How Well Do You Know Your Winch Options?

Winches are synonymous with cargo control in the trucking industry. No matter what kind of open-deck trailer is being used, a truck driver relies on strategically located winches to die down the cargo using webbing straps. A trailer needs enough winches to meet federal tiedown standards dictating the required number of straps for each load.

How well do you know your winches? If you have been a flatbed trucker for at least a few years, you are probably familiar with all of them. If you are new, that may not be the case. Suffice it to say there is more than one kind of winch. In fact there are four kinds that we carry at Mytee Products.

1. Standard Welded Winch

The industry standard is the tried-and-true welded winch. It comes in a variety of sizes and is remarkably simple in its construction. It consists of a main body along with the winch axle, ratchet, and gear. There is a hole in the axle just outside the main body designed to accept a standard winch bar.

This particular winch gets its name from the mounting method. In other words, it is welded directly to the rail of the trailer. It can be mounted horizontally on the outer edge of the rail or vertically on the underside. The obvious benefit here is strength. On the downside, welded winches are fairly permanent.

2. Bolt-On Winch

The bolt-on winch looks a lot like a welded winch except that the rear plate is slightly larger to accommodate heavy-duty bolts. It works the exact same way as a welded winch in function. The main difference is that it is bolted to the rail rather than welded.

The advantage of this sort of winch is that it can be moved around if necessary. But there is a downside. Every position you might want to locate this winch requires drilling bolt holes. And of course, moving winches around when you are trying to get a load tied down can be aggravating.

3. Stake Pocket Winch

The stake pocket winch offers the flexibility you do not get from welded and bolt-on winches. Considered temporary winches, you use them by sliding them into the stake pockets along the rail of the trailer. Wherever you have a pocket, you can insert one of these winches.

Stake pocket winches are deployed in seconds thanks to a spring-loaded hook built-in to the bottom. Retract the hook, slip the winch into the pocket, and let go. The spring-loaded hook will return to its normal position and lock the winch in place.

4. The Slide Winch

Last but not least is the slide winch. The slide winch looks a little bit different in that it has a purpose-designed plate that slips into a rail already mounted on the side of the trailer. Upper and lower lips built into the rail hold the winch in place. By the way, there are both single and double sliders. The double slider utilizes a double rail with upper and lower sections.

The biggest advantage of this kind of system is flexibility. Winches can be adjusted to accommodate any load configuration. The downside is having to mount rails on the trailer. Both the winches and rails also have to be inspected more frequently. More can go wrong with this sort of system.

As you can see, there is more than one kind of winch. It is up to you to determine which ones are best for you. Note that we have everything you need here at Mytee Products, from winches to webbing straps and ratchets.


Get Ready for Roadcheck 2019

It’s that time of year again when the entire trucking industry is talking about the annual Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) International Roadcheck. This year’s event runs from June 4-6. The emphasis for 2019 is steering and suspension.

The CVSA teams up with police agencies and other regulatory bodies throughout North America to conduct the annual Roadcheck event. Every year they focus on something different. This past year, they focused primarily on enforcement of the electronic logging rules implemented in the U.S. in late 2017. Cargo control was the focus the year before.

As a company that supplies truckers with cargo control equipment, we feel it’s our responsibility to let drivers know that inspectors still look at cargo securement and safety during every Roadcheck event, irrespective of an event’s particular focus. Don’t let your cargo control be slack this year under the false assumption that the focus on steering and suspension means inspectors won’t be looking as closely at other issues.

Why Steering and Suspension

Focusing on steering and suspension may seem a bit odd given that trucks have to undergo thorough inspections in order to be remain roadworthy. Interestingly enough, the CVSA’s director of safety programs has said he doesn’t think they’ve ever focused on these two areas in past Roadchecks. So this year is apparently the year.

It also seems that steering and suspension violations are cited less frequently than most of the other things inspectors normally look at. That’s not to say that violations never occur; we know they do. It is simply that they aren’t as frequent as violations for improper cargo control, tire issues, brake issues, and such.

Driver should know that this year’s inspections will be guided by the standards of the North American Standard Level I Inspection. Inspectors will be following a strict 37-step process designed to verify vehicle integrity and driver operating requirements. An inspector may opt to also conduct the Level II, Level III, and Level IV inspections.

Cargo Control Concerns

Mytee Products focuses mainly on cargo control, so let’s talk about that in anticipation of the 2019 Roadcheck. It is ultimately the driver’s responsibility to make sure cargo is secure throughout transit. This applies regardless of the type of trailer being utilized.

Where flatbed trailers are concerned, federal law requires a certain number of tie-downs be used based on the size and weight of the load. Fewer tie-downs can be used if the trailer is fitted with a bulkhead at the front. All of the tie-downs must meet minimum working load limits, and all must be in good operating condition.

Note that inspectors will be looking for frayed webbing straps, worn ratchets, damaged chains, and so forth. They will be looking to see that blocks are used when necessary. In other words, expect them to look over every inch of your flatbed trailer and its load as part of the check.

Order from Our Website

As always, you can order the cargo control supplies you need directly from our website. Ordering online is fast, convenient, easy, and secure. We urge all truck drivers to go through their tool boxes to ensure they have the equipment and supplies they need in advance of the Roadcheck event.

Our industry has done fairly well over the last several years of Roadchecks. Let’s do even better this year. Motor carriers and independent contractors, get your trucks into the shop right now and make sure there are no problems with suspension and steering. Drivers, brush up on your cargo control knowledge and then go the extra mile to make sure you do things right.

 


How to Not Abuse Your Roll Tarps

The arrival of spring brings with it increased road construction. And with that increased construction comes more dump trucks filled with gravel, dirt, broken concrete, and fresh asphalt. Truck drivers will be relying on their roll tarps to keep the loads in place during transit. Used properly, a roll tarp can provide years of reliable service.

A brief, three-paragraph article recently published by the ForConstructionPros.com website suggests that normal wear and tear is not the biggest enemy of roll tarps. Abuse is. It is an interesting perspective that certainly bears further investigation. Of particular interest is what constitutes abuse. Figure that out and it is only a short step to understanding how to not abuse roll tarps.

Watch Out for Those Loaders

One of the first points made in the article is that roll tarps can suffer damage at the hands of loader operators. There were two things associated with this point, the first being that loaders sometimes dump debris directly on tarping systems. This is an obvious no-no. The other point was that loaders sometimes make contact with roll tarps, rails, etc.

The idea here is that it is the responsibility of both truck drivers and loader operators to pay attention. No tarping system is going to survive constant impact with loaders. Tarps will rip prematurely if loaders are dumping debris on them.

Deploy Against the Wind

Anyone who has ever attempted to deploy a roll tarp knows that wind is the enemy. The ideal way to do it is to turn the truck so that the cab is facing into the wind. That way, the wind is technically behind the tarp as it starts to unroll. Do it in the other direction and the wind will catch the tarp like a sail. If it is strong enough, it can rip the entire system apart.

Deploying a roll tarp against a cross wind is only marginally better. Any wind allowed to get up underneath the tarp is bad news. So again, point the truck into the wind before deployment begins.

Keep the Tarp Taught

The third point of the article is the suggestion to keep roll tarps taught at all times. We assume this is in reference only to when they are actually deployed. When not deployed a roll tarp is obviously rolled up.

Why keep the tarp taught? For starters, that prevents it from being caught by the wind and ripped away. Keeping it taught also reduces the stress on the tarp in transit. Less stress means the tarp will last longer. If you do not make a point to keep it taught, you may be actually encouraging the tarp to wear out faster.

As an added bonus, keeping the tarp taught and rolled up when not in use improves fuel mileage. You can also improve fuel mileage by deploying the tarp over an empty dump. Just keeping the flow across the top of the truck could extend fuel mileage by as much as 10%, according to the article.

Buy Replacement Tarps Here

We present this information about not abusing roll tarps for educational purposes only. We suspect you know how to best care for your tarps better than anyone else. At any rate, even the best cared for tarps will eventually wear out. No worries, though. Mytee Products has you covered.

Everything you need for your roll tarp system is available here on our site. Feel free to browse our complete inventory in advance of your next purchase. And as always, do not be afraid to ask for something you don’t see listed here.

 


Top 4 Reasons to Buy Cargo Control Equipment Online

When Mytee Products first began operating more than 30 years ago, online shopping wasn’t a thing. Yes, there were small numbers of retailers forward thinking enough to offer their products online, but the vast majority of retail still took place in local stores and shops. How things have changed.

Today there is virtually nothing you cannot buy online. Even the most obscure products have an online home. As a truck driver, you can get your cargo control equipment directly through our website.

We welcome those truckers who stop in and see us at our Aurora, Ohio facility. If you are ever in town, we invite you to stop in yourself. Meanwhile, there are some particularly good reasons to buy what you need online. Here are just four of them.

1. Online Shopping is Convenient

We would wager that the number one reason people shop online is convenience. Without our e-store, you would have to plan to make a trip to visit our warehouse whenever you needed new tarps, winch straps, etc. That is not a bad deal if you are a planner who normally thinks ahead. It doesn’t work well in emergencies, though.

Online shopping lets you buy the products you need whenever you have the time to shop for them. Turn on the computer and shop just before you bed down for the night. Shop for those new tarps while you are having lunch at the diner. Shopping online is shopping on your schedule.

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2. Buying is Immediate

Hand-in-hand with convenience is the ability to purchase immediately. Let’s say you’re unloading and you discover that one of your tarps has a hole in it. In the old days, you would have to wait until you could stop by the store to purchase a replacement or a tarp repair kit. But who knows? You might forget before you ever reach the store.

Online shopping lets you purchase that tarp or repair kit the minute you know you have the need. Buy it right away and there is no chance you will forget it.

3. More Time to Browse

For our money, one of the unsung heroes of online shopping is the person willing to spend a couple of hours just browsing. At the end of the day, the retail world is highly competitive. Even in cargo control, you’re going to find a wide range of prices from one supplier to the next. The wise shopper shops around rather than just buying the first thing that pops up.

Shopping online affords you the opportunity to browse at your own pace. If you’ve a couple of hours to kill at the end of the day, you can pull out your laptop or mobile device and browse for all of the supplies you know you’re going to need in the next several months. Take your time and look around. You aren’t going anywhere anyway.

4. Opportunities to Read Reviews

Finally, shopping online gives you access to customer reviews. You don’t get these kinds of reviews when you’re standing at a retail counter talking to a sales associate. Of course that associate is going to tell you that his products are great. Wouldn’t you rather hear it from a customer who has already purchased those products? That’s what customer reviews are for.

We love the fact that people can purchase Mytee Products online. We still invite you to visit us in Ohio, but we understand that it’s not possible for most of our customers. So just pop online, browse our inventory, and purchase exactly what you need from the comfort of your own truck.


Winch Winders: 5 Tips for Maximum Efficiency

Sometimes the brilliance of a particular tool lies in its simplicity. Oftentimes the most efficient tools are those with the simplest design and just a few moving parts. That certainly is the case with the humble winch winder. As a tool for truckers, the winch winder is brilliant in its simplicity and efficient in its design.

As you probably know, winches are fixed to flatbed trailers for the purposes of holding and winding webbing straps. When you use them, you don’t have to use ratchet straps or chains to secure cargo. You simply run the straps through the winch and wind them in place. When it is time to secure a load, straps can be stretched over the top and secured on the other side. Post-delivery, the straps are wound up and secured again.

 

If you are new to the whole winch winder concept, here are five handy tips that should increase your efficiency:

1. Apply a Bit of Tension

You will get a tighter wind and less crimping if you put a bit of tension on the strap as you’re winding. If you are using a two-handed winch winder, apply the tension with your foot. You could also put a wood block on the ground and run the strap underneath it. The block should be just heavy enough to do the trick but not so heavy as to prevent you from winding.

2.Consider a One-Handed Winder

If using your foot or a block doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can opt for a one-handed winder instead. This particular kind of winder is really just a smaller handle that can be cranked with a single hand while you apply tension with the other.

3. Mount According to Favored Hand

This next tip is one that truck drivers normally don’t think of until after they’ve installed their winches. Here it is: install each unit according to your favored hand. If you are right-handed, install your units with the handle to the right side (as you face it). That means the handles will point to the rear of the trailer on the driver’s side but toward the front on the passenger side.

If you are left-handed, install them in reverse. Make sure the handle is on the left side while facing it. Why do this? Because if the handles are on the opposite side, you will either have to use your non-favored hand to wind or you’ll have to turn sideways to use your favored hand. Neither option is all that efficient.

4. Install Every Foot or So

Next, we recommend installing a winch unit every 12 to 18 inches. Although this may seem like overkill, you know that the size and position of your loads is never the same from one trip to the next. If you do not have enough winches in place, you may find that you’re back to using ratchet straps because certain loads don’t line up with your winches.

5. Maintain Your Equipment

Last but not least, treat your winches and winch winders like every other piece of equipment you have. Maintain them by regularly checking for any kind of damage. Oil them periodically and, should one eventually rust, brush it off and seal it to prevent further rust.

Winch winders are a simple but ingenious invention that makes using webbing straps as easy as can be. With the right number of winches on both sides of the trailer, you will be ready for just about any load. Strap down your cargo with confidence and then, following delivery, quickly wind your straps and get back on the road.