More from: Roll Tarps

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.


Common Roll Tarp Problems and How to Fix Them

Roll tarps are indispensable for specific trucking jobs involving loose loads such as stone and grain. They are easy to apply, easy to remove and very effective at preventing debris from flying into the roadway. However, the mechanical nature of the spooling systems used with them is such that things can go wrong. Knowing how your system works, and how to fix it, can save you a lot of aggravation and downtime.

You can encounter many potential problems with a roll tarp and spooling system. We have put together a list of the three most common problems and how these problems can be fixed. Thankfully, a little knowledge goes a long way.

1. Frame Arms Not Centered and Parallel

A roll tarp spooling system requires frame arms to be centered and parallel in order to work properly. When arms are out of position, a truck tarp will not roll evenly. This is a problem whether you are applying or removing your tarp. Fortunately, the issue is usually a bad spring or tube arm. Both can be fixed relatively easily.

The first thing to do is to check the tension springs on both arms. The arm that is in the more forward position is likely the one that is operating properly; the one that is lagging behind is usually the one with the problem. You will know a tension spring is bad when it is fully compressed with little or no tension. Replace that spring and your system should be fine. If all of your springs are extended equally, you likely have a tube arm that is bent or broken. Bent tubes can be straightened; broken tubes must be replaced.

It should be noted that a single failing tension spring could be a sign of more failures to come. Remember that the springs installed when your unit was first manufactured all have the same shelf life. When one spring fails, it is only a matter of time before the rest follow suit. You might be better off replacing all of your springs at the same time.

2. Tarp Is Not Square

It is possible to have problems with frame arms not being centered or parallel even though all of your tension springs and tube arms are just fine. What is the culprit in this case? It could be a tarp that is not square. Although this is rare, it is possible – especially if you purchased a used system that was previously repaired by its owner. If all of your springs and tubes appear to be in good working order despite an off-center or unparallel condition, you may have to remove the tarp and check it for squareness.

3. The Motor Struggles to Unroll Tarp

Systems equipped with motors may struggle at times to unroll the tarp. Sometimes the motor itself is failing, but the problem is more likely to be related to the arm pivot mounts. You can adjust the tension at the pivot mounts to make the arms tighter or freer. If your motor is struggling, consider loosening the tension a bit. As a side note, electric motors usually fail completely rather than gradually. This is why we say that a motor struggling to roll a tarp probably has to overcome too much pivot tension.

Mytee Products carries roll tarps in a variety of lengths and widths for grain trailers. All of our tarps are made of durable 18-ounce vinyl with webbing strips every 3 feet. They can be used with any standard roll tarp system fitted to your trailer.