More from: weight distribution

Fundamental Principles of Cargo Control

The term ‘cargo control’ is one that every truck driver should be familiar with. Experienced truckers know what it means and how it applies to their daily jobs. New truckers may understand the term, but only experience will teach them the finer points of cargo control.

Mytee Products serves the trucking industry with a complete inventory of cargo control products. Each of the products we sell is intended for a particular purpose. The benefits of these products are maximized when truck drivers understand the basic, fundamental principles of cargo control and how to apply them correctly. Those fundamental principles are explained below.

Restricting Cargo Movement

The foundation of cargo control is preventing cargo movement while a truck is en route. How cargo is secured depends on its shape, size, weight, and position on the truck carrying it. For example, large coils of steel cable need to be secured in a particular way because they are prone to rolling as well as shifting from side to side. A trucker may use a combination of chains and blocks to keep the coil rolls in place.

cargo

Movement must be restricted in all directions. It cannot shift forward or backwards when accelerating and braking, and it certainly cannot be allowed to shift from side to side. Therefore, cargo might have to be secured from multiple angles to prevent all movement.

Reducing Road Vibration Risks

The second fundamental principle of cargo control is restricting road vibration risks. Physics dictates that road vibration cannot be eliminated, so the idea is to prevent any such vibrations from causing damage to cargo. This can be accomplished in a number of ways.

Cargo can be properly spaced on a trailer so as to avoid direct contact between multiple pieces. In addition, truck drivers can use edge protectors and spacers in situations in which cargo has to be tightly packed. Even moving blankets and tarps can be used strategically to minimize the risks of road vibration.

Proper Weight Distribution

Distributing weight evenly across the back of a trailer is the third fundamental principle of cargo control. Proper weight balance accomplishes several things:

• It reduces the likelihood that a trailer will become unstable.
• It reduces the risk of cargo shifting en route.
• It makes maintaining driver control easier.
• It increases fuel efficiency and reduces wear and tear on equipment.

Proper distribution of weight is critical to the safe and efficient transport of cargo. Furthermore, drivers need to get it right the first time. If a trailer is fully loaded and found to be out of balance, it may have to be entirely unloaded and done over. This is a waste of time and money.

General Protection of Cargo

Last is the principle of protecting cargo in a general sense. Beyond movement and road vibration, certain kinds of cargo have to be protected against environmental exposure. Thus, truck drivers use things like tarps and blankets to protect against weather conditions, road debris, and animals and insects.

A typical flatbed truck driver will keep a good supply of these kinds cargo control supplies on board. He or she may have several different types of tarps for example, including lumber, steel, smoke, and general purpose tarps. He/she will also keep a selection of straps and bungee cords on board for securing those tarps in place.

Cargo control is a fundamental concept of truck driving. It is something that every truck driver has to learn, both in the classroom and through real-life experience. Those who master it are capable of moving cargo over thousands of miles with minimal risk.


Automated Truck Loading and Cargo Control: What to Expect

There has been an unstoppable flow of information relating to self-driving trucks coming from the media over the last 4 to 6 months. Now we are hearing news of a European company on the verge of bringing automated truck loading technology to our shores. So what does it all mean? More specifically, what does it mean to flatbed truck drivers and cargo control?

In terms of self-driving trucks, all truck drivers and carriers will be affected in the same way should it become a reality. If self-driving trucks ever become the norm – and there are valid reasons to believe they will not – there is no telling what will happen to America’s truck drivers. However, automated trucks on a national scale are still a long way away. Of greater interest right now is the concept of automated truck loading.

cargo-control

Load and Unload in Mere Minutes

The automatic truck loading concept is one of using mechanized, robotic systems to load and unload trailers without the need for human intervention. According to some news reports, what can now take between 30 and 45 minutes for forklift operator can be completed in about 3 minutes using an automated system. The company behind the technology says its systems are available for both enclosed trailers and flatbeds.

We can see the potential of this technology for dry goods vans being virtually unlimited. Not so much for flatbeds. An automated system could certainly load pallets and even loose cargo on the back of a flatbed, but that cargo still must be secured by the driver. Cargo control is something that simply cannot be automated at this point. Whether it ever will be, remains to be seen.

Cargo control on a flatbed trailer involves a lot of different components that could make automation impossible:

  •  Weight Distribution – Unlike dry goods vans, cargo carried on flatbed trailers is not necessarily uniform in size or weight. Therefore, freight should be loaded with weight balancing and overall size of the load in mind.
  • Cargo Movement – Cargo movement is a big concern on flatbed trailers for obvious reasons. When a trucker is hauling materials such as steel coil, those coils can move during travel if not properly secured. So truckers would be required to use wood blocks and chains to keep things in place.
  • Cargo Cover – Flatbed truck drivers are in the unique position of having to protect their cargo with the use of truck tarps. There are different kinds of tarps used for various types of loads, and each one is secured in a different way. How tarping could be automated is difficult to imagine.
  • Cargo Protection – Underneath a truck’s tarps are things such as corner protectors deployed to protect both cargo and the tarps that cover it. All the cargo protection components have to be deployed by hand for maximum protection.

One last thing to consider is that flatbed truck drivers are required to check the security of their cargo within the first 50 miles of departure. They are then expected to carry out routine checks whenever they stop for fuel, inspections, or to rest for the night. Even if cargo control were eventually automated, someone would still have to keep an eye on cargo in transit to make sure it remains secure.

The Human Touch

It is intriguing to think that both trucks and loading systems will be automated in the near future. But that is probably not reality. Humans are still necessary – at least for cargo control – and likely will be for the foreseeable future. Cargo control could probably be too complex for automation.

Save

Save