More from: tarp

4 Loads That Are Perfect for the Flatbed Trailer Side Kit

The flatbed trailer side kit is one of those products truckers are not sure if they really need. Technically speaking, a side kit is really not necessary to make a living as a flatbed trucker. But owning one does increase your job opportunities. Some shippers expect their loads to be secured in specific ways, and sometimes that means using a side kit.

If you are new to the flatbed game, a side kit is essentially an on-demand enclosure that can completely cover a load from top to bottom much the same way a dry van does. The advantage of the side kit is that it can be installed and removed as needed. Use it when you need it; keep it stored when you don’t.

Here are four kinds of loads that are perfect for the side kit:

1. Loose Agricultural Products

Agricultural products that will not be damaged under their own weight usually don’t have to be pack too carefully for transport. All the truck driver really needs to do is protect the crop against moisture, sunlight, and road debris. The side kit is perfect for this. We are talking about crops like corn, watermelon, and soybeans, by the way.

Along those same lines, there are agricultural products normally transported in crates that can also be handled with a flatbed and side kit. The advantage of the side kit is that the product can be loaded directly onto the trailer without first having to create it. A side kit makes the job faster and more efficient.

2. Industrial Machinery

The majority of flatbed truckers transport industrial machinery just by securing it in place and throwing tarps over it. But as you may already know, industrial machinery comes in all sorts of odd shapes and sizes that do not necessarily make standard tarping easy. Some pieces can be downright impossible to keep completely covered just with tarps alone.

A side kit completely encloses already secured machinery. There are no worries of tarps flying off en route. There are no concerns over damaging tarps on sharp edges. There is no need to use edge protectors and other peripheral equipment normally used in the tarping process.

3. Weather-Sensitive Loads

As wonderful as truck tarps are, they cannot always keep out the weather entirely. Loads extra sensitive to precipitation and sun might be better off enclosed by a side kit rather than covered only in tarps. Loads could be anything from designer building materials to sensitive manufacturing equipment. If there is a need to take special precautions against moisture and sun, a side kit is usually a better option than tarps alone.

4. Wind-Sensitive Loads

Similar to weather sensitive loads are those sensitive to the wind. We are talking about loads that are unusually light, loads that can easily be tossed about at highway speeds if wind were allowed to get underneath them. It might be a lot easier in such cases for the truck driver to install a side kit rather than having to go to great lengths to make sure there is no possibility of wind getting between tarp and load.

Side kits do take some time to install and remove, so they are not ideal for every job. But some jobs require an extra level of protection that tarps alone do not offer. These are the kinds of jobs that are ideal for side kits. If you are a flatbed trucker and you do not own one, now is the time to get one. A side kit will give you more opportunities to find work and make money.


Bulkhead or Penalty Strap: You Make the Call

The common trailer bulkhead can be viewed as a multipurpose tool. A driver can use it as an anchor point for tarps or the starting point for installing a side kit. But at the end of the day, the primary purpose of the bulkhead is to prevent forward movement of cargo. For the flatbed trucker, it is either bulkhead or penalty strap.

We are not quite sure where the term ‘penalty strap’ comes from, but it does a good job of describing how some truck drivers feel about having to use extra tie-downs to prevent cargo from shifting forward. Extra tie-downs means extra work. To that end, a driver might feel that he or she is incurring some sort of penalty for choosing to not use a bulkhead.

There is no right or wrong choice here. It is a matter of driver preference. Knowing the finer points of both options gives drivers a clear understanding of what is best for them.

The Kinds of Loads Carried

Let’s face it, some loads are easier to secure with penalty straps than others. A load of brick stacked on wooden pallets does not need a whole lot of extra effort to prevent forward movement. Do a few calculations, grab an extra strap or two, and the driver is good to go. Not so with a load of rail.

Rail doesn’t benefit as much from gravity and friction as brick does. Therefore, preventing its forward movement is a little more complicated. The extra time and effort it takes to deploy penalty straps could easily be avoided with a bulkhead.

Doing the Math at Load

A good case for installing a bulkhead is to avoid having to do the math at loading time. For instance, check out these starting calculations:

A load of 5 feet or shorter and a weight of 1,100 pounds or less = 1 tiedown.
A load of 5 feet or shorter and a weight in excess of 1,100 pounds = 2 tie-downs.
A load between five and 10 feet, regardless of weight = 2 tie-downs.                                                    A load longer than 10 feet = 2 tie-downs with an additional tiedown for every 10 feet.

These numbers just tell the driver how many tie-downs to use. The driver also has to consider the working load limits of each strap. It is a lot easier just to install a bulkhead with a high enough rating to cover most of the loads the trucker will haul.

Straps and Chains Wear Out

One final consideration is that straps and chains wear out. It is conceivable that a trucker can use the correct number of tie-downs and properly account for working load limits and still be found in violation. That’s because inspectors can take straps and chains out of service if they observe what they believe to be unacceptable wear and tear.

Bulkheads are subject to wear and tear as well, but not nearly as much. Therefore, it stands to reason that taking penalty straps out of the equation in favor of a bulkhead reduces the chances of being found in violation. The fewer tie-downs in play, the fewer opportunities for wear and tear to cause problems.

We understand that there are very valid reasons for declining to use a bulkhead on a flatbed trailer. Yet, there are some very definite advantages to choosing a bulkhead over penalty straps. It’s really up to each driver to decide what’s best for him or her. Should you decide to go the bulkhead route, Mytee Products can get you squared away.


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.


How to Fix a Dented Aluminum Toolbox

A trucker’s investment in aluminum toolboxes can be pretty significant. High-quality aluminum trailer toolboxes can run you upwards of $500 or more. The last thing you want is an accident that leaves dents in one of your boxes. But things happen.

So, what do you do if a toolbox is dented? First, you don’t panic. There is a possibility you could remove that dent easily and without any further damage.

The following post provides a suggestion of how you could possibly fix a dented aluminum toolbox. Bear in mind that Mytee Products offers no guarantee that this procedure will work 100% effectively or that you will still be able to use your toolbox afterward. Also, please bear in mind that you need to be extremely careful when you are trying a quick fix to get a dent out and you have no other options. Otherwise, you might have to look for a suitable replacement.

 

 

All About Heat and Force
Aluminum is a very pliable metal that is easily dented. A wayward forklift or a poor backing job can easily dent a toolbox in seconds. The keys to getting the dent out are heat and force.

If you search online, you may come across recommendations that include pounding away on the tool box with a hammer. You do need the force of a hammer, but what you don’t need are brute force and to keep hammering away at the tool box to repair it. A few strokes of a hammer could do the job quickly if the dent isn’t deep.

However, if the dent is too deep for a hammer you could make your life a lot easier if you heat the metal with a blowtorch for as little as 2-3 minutes. Heating the aluminum will also reduce the chances of breaking welds or cracking the metal at the site of the dent.

Take a blowtorch and gradually heat up the metal at the site of the dent – and maybe a half inch all the way around. Once the metal is hot, begin gently tapping and with a hammer to see how it responds. Gradually increase the force of the hammer until you start pushing the dent out. You may or may not have to continue heating as you hit the metal. It all depends on how severe the dent is.

Before we proceed any further, we want to reiterate that you need to be extremely careful while following this method of fixing a dent. You do not want to damage your tool box.

What you absolutely want to avoid is continually heating and cooling the aluminum. This will cause unnecessary stress that could make the problem worse. It is better to keep a low flame going while you are pounding out the dent than having to reheat the metal numerous times.

Once the dent is out, you’ll need to inspect the metal for any cracks or broken welds. Depending on how serious a broken weld is, you may have to take the box to a welder for additional repairs. If the break is minor, you can use a brazing rod to repair it. Brazing rods also do wonders for cracks occurring at the site of the original dent.

Why Try to Fix a Dent?

Now that you’ve read our simple procedure for fixing dented tool boxes, you might have two questions at the back of your mind; a) as a supplier of tool boxes, why would we want to offer a solution and b) why a trucker would bother to fix a dent over just buying a new one. Well, it comes down to a few things; firstly, we want to offer our customers solutions to make their life on the road easier. Secondly, being on the road constantly doesn’t give truck drivers to option of just making a pit stop in the middle of the road and buying a new box that fits perfectly. Last but definitely not the least is space. The amount of storage on an 18-wheeler is limited to the number of available toolboxes installed on the rig.

Truck drivers have to fill their tool boxes with an endless supply of items ranging from bungee straps to tarps to hand tools and spare parts. Any experienced truck driver will tell you that there never seems to be enough storage space. Seeing that space is at a premium, truckers cannot afford dents in their toolboxes as it results in wasted space.

A small dent or wear over time may be fine, but larger dents that prevent the trucker from storing items they absolutely need to be there are no good.


How to Build a Quick Hay Storage System

There are lots of different ways to store hay using tarps. In this post, we will outline the steps for building a quick and dirty hay storage system that will keep your hay safe and dry without the need for a permanent structure like a pole barn or garage.

Bear in mind that this description is just a general guide. You may want to modify what you read here to better suit your circumstances. Also remember your main goal: to protect hay from the elements so as to reduce spoilage as much as possible. Unprotected hay can suffer spoilage rates of up to 20%, making for significant losses in an exceptionally bad season.

To build your quick and dirty hay storage system, you will need hay tarps, rope, and PVC piping. Spiral anchor pins are optional if you would rather stake down the tarp rather than running rope under the bales of hay.

One last thing before we get to the build: depending on how you build your system the hay storage system designed here work best with round bales and square bales stacked in a pyramid. Use your own discretion when building your system.

Step-By-Step Process

The first step is to measure out the storage space. A 28-foot tarp should be good for 70-75 bales of hay stacked in a pyramid configuration. You can place the first layer directly on the ground or lay down some gravel first, it’s up to you. Most farmers just go straight to the ground.

Once your storage space has been measured out, lay ropes across the space at 3 foot intervals. You will eventually be pulling these ropes up and using them to secure your tarp, so leave some excess. Now you are ready to begin stacking your hay right on top of the rope.

When stacking is complete, you are going to lay PVC pipe across the top of the stack to prevent the tarp from directly contacting the hay. This is important for allowing air flow to move over the top of the stack. If you don’t do this, you could get moisture build up that could promote mold or mildew growth in the top few inches of the pyramid.

Next, stretch your tarp out on the ground. With someone to help you, you can now lift the outside edge and pull the tarp up and over the entire stack. Do your best to center the tarp before tying it down. Also, do not worry too much if the tarp seems a bit too small. It’s better to have less tarp to work with than too much.

Next, string the ropes through grommets in the tarp and tie everything off. Your ropes should have enough tension to keep the tarp taught. The lower edge of the tarp should be positioned just slightly lower than the widest point of the stack in order to allow rain to run off.

Lastly, insert PVC pipe where the tarp makes contact with the first layer of hay. The tarp should already have enough tension to hold the pipe in place. The idea here is to replicate what you did at the top of the stack: keeping the tarp from making direct contact with the hay.

After Installation

If you did everything correctly, you should have a complete stack of hay properly covered and secured against the elements. After installation though, it is important to check the tension of the ropes every week or so. Your haystack will settle somewhat, so you will need to tighten the ropes throughout the storage season.

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