Why Add Zinc to Steel?

*This is the second in a four-part series about steel used in rigging supplies and rigging hardware.

Details_of_rigAs explained in the previous post about carbon steel, there are four main types, and two of those involve a layer to add zinc to steel. These two types are hot galvanized dipped and zinc plated. Both of these styles are extremely popular, and it’s not hard to see why. There are several benefits to doing things this way, but one of the most obvious is that steel can be extremely vulnerable to rust, especially in areas with a heavy exposure to saltwater. Zinc acts as a natural barrier to rust, making the steel more durable to conditions that might otherwise begin to chip away at it.

Why add zinc to steel?

Aside from the obvious benefit of inhibiting rust and protecting the carbon steel underneath, zinc actually does this by oxidizing itself. Think of it as almost as “self-sacrifice” by the zinc that keeps the steel strong. This dramatically increases the life span of the steel, as well. It’s a very short process that takes only minutes to do, and since zinc is common and inexpensive, it’s a natural fit to combine with the steel needed to build a wide variety of goods.

Which is better: hot dipped galvanized steel or zinc coated steel?

There are pros and cons to going either direction.

hot dipped galHot dipped galvanized coatings may not look as smooth but they tend to last a lot longer. Also, the zinc oxidizes before the steel which means that raw steel is still in better shape to hold up against decay. It lasts a very long time and looks more rugged, but it is also more expensive than a simple zinc coating.



zinc platedZinc coated carbon steel is more economical since it is inexpensive. However the coating is much lighter than with hot dipped steel, so the coating will wear away much more quickly – no seventy years of coating here. It does look cleaner and a lot smoother if appearance matters.



Which should you choose?

Not everyone needs the additional sturdiness or durability that comes with a zinc alloy being added to carbon steel, however most people like the idea of making sure their investment is much more likely to rust or buckle under the pressure of time. While people may disagree over which method is best for them, there’s no question that zinc is a welcome addition to carbon steel in most instances, and the decision towards one or the other will depend on the applications the zinc-coated equipment will be used in.


Examining the 4 Types of Carbon Steel

*This is the first in a four-part series about steel used in rigging supplies and rigging hardware.

Steel isn’t a cut and dry subject like many people tend to believe.  While most think of steel as a single strong metal and that’s it, the truth is there are three common types of steel seen in the rigging industry alone: carbon steel, alloy steel, and stainless steel.  While having three might not sound complicated at all, they break down and separate even more.

So what exactly is carbon steel?

Carbon steel is the most common type of steel by far and that’s not just in the industry.  Carbon steel is the most widely produced steel in the world.  Any steel that has .12% to 2.0% carbon added is able to be classified as carbon steel.  The particular type of carbon steel most likely used in construction or industry will depend directly on what your needs are.

There are four types of carbon steel:

1. Hot dipped galvanized

2. Painted

3. Self colored

4. Zinc-coated

Hot dipped galvanized steel

hot dip galvThis type of carbon steel is the most common form of coating on any US Cargo Control rigging items such as rigging shackles.  You can tell this type of steel because it tends to have a rough look.  The zinc coating is not smooth or precise.  However that coating also allows it to last a very long time.   On the plus side this helps prevent structural decay, can last up to 70 years, and is cheaper than stainless steel.  The cons?  This won’t last in salt water and the zinc can react differently in some environments making it less than ideal.


Painted steel

paintedPainted steel is simply self-colored steel that is layered with rust resistant paint.  It’s what many consider the normal end result of self-colored or plated carbon steel.



Self-colored steel

two toneSelf colored refers to a plain carbon steel that has a very thin coating of protectant applied at a factory.  The plating allows for a specific color or set of colors to then be added on. This plating doesn’t affect the strength at all but it does protect from rust as well as sets it up to be painted in custom colors.  This is actually a pretty common choice.




Zinc-coated steel

zinc coatedThis type of steel is also commonly referred to as anodized steel or electro-galvanized steel, so if you hear either of these two, it’s referring to the same thing. This is another way of combining zinc with steel, but this is a more controlled process that allows for a much smoother and clean finish.  It looks and feels better, but the downside is that the zinc doesn’t last as long compared to being galvanized.



What Is California Truck Rope?

Trucking rope: California truck rope from USCargoControl.comBefore understanding what exactly sets California truck rope apart, it’s important to understand about the different types of industrial rope out there.

Most rope can be broken into two categories: synthetic (manmade) fiber and natural fiber.  In recent years, many people have gone with synthetic ropes because they are often more suited for the type of work and endurance necessary.  While natural rope is softer to the touch and better holding up against direct sunlight and UV, it is also more prone to wear and rot.


The most common synthetic ropes fall under three categories:

  • Nylon rope
  • Polyester rope
  • Polypropylene rope

Generally speaking, polypropylene is the least expensive of the synthetic ropes and is known for being very lightweight but still strong.  This is an economic choice that serves the majority of people who find themselves in need of synthetic rope for some type of a job.  California truck rope is a very specific brand of polypropylene that offers the benefits nylon and polyester while keeping the inexpensive benefit of polypropylene.

What makes California truck rope different?

polypropylene California truck rope from USCargoControl.com

California truck rope is made specifically to pass the high expectations put forth by the California Highway Patrol Standards for tying down and hauling.  This means that this specific type of polypropylene rope not only has the same benefits as other polypropylene strands like resistance to mold, rot, mildew, chemicals, and road salts – but California truck rope has one huge advantage over most other synthetics: it has an ultraviolet inhibitor to help resist the sun damage issues that so many synthetic ropes have.

The most apparent difference between regular polypropylene rope and California trucker rope is the color: the three strand twist design features black and orange so it’s easy to differentiate from other synthetic ropes.

Trucker rope: not just for trucking

California truck rope offers so many benefits, it’s great for non-trucking uses as well. Available in multiple sizes from a mere ¼ inch in length to a solid 1 inch, it can be a good choice for water and snow ski rope, pool rope, general utility rope, and more- any task that requires lightweight strength, floating abilities, resistance to abrasions, UV rays, water, road salts, and chemicals.

Not sure which rope is right for your job? Give our sales team a call at 866-444-9990 – they’ll be glad to help.

To purchase California truck rope online, follow these links:

California Truck Rope: 1/4″

California Truck Rope: 5/16″

California Truck Rope: 3/8″

California Truck Rope: 1/2″

California Truck Rope: 1″


National Truck Driver Appreciation Photo Contest

blue-truckSeptember 15-21 is  National Truck Driver Appreciation Week and we’re celebrating by giving away a $100 US Cargo Control gift card!

Just send us a picture of your truck via personal message on our USCC Facebook page and we’ll randomly draw one winner from all entries. You just may see it featured on our Facebook page!


Please read official rules below before submitting an entry:

Important:  By participating in this Contest, you agree to these Official Rules.


  • Eligibility.  PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE ODDS OF WINNING.  CONTEST IS OPEN ONLY TO LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE FIFTY (50) UNITED STATES AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA WHO ARE AT LEAST AGE 18 (OR THE AGE OF MAJORITY UNDER APPLICABLE LAW).  IF YOU DO NOT MEET ANY OF THESE REQUIREMENTS, OR ANY OTHER ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS IN THESE OFFICIAL RULES, YOU ARE NOT ELIGIBLE TO WIN A PRIZE. US CARGO CONTROL (USCC) RESERVES THE RIGHT NOT TO AWARD PRIZE.  If you have an APO or FPO mailing address, you must identify your state of permanent residence.  To be eligible to win a prize, entries must be completed and received by USCC in the manner and format designated below.  All applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply.  Offer void where prohibited by law.
  • Disclaimer.  USCC and Facebook, Inc., will not be responsible for: (a) any late, lost, misrouted, garbled or distorted or damaged transmissions or entries; (b) any Contest disruptions, injuries, losses or damages caused by events beyond the control of USCC or by non-authorized human intervention; or (c) any errors in any materials associated with the Contest.
  • Contest Period.  The Contest starts on September 15, 2013 at 8:00 AM CST and ends on September 20, 2013 at 11:59 PM CST (the “Contest Period”).  All entries must be received during the Contest Period to be eligible to win a prize.
  • How to Enter.  During the Contest Period (1) visit the USCC Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/USCargoControl; and (2) follow the instructions on how to submit your entry (the “Submission”).  USCC may display all Submissions on the USCC Facebook page. By uploading your Submission, you agree that your Submission conforms to the Submission Guidelines and Content Restrictions listed below (collectively, the “Guidelines and Restrictions”) and that USCC may remove your Submission and disqualify you from the Contest if it believes your Submission fails to conform to the Guidelines and Restrictions.  By uploading your Submission, you: (a) grant to USCC all rights necessary to display your Submission on USCC’s Web site and USCC’s Facebook page; (b) waive any creative rights in your Submission; (c) represent and warrant that you have the right to grant the rights granted in these Official Rules; and (d) represent and warrant that your Submission and its use as contemplated in these Official Rules does not and will not violate, misappropriate, or infringe upon any law or regulation or the rights of any third party, including any copyright, trademark, or any rights of publicity or privacy, or any other intellectual property or proprietary rights.

Submission Guidelines:

  • The Submission must be a digital photo;
  • The Submission must be entrant’s original creation and owned one hundred percent (100%) by the entrant;

Content Restrictions:

  • The Submission must not contain material that violates, misappropriates, or infringes upon any law or regulation or the rights of any third party, including any copyright, trademark, or any rights of publicity or privacy, or any other intellectual property or proprietary rights;
  • The Submission must not disparage any person or entity;
  • The Submission must not contain material that is inappropriate, indecent, obscene hateful, tortious, and/or defamatory;
  • The Submission must not contain material that promotes bigotry, racism, hatred or harm against any group or individual or promotes discrimination based on race, gender, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; and
  • The Submission must not contain material that is unlawful, in violation of or contrary to the laws or regulations in any jurisdiction where Submission is created.

Entrant must have signed permission from all individuals (parents/legal guardian of children, if featured and if not your own) that appear in the Submission to use their name and image in the Submission and to grant the rights set forth herein. If requested by USCC, entrant must be able to provide such permissions in a form acceptable to USCC.  By uploading a Submission, entrant grants to USCC a royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive license to use, reproduce, modify, publish, create derivative works from, and display such Submissions in whole or in part, and otherwise exploit the Submission in all media in any way USCC sees fit including, but not limited to, entertainment, instruction/education, promotional, advertising and/or marketing purposes.  In connection with all rights granted herein, USCC shall also have the irrevocable right to incorporate Submissions, in whole or in part, into other works, in any form, media or technology now known or hereafter developed.

Selection and Notification of Winner.  On September  23, one entry will be drawn randomly as the winner. The winner will be notified on or about September 24, 2013 by Facebook private message and/or email. To claim the prize, the winner should follow the instructions contained in his or her notification.

  1. Identity of Entrant. If a dispute arises about the identity of the entrant, entries made online will be declared made by the authorized account holder of the Facebook account/email address submitted at time of entry.  An authorized account holder is defined as the natural person who is assigned to a Facebook account/email address by an Internet access provider, online service provider or other organization (e.g., business, educational institution) that is responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain associated with the submitted email address.  The potential winner may be required to provide USCC with proof that the potential winner is the authorized account holder of the email address associated with the winning entry.
  2. Prize.  The prize is a $100 USCC Gift Card Credit.  One prize winner will be selected.  The retail value of the Prize is $100.  ALL FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL TAXES ASSOCIATED WITH THE RECEIPT OR USE OF ANY PRIZES ARE THE SOLE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE WINNER. If the Prize is returned as undeliverable or otherwise not claimed within ten (21) days after delivery of notification, the Prize will be forfeited and awarded to an alternate winner selected by the Judging Panel from all of the remaining eligible entries that meet the Judging Criteria.  The Prize is not transferable, and is not eligible for a USCC refund.  No substitutions or exchanges (including for cash) of the Prize will be permitted. The Prize will be fulfilled approximately 21 days after notification of the Prize winner.
  3. No Facebook Endorsement.  This Contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Inc.  Any information you provide in connection with the Contest is to USCC and/or its sponsors/administrators and not to Facebook.  You understand that by using and interacting with Facebook, you are subject to the terms, conditions, and policies that govern the use of Facebook.You should therefore review the applicable terms and policies for Facebook, including privacy and data gathering practices, before using or interacting with Facebook.
  4. General Release.  By entering the Contest, you release USCC and all Released Parties from any liability whatsoever, and waive any and all causes of action, for any claims, costs, injuries, losses, or damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the Contest or delivery, misdelivery, acceptance, possession, or use of or inability to use any Prize (including, without limitation, claims, costs, injuries, losses and damages related to personal injuries, death, damage to or destruction of property, rights of publicity or privacy, defamation or portrayal in a false light, whether intentional or unintentional), whether under a theory of contract, tort (including negligence), warranty or other theory.
  5. Use of Winner’s Name, Likeness, etc.  Except where prohibited by law, entry into the Contest constitutes permission to use winner’s name, Facebook name, likeness, persona, and/or Prize information in all media now known or later devised throughout the universe in perpetuity for all purposes USCC deems appropriate – including, without limitation, for promotional and publicity purposes – without further permission or compensation.  As a condition of being awarded any Prize, except where prohibited by law, winner may be required to execute a written consent, confirming USCC’s right to use such winner’s name, Facebook name, likeness, persona, hometown, and/or Prize information without further permission or compensation.
  6. Affidavit and Release.  As a condition of being awarded any Prize, winner may be required to execute and deliver to USCC a signed affidavit of eligibility, acceptance of these Official Rules, release of liability, and any other legal, regulatory, or tax-related documents required by USCC in its sole discretion.
  7. If you have any questions about these Official Rules or the Contest, please email them to customerservice@uscargocontrol.com or send written questions to US Cargo Control, 202 Blue Creek Drive, Urbana, IA  52345.
  8. Contest Sponsor: US Cargo Control, 202 Blue Creek Drive, Urbana, IA  52345.


What are the Differences Between Grade 70 Chain, Grade 80 Chain, Grade 100 Chain, and Grade 120 Chain?

A common question our sales team hears from customers is “What are the differences between grade 70 chain, grade 80 chain, grade 100 chain, and grade 120 chain?”

Note: to view a complete chain grade comparison chart and WLL chart, see our recent chain grade overview post.

Grade 70 chain

image of grade 70 transport chain / truckers chain from US Cargo Control

Grade 70 chain is transport chain manufactured in heat-treated carbon steel. As the name suggests, it’s used as tie-downs on over-the-road trailers so it’s also known as truckers chain. It’s never to be used for overhead lifting. Grade 70 chain generally features a gold chromate finish so it’s easy to recognize and meet California Highway Patrol and DOT requirements. In addition to transport uses, it’s also commonly used in towing, logging, oil rigs, and safety chain applications.

Grade 70 chain is embossed with 7, 70, or 700.


Grade 80 chain

Grade 80 chain is a heat-treated steel chain with a high strength to weight ratio. Its strength makes it safe for overhead lifting and lifting slings. It’s also excellent for uses such as recovery, safety, and towing chains. Grade 80 chain is also becoming more common in the flatbed trucking industry to secure heavy-duty industrial loads. Because these types of chains are generally equipped with a specific type of clevis grab hook, Grade 80 tie down chain assemblies are not approved for overhead lifting.

Grade 80 alloy chain is embossed with 8, 80, or 800.


Grade 100 chain

Grade 100 chain is a newer product and is becoming increasingly popular as a replacement for grade 80 chain. Considered premium quality by chain manufacturers, it provides about 25% higher working load limits than grade 80 chain and is approved for overhead lifting applications. Due to the added strength of grade 100 chain over grade 80 chain, it’s becoming more widely used to secure flatbed loads since a smaller-sized chain can be used without sacrificing working load limit capacities. However, because these chains are generally equipped with a specific type of clevis grab hook, Grade 100 tie down chain assemblies are not approved for overhead lifting.

Grade 100 alloy chain is embossed with 10, 100, or 1000.


Grade 120 chain

Grade 120 chainimage of grade 120 chain from US Cargo Control is also a newer category of high performance chain, offering the highest strength in the industry. The square link style creates increased contact between the bearing surfaces on the links, which reduces pressure on the chain. This translates to working load limits that are 50% higher than grade 80 chain, and 20% higher than grade 100 chain. Chain grade 120 is approved for overhead lifting. It’s important to note that as with Grade 80 tie down chain assemblies and Grade 100 tie down chain assemblies, Grade 120 tie down chain assemblies are also not safe for overhead lifting due to the type of hooks used.

Grade 120 chains have a bright blue finish to make them easily recognizable.



Regardless of the type of chain, all must adhere to standards set by the National Association of Chain Manufacturers (NACM), which include:

• Chain lifted loads should never be transported or suspended over people.

• All chains should be periodically inspected for cracks, gouges, wear, elongation, nicks, and suitability.

• Excessive temperatures or exposure to chemically active environments such as acids or corrosive liquids or fumes can reduce a chain’s performance.

• If chains are to be used outside the recommended temperature range ( -40 °F to 400 °F), the user should first consult the chain’s manufacturer.

• If the thickness at any location on the link is less than the listed minimum value, all chain should be removed from service.

• When mixing chain or component types, all should be rated at the working load limit of the lowest-rated component or chain.

US Cargo Control offers a full line of grade 70 transport chain, grade 80 chain, grade 100 chain, grade 120 chain, as well as chain slings.


Questions? Give our sales team a call at  866-444-9990. They will be happy to help or place an order for you.

Cargo Theft: Don’t Be a Victim

800px-Truck_trailer_loading_dock_-_Flickr_-_Joost_J._Bakker_IJmuidenCargo theft is a serious issue that has become even more of a problem over the last several years.  The numbers from the last few years don’t show an encouraging trend, either.  Cargo thefts went up 12% from 2008 to 2009, and added up to over $38 million of goods.  The trend in the early numbers of 2010 showed that perhaps even tripling, and while even more recent numbers showed the number of thefts dropped from 2013 compared to 2012. However, the average value of the theft actually went up a whopping 27%, according to a report from FreightWatch International. In other words, cargo theft remains a big time business and drivers need to know how to protect themselves.

What gets stolen?

While cargo theft can hit any carrier, there are certain products that seem to be hit more often than others.  According to FreightWatch, food and drink loads bring in the highest number of thefts, at approximately 31% of what’s been hit so far this year.  This includes meat, fruit, alcohol, and energy drinks – so a wide variety.

Not surprisingly, electronics also came in pretty high, with 11% of all cargo thefts falling into this type of load.  This includes computers, electronics, and TVs although they barely beat out building and industrial cargo loads which made up a full 10% of loads stolen.  This shouldn’t be taken lightly as many other types of cargo loads from home and garden materials to auto parts, clothing, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical cargo loads have also all been stolen at some point this year.

While caution and common sense should always be exercised, it is interesting to note that six states have combined for nearly 80% of all thefts this year: California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, and New Jersey.  Carriers need to be especially vigilant in these states.

What can you do to prevent cargo theft?

There are several important steps you can take to help protect from cargo theft.

1. Watch out for anyone or any situation that looks shady.  Take special care in the six states previously mentioned, and also have extra awareness on Fridays and Saturdays – by far and away the two days that see the most cargo theft, according to CargoNet.

2. If you’re hauling a high-target load, don’t mention it on the radio, in the truck stop, the lot, etc.

3. Use prevention methods like kingpin locks or landing gear.  Cheap padlocks don’t do as well, but a good lock on landing gear will offer a higher level of security.

4. Understand loading and unloading procedures. This is important to avoid deceptive pick-ups. It will also give you the ability to recognize when something is amiss.

5. Adding a GPS tracker is also an excellent idea in order to track a cargo load if it does get grabbed despite all other precautions.

Just taking these few steps can go a long way to keeping you free of cargo theft worries.

If you are the victim of a theft, you can report it by calling 1-888-595-CNET (2638).

How to Use an Endless Ratchet Strap

image of endless ratchet strapAn endless ratchet strap is designed to bundle or band items together, so it’s great for use on a pallet, moving dolly, etc.  Sometimes called “endless loop ratchet straps” or just an “endless strap,” they’re available in a variety of widths, lengths, and colors.

Because a ratchet can be tensioned tightly, it’s a good idea to add corner protectors if you’re strapping together loads that may have delicate or crushable edges. Another option to consider for more fragile loads is an endless cam buckle strap since a cam buckle cannot be over-tightened the same way a ratchet strap can.

1.) Feed the strap through the bottom of the pallet, keeping the strap going the same direction as the fork truck tines. This will prevent the strap from being damaged by the tines.

2.) Bring the loose end of the strap over the top of the pallet and feed the webbing onto the mandrel take up spool of the ratchet. Pull the extra webbing through so that the slack is out of the strap. Failure to perform this step will result in too much webbing being spooled onto the take-up spool and will cause it to jam before the strap is fully tightened. In severe cases you will damage the ratchet assembly and/or you will have to cut the webbing off.

3.) Place corner protectors as needed over the edges of the cargo. This is especially useful if you have cardboard boxes or fragile cargo that will cave in or break when the strap is tightened. Corner protectors are also good for protecting the strap from abrasive cargo such as bricks to increase their life expectancy.

4.) Once you’ve removed the extra slack from the strap, you can begin to ratchet it down to your desired tension.

For more information or to purchase products in this video, click on the links below: