What’s the Difference between Ratchet Binders and Lever Binders?

A chain binder, is a tool used to tighten chain as a method to secure cargo to a trailer for transport. There are two common styles; the ratchet binder and the lever binder.

ratchet chain binder
Ratchet Chain Binder 5/16″ – 3/8″

The Ratchet Binder 

A ratchet binder also known as a ratchet chain, uses a ratcheting mechanism to create tension in the chain and secure the load. It features a ratchet handle and two tension hooks on each end. Ratchet styles are often noted as the safer option between the two types because it’s design does not store as much energy in the handle, reducing the risk of the bar recoiling or snapping back.

 

 

The Lever Binder

lever binder
Lever Binder 5/16″ – 3/8″

Lever binders also known as a lever chain or snap binder, uses leverage to tighten the chain and secure cargo. The tool features a tension hook on each end. Lever binders are typically easier to install because they have a more simple design. This style stores energy in the handle and can be tougher to tighten as it requires more strength. People often use cheater bars because of it. Those bars are considered dangerous and are not recommended.

 

Binder Pricing 

There is a difference in price between the two types of load binders. Lever binders are typically the more economical choice. US Cargo Control offers binders individually or in packs. Free shipping is available on orders of $2,000 or more.

Selecting the Right Size

Once you’ve zeroed in on your preferred style, it’s time to determine the size.

US Cargo Control lever and ratchet binders feature the same forged steel handle, break strengths and working load limits based on the size of the binder. Both types are designed to work with designated sizes of grade 70 and grade 43 chain. It is important to know the size and grade of chain you are working with when shopping for a compatible binder.

Two measurements are listed on each type. The numbers indicate the size of chain the binder is recommended to work with. The first number indicated grade 70 transport chain while the second number shows grade 43 test chain. For example, a 5/16’’ – 3/8’’ binder is compatible with 5/16’’ grade 70 chain and 3/8’’ grade 43 chain. Be aware of these numbers. The assembly is only as strong as its weakest link. A smaller binder may fit, but it will bring down the working load limit of the entire operation.

Deciding on a Binder 

Many factors come into play when deciding which binder is best. Operators should select their preferred style based on their comfort level when it comes to tightening the mechanism. If you need further help give one of our US Cargo Control sales specialists a call at 866-348-3473.

Winter Weather: Be Aware and Prepared

Winter weather has been wreaking havoc all across the United States this week. It’s no surprise when snow and ice descend on the Midwest or Northeast, but when freezing conditions are impacting the sunny, south things are getting a little weird.

Trucker Brock Gadberry is no stranger to winter, he grew up on a farm in Missouri and currently lives in Nebraska. On Monday he was in the thick of winter’s mess, but this time in the south.

Trucker Brock Gadberry encounters icy conditions on Highway 67 just north of Alamogordo, TX.
Trucker Brock Gadberry encounters icy conditions on Highway 67 just north of Alamogordo, TX.

Gadberry tells us temperatures hovered right around 28 or 29 degrees, cold enough to freeze bridges and overpasses. He says it spit freezing rain as he drove all the way from Little Rock to Dallas.

“I never really had to slow down, cruise over the bridges and keep goin’,” Gadberry said. “It’s always [bad]  when they hit the brakes on the bridges.”

Gadberry pulls tankers hauling locomotive engine oil all over the country. He knows it’s important to be prepared for whatever mother nature has up her wicked sleeve, and he’s always ready with extra food, blankets and clothing.

To keep himself and his equipment safe he looks to the advice of  his father, a seasoned driver with 40 years experience and two million miles under his belt. brock photo 2

“He always told me never drive outside what you are comfortable handling,” Gadberry explained.

Sometimes Gadberry will look to tools for help, like tire chains. He says he’s rare to use them, but they are always in his truck.

Tire chains can help drivers keep better control in icy, snowy and slushy conditions. U.S. Cargo Control carries two styles of snow chains. Our Glacier Chain is a lighter, more cost-effective chain that’s good to have on hand during an emergency. Our Premium Chain is more heavy duty and best for drivers who regularly use them during winter driving conditions.

Some states require truckers to store chains in their rigs. The laws vary state to state so it’s a good idea to contact the Department of Transportation, or DOT, where you are. Many of the laws can be found on the web, we even have a handy post on our blog that breakdowns chain regulation by state.

Whether you use snow chains or not, it’s important to be aware and prepared. Those are two things Gadberry, a life-long trucker knows all too well.

“We run all over the Midwest and sometimes we have to go, just grit my teeth and go,” Gadberry said.

Brock photo 3Do you have snowy or icy photos of your rig? Post them to our Facebook Page. Or Tweet us @USCargoControl.

 

New Products: Grade 120 Chain

PewagChain-by-the-foot_1
Grade 120 chain by the foot

If you’re looking for the best lifting chains and bulk chain in the industry, look no further than grade 120 chain.

120 grade chain is a new generation of high performance chain. With working load limits 50% higher than traditional grade 80 chain, and 20% stronger than grade 100 chain, it’s ideal for any application requiring superior strength.

The higher levels of strength also allows for significant reduction in overall chain weight, an excellent benefit for lifting applications.

The added strength comes from the chain’s square link design, which provides higher wear resistance. Because there’s increased contact between the links’ bearing surfaces, pressure is reduced on the chain, which reduces overall wear and encourages a longer working life.

Grade 120 connecting link
Grade 120 connecting link

This square profile also offers up to 38% higher moment of resistance in comparison to traditional round links in the same diameter. This translates into the chain being able to withstand bending forces- making it the superior chain for heavy duty jobs.

In comparing chain with the same dimension and workload, grade 120 alloy offers a design factor of 6:1 compared to G80 with 4:1.

120 grade chain is manufactured with a powder coat finish for corrosion protection. The bright blue color also makes it easily identifiable.

Grade 120 Eye Self Locking Hooks
Grade 120 Eye Self Locking Hooks

Our grade 120 chain comes from the experts at pewag, the leaders in chain technology and manufacturing since its first documented forging plan in Austria in 1479. pewag’s North American distribution company and service center was founded in 1975.

We’re pleased to carry grade 120 chain in four sizes: 9/32″, 5/16″, 3/8″, and 1/2″, all in full drum sizes of cut lengths by the foot. Grade 120 fittings are also available. Shop the full selection here: Grade 120 chain.

Tire Chain Laws by State

snowsunrisehighwayWhen winter weather strikes, it’s not only important to have sturdy tire chains ready to go in your vehicle- in some states, it’s the law. Tire chains help keep your rig on the road in the ice and snow, making travel safer for you, your load and the drivers around you.

There is a wide variety of tire chains available for many different sizes of tires and specific travel needs. That means there is also a range of restrictions for what chains can or must be used from state to state. Some states ask that you simply carry tire chains in your vehicle, while other states require them to be on your tires when you pass through the state at certain times of the year. Some states require manually applied tire chains, while other states allow you to use automatic chains.

States with Tire Chain Laws or Restrictions

Click a state in the list below for tire chain laws, restrictions and other important tire chain information:

States with No Tire Chain Laws

Some states have no tire chain laws at all. These include:

  • Washington, D.C.
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Missouri
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont

If you’re concerned about whether you have sufficient chains for your vehicle’s tires, it’s a good idea to contact that states Department of Transportation before you head out with your load.

25008-premium-pewag-dual-tire-chain-w-square-links_1_375
Premium Pewag Dual Tire Chain w/ Square Links for 24.5″ Wheels

Need to buy tire chains? We offer two styles of snow chains from Pewag, a leader in chain manufacturing:

-Glacier chains offer durable traction with a 6mm twist link that penetrates icy and snowy conditions. They’re great to have on hand for emergency use.

-Premium chains in a 7mm square link design wear more than four times longer than traditional  6/0 twist link tire chains and also provide about 32% more traction. These are the best tire chains for regular use.

 Shop our entire selection  here: Tire Chains
or give our sales team a call at 866-444-9990. 

Chain Slings from US Cargo Control

da
David Urlaub, Lifting & Rigging Product Expert

Since we’ve expanded our line of chain lifting slings earlier this year, it’s been great seeing the different types and sizes of chain slings customers are requesting. This one has been one of the biggest we’ve seen lately.

These chains have a capacity of 234,000 lbs. at 60 degrees, which means it would break at about 1,000,000 lbs. It’s being used to lift a large pump that weighs 210,000 lbs.chain sling from US Cargo Control

 

All of our lifting chain slings are manufactured with chain that’s made in the USA and European-made fittings. All also meet or exceed the latest guidelines of the National Association of Chain Manufacturers (NACM), ANSI B30.9 standards, and specifications set by OSHA.

Types of Chain Slings

We offer four sling types: standard, adjustable, endless and basket.

3-Leg-Chain-Sling-Common_1_375
Standard Triple Leg Chain Sling

Standard chain slings. Manufactured with one, two, three, or four lengths of chain, and fitted with hardware at each end, with a master oblong link at the top.

Single Leg Standard Chain Sling
Double Leg Standard Chain Sling
Triple Leg Standard Chain Sling
Quad Leg Standard Chain Sling

 

 

Adjustable-2-Leg-Chain-Sling-Common_1_375
Adjustable Double Leg Chain Sling

Adjustable chain slings. Similar to standard chain slings, but each leg is also equipped with a shorter length of chain with a grab hook also attached to the master oblong link. This design allows the operator to shorten the chain leg length as needed.

Single Leg Adjustable Chain Sling
Double Leg Adjustable Chain Sling
Triple Leg Adjustable Chain Sling
Quad Leg Adjustable Chain Sling

 

 

endlessEndless chain slings. As it sounds, an endless sling is an endless loop of chain attached through a master oblong link at the top. An additional variation has two loops of chain attached through the same master oblong. Our endless chain lift slings are available to order via our Custom Chain Sling Order Form or by giving us a call at 800-660-3585.

 

 

basketBasket chain slings. In a similar design as the endless basket sling except it’s just one length of chain making up the body of the sling, with each end of the chain attached to the oblong master link. A double basket configuration has two lengths attached each to its own oblong link, with the oblongs then attached to a master oblong link. Basket chain slings can be ordered via out Custom Chain Sling Order Form or by phone at 800-660-3585.

 

Custom chain lift sling options

In addition to the four different types of sling, other options to customize the lift slings include the size of the chain, the grade of the chain, and the number of legs. Several end fittings are available including sling hooks, grab hooks, foundry hooks, self-locking hooks, and simple oblong links.

You can shop our online selection of chain slings here: Chain Slings & Lifting Chains, or give us a call at 800-660-3585 about any customization options you need. We’ll be happy to help find the exact sling you need.

Working Load Limits of Chain

Grade 70 transport chain from US Cargo ControlWhether you transport machinery, use tow chains, or are in the logging industry, it’s important to know the working load limits of chain you are using. Chains have a working load limit- or WLL- of approximately one third of their break strengths (the amount of force the chains can withstand before they break).

How to determine a chain’s working load limit

The WLL of a chain is determined by both the grade and the diameter. Chain is embossed with both the grade and size so you can determine its WLL using this chart.

new chart

 

Types of chain

Grade 30 Chain

Grade 30 is a multipurpose, economical chain. Also known as Grade 30 Proof Coil Chain, it’s used in a variety of industries and jobs, including light construction, barrier chains, and in the marine industry. It is not safe for overhead lifting. Grade 30 chain is embossed using a 3, 30, or 300.

Grade 43 Chain

Also called Grade 43 High Test Chain  or Grade 43 Tow Chain, this is common in the towing and logging industries. It is not rated safe for overhead lifting. Grade 43 chain is embossed using a 43 or a G4.shutterstock_2337463

Grade 70 Chain

Grade 70 Transport Chain is also called Grade 70 Truckers Chain as it’s common in securing loads for over-the-road hauling. It is not rated safe for overhead lifting. Grade 70 chain is embossed using a 7, 70, or 700.

Grade 80 Chain

Grade 80 Alloy Chain is heat-treated making it safe and rated for overhead lifting. It’s also commonly used as a heavy duty tow chain. Grade 80 chain is embossed using an 8, 80, or 800.

Grade 100 Chain

Considered premium quality chain, it offers about a 25% higher work load limit over Grade 80 chain. It is safe for overhead lifting. Grade 100 chains are embossed with a 10 or 100.

Grade 120 Chain

A newer product in the market, Grade 120 chain is up to 50% stronger than Grade 80 chain and 20% stronger than Grade 100 chain. It’s also more resistant to abrasion than both Grade 80 and Grade 100 chains. It’s safe  for overhead lifts.

LEARN MORE: 

Learn more about the differences between grades 70, 80 and 100 here: What are the Differences Between Grade 70 Chain, Grade 80 Chain, and Grade 100 Chain?

SHOP NOW: 

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 to 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 work 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 work 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 to 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.

Chain Binders

What is a chain binder?

Also called a load binder, chain binders are a device to tighten chain when securing a load for transport. There are two general styles of chain binders –  ratchet binder and lever binder. The method of tightening the binder is what differentiates the two.

Ratchet Binder

  • Uses a ratcheting action to create tension in the chain.
  • Also called a ratchet load binder or simply a ratchet chain, it consists of two tension hooks on each end and handle.
  • Because ratchet binders are designed with a gear, handle, pawl, and end fittings, it will not store as much energy in the handle like a lever binder will.
  • A ratchet-type binder is easier to adjust in finer increments without the recoil or snap back effect of a lever binder.

Lever Binder

  • Uses a leverage action to create tension in the chain and stores kinetic energy in its handle.
  • Also called a lever chain, lever load binder, or snap binder, it has a tension hook on each end.
  • This type of chain binder generally requires more strength to tighten it.
  • Lever binders are generally easier to install because it has fewer moving parts.

Both lever binders and ratchet binders work similarly, and should be chosen based on operator preference.

What are the different sizes for chain binders and how do I choose?

Two measurements determine the size of a lever binder or ratchet binder, but let’s first outline chain grade.

There are two main grades of chain for tie-down applications:

Grade 43 high test chain is used for stationary, non-transport tie downs.

Grade 70 transport chain is for objects being transported on a flatbed or other moving vehicle.

Each binder can be used with either size of equipment chain for the appropriate application, but since the different grades have different load limits each binder will be marked with the appropriate chain dimensions for both types of chain for proper performance. The first measurement (smaller) identifies the Grade 70 chain dimension, the second measurement (larger) identifies the Grade 43 chain size required.

Keep the weakest link theory in mind to maximize your working load limit: choose a work load limit equal to or greater than the chain.
Example:

image of lever binder

5/16″ – 3/8″ Lever Binder.

The 5/16″ specifies the chain binder can be used with 5/16″ Grade 70 Transport Chain or it can be used with 3/8″ Grade 43 High Test Chain.

Small binders can technically be used for both 5/16″ or 3/8″ chain in either grade, but if you pair one with 3/8″ Grade 70 transport chain the binder will be weaker than the chain, making the binder the weakest part of the assembly. If you are working with 3/8″ Grade 70 chain, the best choice is to pair it with a 3/8″ – 1/2″ chain binder so that binder and the chain are of equal strength.

Chain binders should have the size, break strength, and working load limit marked on the handle for easy identification.