing your toolboxes changes all that.

An organized toolbox – where everything has a fixed place that never changes – is one that lends itself very well to efficiency and productivity. Take it from us; you’ll be glad you organized your equipment once you do it.


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.