More from: tarps

It’s Time to Inventory Cargo Control Supplies

Last fall, we published a blog post encouraging drivers to do an inventory check of their cargo control supplies in anticipation of the pending winter season. Well, winter is long gone and spring is in the air. That makes now a great time to conduct a new inventory of your cargo control supplies.

Why inventory again? Because winter weather can do a number on everything from tarps to bungee cords. Between cold weather and road salt, cargo control supplies take a beating during the winter season. Conducting a spring inventory makes it clear what items need to be replaced, which ones can be repaired, and so on. Doing a spring inventory also gives truck drivers a good idea of what they will need to order before next winter season sets in.

Inspect Your Truck Tarps

A trucker’s supply of tarps represents perhaps the largest volume of cargo control supplies he or she carries on board. Ironically, tarps also tend to suffer the most damage during winter driving. So inspecting tarps is a good place to start. Drivers should pull all their tarps out of storage, unfold them, and inspect them for damage.

Small rips and tears in vinyl and poly tarps can be repaired with a standard tarp repair kit sold by Mytee Products. Larger areas of damage may need to be sewn before patches can be applied. As for canvas tarps, anyone handy with a needle and thread can fix most minor rips and tears.

Tarps should also be checked for mold and mildew, frayed seams, and loose grommets and D-rings. All these problems can be effectively addressed if they are caught early enough.

Bungee Cords and Webbing Straps

Bungee cords are designed to withstand temperature extremes throughout the year. However, they still wear out over time. If you have been through an especially brutal winter with very cold temperatures, check your bungee cords for excess wear. Bungees tend to get brittle in colder temperatures, so they are prone to cracking and splitting.

Straps made of webbing material tend to hold up a lot better under winter conditions. Still, each of your straps should be inspected for any signs of wear. This includes fraying on the edges. Also be sure to check where straps attach to hooks and buckles.

Corner and Edge Protectors

Corner and edge protectors made of metal usually do not require regular inspections. They are pretty tough. However, plastic protectors should be inspected every spring. Remember that plastic also gets brittle in cold conditions. It is not unusual for edge protectors to crack when it gets cold out.

Minor cracks can be repaired with super glue or something similar if you are so inclined. However, plastic corner and edge protectors are cheap enough that you might just want to discard cracked pieces and replace them entirely. It’s up to you.

Everything Else

The three categories listed above will constitute most of your inventory for cargo control supplies. If you are like most flatbed truckers though, there are other things in your toolbox that need a look. You will want to inspect your chains for signs of rust, stress, or any potentially broken links. Examine your binders to make sure they are still structurally sound. Take a look at all of you rigging supplies as well.

The point of the spring inventory is to better understand how your cargo control supplies held up over the winter. You are inspecting it in the hope of finding wear and tear or damage that could otherwise be a problem if ignored. The earlier you catch problems, the easier these are to address.


4 Great Uses for Mesh Tarps

Mytee Products is known for providing truck drivers with high-quality tarps. However, our inventory does not stop at lumber and coil tarps. We also carry a full selection of mesh tarps as well. These products have a variety of uses within and without trucking. We sell them to construction companies, agricultural enterprises, and even regular homeowners.

To illustrate just how flexible a mesh tarp can be, we have listed four uses for them below. There are undoubtedly many more ways to use mesh tarps than what you will read here. Mesh tarps offer the perfect combination of breathability and protection from environmental debris to make them ideal for a seemingly unlimited number of applications.

 

1. Trucking – Securing Cargo

The trucking industry still accounts for the largest number of mesh tarps we sell. Among trucking firms, those running dump trucks appreciate mesh tarps for their obvious benefits. Consider that laws in all 50 states require dump truck operators to ensure their loads stay put. The thing is, dump truck loads do not usually have to be protected against the weather. A mesh tarp provides adequate coverage while allowing the load underneath to breathe.

Flatbed truckers also use mesh tarps from time to time. Again, they may have loads that need to be protected from airborne debris but not the weather. The beauty of the mesh tarp is that it does not inhibit airflow or trap moisture. The mesh tarp is an excellent choice for things like landscaping supplies and bee hives.

2. Privacy Screening

The second most popular use of mesh tarps is that of privacy screening. In a commercial setting, construction companies use mesh tarps for privacy all the time. They will completely enclose a construction site in order to keep people from getting a look at what is going on inside. They may be trying to prevent thieves from scoping out a property, or attempting to generate anticipation as a building project progresses.

3. Dust/Snow Barrier

We sell mesh tarps to farmers and agricultural operations looking to use them as barriers against dust and snow. For example, dust can be a big problem in the driest months of summer. A fence line consisting of posts and mesh tarp can significantly reduce the amount of dust traveling through a given area when the wind picks up.

During the winter months, those same fence lines can be used to control snowdrifts. Mesh tarps provide just enough of a barrier to snow without completely inhibiting airflow, making it possible to prevent the accumulation of snow where the owner does not want it. Think driveways and entryways to barns and other structures.

4. Creating Areas of Shade

Lastly, mesh tarps are great for creating temporary areas of shade without inhibiting airflow. Construction companies offer a good example. A construction company may have dozens of workers laboring in the hot sun on sites where natural shade is lacking. Utilizing mesh tarps for shade offers the kind of relief workers need while still being portable.

Similarly, we have sold mesh tarps to farmers who use them to construct temporary shade for livestock out in the field. This is particularly helpful in southern states where the sun can be brutally hot at times. Shade structures can be erected at the start of summer and then taken down come fall.

Mytee products invites you to browse our selection of mesh tarps. We carry several different kinds including black and green shade tarps, privacy screen, PVC mesh tarps for dump trucks, and even specialized mesh tarps for truckers who haul unusual loads.


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 tool boxes 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.

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5 Things Truckers Should Know about Moving Blankets

A lot of what we write about in our blog deals with flatbed truckers and various types of cargo control equipment such as, tarps, winches and straps, bungees. This post is a little different. We know that a considerable number of our customers haul dry goods vans instead of, or in addition to, flatbed trailers. As such, they come to us for moving blankets and other related cargo control supplies better suited for dry vans.

moving-blanket

Mytee Products carries two different kinds of moving blankets as well as filler pads. We want to make it clear that the quality of a driver’s moving blankets is just as important as the quality of his/her straps and winches. A low-quality product is not going to perform as well or last as long as a high-quality product.

If you are a dry van trucker who uses moving blankets, here are five things you need to know about them:

1. The Difference Between Woven and Non-Woven Blankets

When you look through our inventory of moving blankets, you will see that we sell both woven and non-woven products. What’s the difference? It is how the fabric used to create the blankets is manufactured. A woven fabric utilizes long threads that are actually woven together on a mechanical loom. Non-woven fabrics are made of fibers that are bonded together through some sort of heat, chemical, or mechanical process. There is no weaving or knitting involved in creating them.

Woven moving blankets are more expensive. They are more durable and longer lasting than their non-woven counterparts, and they tend to hold up much better under tremendous stress. Non-woven blankets are designed for more routine use and are less expensive.

2. Moving Pads Are Not the Same

In addition to moving blankets, we also sell moving pads. Drivers should note that pads and blankets are not the same things. Pads are meant to fill empty space between objects to protect them from damage that might be incurred during travel. Some truckers simply buy pads and use them both for filling space and doing the job of the moving blanket. This isn’t a better choice when hauling fragile loads.

3. Moving Blankets Are Not Weather-Resistant

There are legitimate uses for moving blankets on flatbed trailers. For example, you might cover fragile cargo so that it’s not damaged by straps winched down tightly. But moving blankets are not weather-resistant. When using them on flatbed trailers, the entire load must be covered with tarps to provide protection against the elements.

4. Buying in Bulk Is Cheaper

Truck drivers can save money by purchasing their moving blankets in bulk. Companies like ours receive inventory directly from manufacturers in preset packages. Rather than break up a package of blankets, we prefer to sell them intact and at a lower price. It is better for our customers and easier on us for inventory purposes.

5. It’s Best to Have a Variety

As with truck tarps, it’s best to have a variety of moving blankets on hand in order to accommodate any kind of load. The average trucker will probably have mostly economy blankets with a smaller number of premium blankets and moving pads. Variety gives a driver the most possible options for any given job.

Truck drivers who haul dry goods vans need to secure their cargo every bit as much as flatbed drivers. When the job calls for it, moving blankets can be invaluable for cargo control. We invite you to shop with Mytee Products for your cargo control equipment , for both flatbed trailers and dry goods vans.


Save Time with a Cargo Control Checklist

Working as a flatbed truck driver involves spending time waiting for cargo to be loaded and secured before hitting the road. This is time a driver is usually not compensated for, so getting things done as quickly as possible is paramount to getting the wheels turning again. Still, drivers have to be thorough in their cargo control procedures so as to not jeopardize their loads.

A good way to save time and ensure cargo is properly secured is to establish a cargo control checklist that becomes a standard operating procedure. While this may sound obvious, you might be surprised how many drivers have no such checklist in place. They approach every load in a random matter, where cargo control is dictated by immediate circumstances. Having a checklist in place is a better option because it ensures all of the necessaries are addressed in a way that eventually leads to the driver following his or her checklist routine as a matter of habit.

checklist

It should be noted that a cargo control checklist does not have to be a formal document that the driver prints out by the hundreds so that each load has its own piece of paper. A driver may create a document to start with, but after following the checklist routine numerous times, most drivers are going to memorize it. Then it becomes a mental exercise rather than a paper one.

Cargo Control Checklist Basics

How a driver organizes his or her cargo control checklist is a matter of preference. There should be certain categories of things on every driver’s checklist, things that are appropriate to cargo control. For example:

  • Tarps and Straps – Truck tarps and straps should be inspected prior to arriving to pick up a load. Not inspecting cargo control supplies increases the likelihood of getting to a job and finding that damaged equipment cannot be used. Then the driver is slowed down while he or she searches locally for replacements.
  • Inspecting Loads – Flatbed truck drivers are ultimately responsible for how cargo is loaded on their trailers. There should be a process in place for inspecting loads to make sure weight issues are addressed, there is no unnecessary space between cargo items, and that cargo is properly blocked if necessary.
  • Securing the Cargo – Once a trailer has been loaded and securing has commenced, a system should be in place so that tarps and straps are always applied in the same way. For example, some truckers will first make sure all of their straps and/or chains are applied, then walk around the trailer to tighten down each winch consecutively.
  • Final Inspection – Just prior to departure, the truck driver should be performing a vehicle safety inspection as a matter of routine. Within that inspection, he or she can also make provision to do a final inspection of cargo control equipment. Straps, chains, and tarps should all be given the once over.
  • Inspections on the Road – Lastly, an important part of a cargo control checklist that should not be ignored are the inspections done while on the road. Drivers should be checking their loads within the first 50 miles of departure and then with every additional stop along the way. The same checklist used for the final inspection is appropriate to on-the-road inspections.

Cargo control is a normal part of flatbed trucking. Drivers can save time and do a better job of securing cargo by developing a cargo control checklist and following it on every job. A well-designed checklist turns what could be a random exercise into something that becomes routine.