The Hook & Haul Lip-Sync Challenge has reached US Cargo Control. Last month, the President of NessCampbell stopped by our booth at the SC&RA Rigging Workshop vendor fair. He had heard we make cool videos and challenged us to make a lip-sync video similar to the one NessCampbell made. As a proud member of SC&RA (and a team that knows how to make time for fun) we accepted the challenge without hesitation.
From our sales and service team to manufacturing and marketing, it took the entire USCC crew to complete this challenge. The guys shared how customers can lean on them for guidance, support, and apparently hugs, while the ladies of USCC showed us just how much fun girls can have at work. There was a party in the USA going on in manufacturing, and our Chief Financial Officer surprised us all by channeling his inner Freddie Mercury. Then, our CEO got the company band together for a jam session in the middle of our building. He’s the one singing lead vocals for “Life is a Highway”.
Started by NessCampbell Crane + Rigging, the challenge is a fun way to bring together companies in the crane, rigging, and specialized transport industry. More importantly, the laughable lip-syncing helps others by raising funds and awareness for the SC&R Foundation. This non-profit organization exists to support SC&RA member companies and industry as a whole. The foundation funds industry-specific research projects and awards nearly $60,000 in scholarships and educational initiatives each year.
Now, help us spread the support for the SC&R Foundation. Go to the USCC facebook page and share this video to help spread the word and the laughs.
Other rigging and specialized transport companies beware– we are now looking to pass the Hook & Haul Challenge along. Let us know if there’s a company you think we should challenge in the comments below.
Plate clamps, or sheet clamps, make difficult lifts safer and easier. While these strong lifting tools allow for faster production speeds, they should not be used haphazardly. The use of plate lifting clamps requires an operator who is trained on their use and who takes safety seriously.
How Plate Clamps Work
Plate clamps eliminate the need for drilling or creating a hitch. The most important parts of a plate clamp include the lifting shackle, spring, teeth within the jaw, and the various links and pins. To lift a plate, the teeth of the plate clamp need to be pushed into the plate. With help from the powerful spring, this turns the lifting point of the clamp into the lifting point of the plate and essentially causes the two objects to become one.
What’s great about plate clamps is that their grip strength automatically increases as the load gets heavier. Essentially, the weight of the load determines how much link tension there will be and the link tension determines jaw torque and ultimately grip strength. Learn more about what this means below.
How to Pick the Proper Size and Type of Plate Clamp
Choosing the proper size plate clamp will not only maximize safety but also extend the life of the plate clamp. To do this, you should buy a clamp with the closest working load limit (WLL) to the weight of the plate being lifted. This ensures that the jaw provides optimal clamping force and penetration. Keep in mind that bigger is not always better with plate clamps. There are minimum load requirements because a load that is too light will not be able to create sufficient grip strength. That’s why most plate clamps have both minimum and maximum load requirements stamped on them. It’s recommended that you avoid lifting a load that’s 20% below the rated capacity of the clamp.
You also need to pay close attention to the max jaw capacity of the plate clamp. Jaw capacity should be as close as possible to the thickness of the material you’re lifting.
Lastly, you should not be lifting plates that have a surface that is harder than the teeth of the clamp. For plates that have an extremely hard surface or a surface which could be easily damaged, there are certain types of lifting clamps that have a non-marring jaw and no teeth. Examples of this are the Crosby® IPNM10 Lifting Clamps and the Terrier TNMK/TNMKA Lifting Clamps.
Safety Tips for Vertical Plate Lifting Clamps
Vertical plate lifting clamps can lift and turn over flat plates 180 degrees and can be used to transport plates in a vertical position.
Vertical lifting clamps should never be sideloaded and you should never try to lift more than one plate at a time. If you’re lifting a long plate, you should consider using two clamps connected to a spreader bar to minimize swing and maximize lifting safety. Also, keep in mind that plates which are hot in temperature can damage the structural integrity of the plate clamp. Columbus McKinnon recommends that you do not lift plates that are 250 degrees or higher.
If you are lifting a long plate horizontally, never use a quad sling. This will cause the horizontal clamps to turn and potentially slip off. Instead, use a spreader bar with double-leg slings that connect to the plate clamp. When it comes to lifting short plates horizontally, one double sling with horizontal plate clamps on each end will suffice. To maintain proper lifting strength and control, always ensure there is a minimum included angle of at least 90 degrees. Never use vertical plate clamps for a horizontal lift.
How to Inspect and Care for Plate Clamps
Lifting clamps should be inspected every 1-4 weeks depending on use. To prevent plates from slipping, you should degrease clamps regularly and remove any grit, dirt, or mud. You should also lubricate the moving parts of the clamp, but never lubricate the teeth of a lifting clamp. Check the teeth regularly for chips and breaks. According to ASME standards, chipped teeth are only acceptable if the chip is less than half the width of the tooth and the adjoining teeth are undamaged. If there is any tooth damage beyond this, the plate lifting clamp is not safe to use.
Other things to look for when inspecting plate lifting clamps include spring deformation, pad deformation, bending of hook ring, markings on top of the mouth, wear on any pins, pulling on rivets, and hook elongation.
As stated above, choosing the proper size and type of lifting clamp is the best way to ensure longer plate clamp life. Another thing that riggers can do to care for their plate lifting clamps is to minimize swing during the lift. Less swing results in less stress on the lifting clamp and a good crane operator knows how to minimize swing.
If you have any other questions about plate clamps let us know in the comment section below.
Over the last few weeks, there has been a lot of well-deserved celebration around our manufacturing team. Not only did they get a sweet surprise on National Manufacturing Day, but they were also just recognized by the Associated Wire Rope Fabricators (AWRF) for their dedication to exceptional safety.
Check out the video below to see the authentic surprise from our deserving manufacturing team.
Authentic Surprise in Manufacturing
Like many companies, manufacturing is the backbone of USCC. Without it, salesmen would have nothing to sell and the warehouse team wouldn’t have products to pick. So, when we heard that National Manufacturing Day was coming up a few weeks ago, all the teams at USCC came together to show our appreciation.
Over 45 different poster and signs were created to show our appreciation for manufacturing. Everything from “You Guys Rock” to “Manufacturing is Sew Amazing.” Then, on the big day, we started hanging them one-by-one in the glass windows outside the manufacturing facility.
In addition to the signs, USCC team members made about 20 different types of treats to keep our manufacturing team fueled up. From brownies and cookies to donuts and cake, it’s safe to say the team was feeling pretty sweet that day.
Keeping a secret from people you work with is not the easiest thing, but the genuine reactions on all their faces tell us we did alright.
USCC Manufacturing Recognized for Safety
Just a few days after the excitement for National Manufacturing Day, our team got some more great news.
Associated Wire Rope Fabricators (AWRF) notified us that our team achieved an LTIR safety rating of 0.00/Green in 2017. LTIR stands for Lost Time Injury Rate so, just like in golf, this low score means our manufacturing team was extremely safe and efficient this past year.
This serious dedication to safety and the well-being of all our team members starts with our leadership. In this case, Chris Biechler is the man in charge of the day-to-day operations of USCC manufacturing.
Chris says his number one goal as manufacturing manager is to send his team home in equal or better health than when they arrived. From pre-work stretches to safety boots and glasses, Chris makes sure the team is ready to take on the challenges of manufacturing each and every day.
Back in June, we wrote about the 3-day International Roadcheck that was about to affect thousands of truck drivers across North America. Organized by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), the focus in 2018 was on Hour-of-Service Compliance.
Now, thousands of roadside inspections later, the CVSA has released the results of their annual driver and vehicle inspections.
How many trucks and drivers were affected?
At a high-level view, 67,603 roadside inspections were conducted on large trucks and buses. That number is up a bit from last year’s 62,013 total inspections. This year’s inspections resulted in 11,910 vehicles being placed out-of-service and 2,666 drivers found to have conditions that placed them out-of-service. Another 211 were placed out of service due to hazardous materials/dangerous goods (HM/DG).
This means that out of all the North American Standard Level I Inspections (45,501), a whopping 21.6 percent resulted in a commercial vehicle being placed out of service.
Keep in mind that 60,321 of the total inspections were conducted in the United States, while just 7,282 were done in Canada.
What does being placed out-of-service mean?
Being placed out-of-service does not mean the driver or vehicle is a lost cause. A vehicle that is placed out of service must have the mechanical issue corrected before its allowed to be on the road again, and a driver who is in violation has to correct their infraction before getting back behind the wheel.
Let’s look at exactly what caused these drivers and vehicles to be, at least temporarily, put out of commission.
Top 3 reasons for vehicles being placed out-of-service
Top 3 reasons for drivers being placed out-of-service
Hours of Service – 1,328 (43.7 percent)
Wrong Class License – 649 (21.4 percent)
False Record of Duty Status – 309 (10.2 percent)
Other reasons for being placed out-of-service
Believe it or not, there were 729 safety belt violations and about 72 drivers were in violation of drug/alcohol policies. Of the 211 placed out-of-service for hazardous materials or dangerous goods, 25.6 percent was due to loading or securement.
And while it’s obvious that many drivers were tripped up by this year’s focus on hours of service regulations, last year’s spotlight on proper cargo securement showed up as a problem area again this year. About 1,548 vehicles, or 13 percent of total out-of-service vehicles, were found to have insufficient cargo securement.
Tire chains are a lifesaver once roads become covered with ice and hard-packed snow. Here in Eastern Iowa, the temperatures are falling quickly as we wave farewell to summer and slide closer towards winter. Make sure you’re fully prepared for hazardous winter road conditions by stocking up on quality steel tire chains for your vehicle.
When to use Snow Chains
Obviously, you’ll want to use tire chains when there’s a layer of snow or ice on the road you’re driving on. But, you do not want to drive with snow chains on your truck or semi tires when there is no snow or ice present. This could not only cause damage to the road (which can result in fines), but it could also destroy your tires.
Since you never know exactly when snow or ice could show up, it’s smart to carry a full set of tire chains with you in your vehicle. Commercial truck drivers, who need numerous tire chains, might consider investing in a toolbox for their truck or a tire chain carrier that will help protect chains and also keep them organized.
Tire Chain Laws
There are strict tire chain laws in many states that require truck drivers to have the appropriate tire chains in their rig at all times. Once the snowy weather sets in, it’s common to see roadside checkpoints pop-up where officials check to make sure you have the proper number of chains. If you don’t, you may be fined. Some states also have laws that explicitly prohibit the use of tire chains in certain situations, so be aware of the laws in the state which you are driving.
How Fast can you Drive with Chains?
If you have tire chains on, you should really never be going faster than 30mph. Faster speeds risk damaging the chain links and that could wreak havoc on your tires or fenders.
Practice Installing your Tire Chains
Winter weather changes quickly and some roads you drive on will be worse than others depending on when a snowplow comes through. Instead of learning how to put your tire chains on when you’re pulled over on the side of the road in the middle of a blizzard, it’s a smart idea to practice putting them on and off in more favorable conditions. This will help minimize frozen fingers and also save you a bunch of time. Also, if you don’t already, you should keep a high visibility reflective safety vest with you and emergency warning triangles so that passing drivers can see you in those low-visibility conditions.
Tire Chain Comparison Guide
The main difference among the tire chains sold at US Cargo Control is seen in the chain link styles. The Glacier chain made by Pewag has twist links, while the more premium Pewag tire chain features square links. Square links provide higher traction on ice compared to twist links but come at a higher cost. Twist links and square links both perform quite well in snow. Another huge benefit to using square link tire chains is their ability to be reversed without causing damage. This allows them to have double the life, and also makes it easier to install them.
Buy the Best Tire Chains
Below is a chart that outlines all the differences you should know when deciding which type of tire chain is best for you.