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: 

10 Ways to Store Tie Down Straps

blogggAfter an un-official poll on our US Cargo Control Facebook page, some of our customers replied and sent us messages with great ideas on how to store tie down straps.

First, before storing them away for any period of time, it’s important to make sure the webbing is clean and dry- be sure and check out our How to Inspect, Clean, and Store Tie Down Straps article for more information.

Also keep in mind that even though it’s tempting to just throw straps in a pile or bucket, taking the time to wind up a strap is also an ideal time to inspect the webbing for rips, tears, and abrasions.

Some of the great tie down storage ideas we received:

Plastic zip ties. Traditional zip ties are generally a one-time use, so these are great if you intend to secure and store away your tie downs for awhile. If you use your straps repeatedly, pick up the reusable zip ties that have a release mechanism.

Plastic Stretch Wrap - SW31000
Plastic Stretch Wrap SW31000

Plastic stretch wrap. Popular in the moving industry, stretch wrap is great because it can secure cargo compactly, yet is re-positionable and doesn’t have sticky adhesive to leave residue behind. For tie down straps, simple wind up tightly and roll a few layers of stretch wrap around it to keep it in place.

Cinch Strap - BSC36
Cinch Strap
BSC36

Rubber band. Simple, fast and easy, but these can quickly become brittle and break, especially with extended sun exposure or extreme temperatures, so you may need to replace often. Another variation that will last a bit longer: elastic hair bands.

Cinch strap.  Velcro cinch straps are great for securing a loop of webbing. If you have a trailer with E-track installed, you can loop the strap through an E-track fitting with O-ring to keep straps up and off the floor.

Plastic freezer bags. Gallon-sized plastic bags work great to not only secure the strap in a loop, they’ll keep them dry too. Gallon-sized bags will accommodate 1″ straps. Larger-sized bags with 2-gallon, 3-gallon, and larger sizes are becoming more common and are great for storing straps with wider webbing.

Bungee Ball - BBB6-100PK
Bungee Ball
BBB6-100PK

Bungee balls. These handy ties come in a bulk package of 100 so you’ll have plenty to wrap up your tie down straps, and some left over for other uses:  securing canopies, keeping box lids closed, anchoring yard ornaments, bundling tent poles, etc.

Bungee Cords - BC3836-10PK
Bungee Cords
BC3836-10PK

Tackle box. Pick up one with dividers; they’re great for storing smaller 1″ straps. An old briefcase is another idea for larger straps. The narrow height keeps them rolled and intact.

Bungee cords. Like bungee balls, the uses are endless with bungee. Our bungee cord selection comes in a wide range of sizes, sure to fit around even your largest 4″ winch straps or ratchet straps.

Plastic storage boxes.  These are a great idea if you’ll be keeping them on a shelf in a garage or shed. Plastic storage boxes come in so many sizes, find one that’s small enough to keep the strap wrapped compactly. Be sure to purchase boxes with clear sides so you can easily see what’s inside without having to open the box. Most have a molded lid design that makes them easy to stack, too.

Shock Cord - SHC18COIL
Shock Cord SHC18COIL

Shock cord. Lightweight shock cords makes it easy to make custom length straps, just by adding bungee hooks.

BONUS TIP: If you work with a lot of tie down straps, especially the larger 3″ and 4″ widths, check out our Strap Winder.

Ball Bungees: Not Just for Tarps Anymore

image of ball bungees / bungee ball tie downs from USCargoControl.comBall bungees are fairly simple pieces of equipment when you think about it, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have an impressive list of diverse uses.  If you’re not familiar with what we’re talking about, these ball ties are also sometimes called bungee balls, toggle balls, or ball bungee snuggers. They’re just a short piece of rubber bungee cord that’s looped up and knotted inside a small plastic ball.

We added bungee balls to our website a few months ago and have been hearing about lots of different uses for these handy tie downs from our customers.

25 Uses for Ball Bungees

  1. Tying up kindling and firewood for your wood burning home stove. (Be sure to add ball bungees to your camping checklist this summer too.)
  2. Tie on a loose bumper or other car parts temporarily after a car accident.  This should only be a temporary solution – but it can help get the car out of the street and to the mechanic for a more permanent solution.
  3. Keep a car trunk, or truck end gate bungeed shut when you’re hauling something oversized.
  4. Tying down a tarp over virtually anything – especially when hauling on a trailer.
  5. Tie extension cords together.
  6. Add extra security to equipment you need to strap to the top of a vehicle.
  7. Grouping together tools, stuff in the garage, or even straight items like skis, ski poles, or fishing poles.
  8. For setting up small tarps or other ground cover over outdoor plants and trees to prevent freezing.
  9. Secure a gate closed when the latch has broken.
  10. Tie down a lid on a garbage can or recycling bin.
  11. Secure lids on pet food to keep unwanted animals and pests out.
  12. Attach Christmas lights or other decorations to fences, posts, etc.
  13. Loop around garden hoses before storing away for winter.
  14. Loop around handles on suitcases or other luggage pieces so you can attach ID tags and find them quickly at the airport.
  15. Secure flags on snowmobiles, ATVs, etc.
  16. Secure around pant leg before putting on snow boots to keep pant legs tucked in.
  17. Tie down a cooler inside a tractor cab to keep it in place.
  18. Bundle hockey sticks or skis together to make them easier to carry.
  19. Secure around rolled up outdoor carpeting to keep it tight while in storage.
  20. Secure a camera to a solid object to use a tripod.
  21. Add extra tie down points when using a cargo net.
  22. Hang tarps when doing home improvement projects to keep mess contained.
  23. Secure pet crates inside vehicle to keep them from sliding.
  24. Loop one around your phone and attach to your belt, backpack, etc. when outdoors.
  25. Gather and secure extra long extension cords, computer cords, media cables, etc. to keep them neat and managed.

You can find bungee ball tie downs in our bungee cord category on US Cargo Control: Bungee Cords.

If you already know what length and color of ball bungees you need, shop here:

 6″ Bungee Balls: Black (pack of 100)

6″ Bungee Balls: White (pack of 100)

9″ Bungee Balls: Black (pack of 100)

9″ Bungee Balls: White (pack of 100)

11″ Bungee Balls: Black (pack of 100)

11 Bungee Balls: White (pack of 100)

Have you used these handy bungee ball cords? Let us know how and we’ll add it to our list! Better yet- send us a picture; you just may see a blog post about it!

 

Flatbed Truck Tarps: Types, Sizes, and Accessories

487577_10152845804082619_26801796_nChoosing the best flatbed truck tarp for your particular needs might not be as clear cut as you think. Flatbed tarps not only come in a wide variety of sizes, but they are made of different materials and designed very differently depending on their intended use.  The best tarp for a dump truck won’t necessarily be the best for covering lumber or steel.

There is no one size fits all type of tarp, which is part of the reason it’s so important to understand exactly what your hauling needs will be.

 

What are the main types of flatbed truck tarps?

image of flatbed truck tarps from USCargoControl.com

  • Lumber tarps. A lumber tarp is designed with flaps at the end to cover the ends of a load, protecting the lumber or other cargo from the elements.
  • Steel tarp. A heavy duty steel truck tarp is four-sided without flaps. This design is most efficient for protecting steel rods, sheets, cables, etc.
  • Dump truck tarps. Roll tarps for dump trucks are waterproof and designed not only for traditional dump trucks, but also many similar style trucks like grain trucks, grain carts, fertilizer tenders, trailers, and more.
  • Smoke Tarps. A smoke tarp serves one very specific purpose: covering the front of a load to protect it from soot, dirt, and especially exhaust smoke.  As an added benefit, it can help stop wind from creating an annoying and distracting whistling sound if you are hauling PVC pipes or steel pipes.

Tarp sizes

While heavy duty lumber and steel flatbed truck tarps often come in 16×27, 20×27, or 24×27 configurations, you’ll find that heavy duty smoke tarps are only 10×12 in many cases.  A dump truck tarp looks much different from both of these configurations coming in at 9’10×41 or 10’6×42.

Tarp tie downs

Just as with tarps, there is also a huge variety of tie downs and other accessories for use with truck tarps. Equipment for securing a tarp can be broken down into a few overall categories:

image of rubber tarp straps from USCargoControl.comRubber tarp straps. These heavy duty tarp tie downs are available in both natural rubber and ethylene propylene diene monomer – M-class (EPDM) rubber. A natural rubber tarp strap is best for cold, Notherrn areas because the rubber won’t crack, tear, or become brittle even in freezing temps. An EPDM rubber tarp strap is best for hot climates as they stand up well to extended sun exposure.

 

image of shock cord from USCargoControl.comShock cord. Also called bungee cord or elastic straps, shock cord is a stretchy rope with a heavy duty polyester fabric covering a rubber core. Shock cord is an excellent choice if you need to make a custom length strap for flatbed truck tarps, simply by adding a coated bungee hook.

 

rubber rope from US Cargo ControlRubber rope. Like a shock cord tie down, rubber rope can also be cut to length to make custom tie down straps. It’s available in a hollow style for lightweight applications or a solid core for more heavy-duty jobs.

 

 

Corner protectorsimage of corner protector for tarps from USCargoControl.com

Corner protectors have a variety of names in the industry: strap protectors, corner guards, etc. A plastic corner protector for tarps has a rounded edge, allowing the tarp to curve around the edge rather than pulled tightly over the sharp corner.

 

Grade 70 Transport Chain: Specifications, Sizes, Safety Tips, and Attachments

Transport chain is essential if you plan to haul heavy duty cargo or equipment. Grade 70 chain is the ideal transport chain since it’s made with carbon steel that’s heat treated to create additional strength.

When purchasing Grade 70 chain, look for these specifications:

  • Meets or exceeds safety regulations set by the Department of Transportation (DOT).
  • Meets or exceeds safety regulations set by the National Association of Chain Manufacturers (NACM).
  • Chains and attachments such as clevis hooks should be stamped with a “G70” for easy identification.

Chain sizes
Short link transport chain is generally available in three widths: 3/8″, 5/16″, and 1/2″ widths, Lengths are usually anywhere from 16 to 25 feet. If your job requires a direct ratchet connection, an 18″ chain connection is generally a good choice.

Safety tips for using transport chain:

  • Do not exceed specified working load limits of the chain and accessories.
  • Inspect chain before each use to look for any visible signs of damage or wear to the links.
  • Inspect attachment points and any hook or other attachments for signs of wear.
  • Always calculate the number of chains needed to transport your cargo safely.

Transport chain attachments and accessories

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.

Flatbed Tarps: Lumber Tarps and Steel Tarps

Flatbed truck tarps are an essential for any flatbed truck driver. There are differences between a lumber tarp and a steel tarp, as well as features to look for in both.

Lumber tarp
A lumber tarp is generally used for long haul truckers to protect lumber, hay, pallets, and other bulky cargo. It is designed with a flap to fully cover the ends of the load.

One of our best-selling heavy duty lumber tarps unfolded:

Steel tarp
A steel tarp are sometimes sized slightly smaller than a lumber tarp and is four-sided to protect loads of steel rods, sheets, cables, etc. that have a lower profile.

Weights and construction
Tarps also come in different weights so there’s something that will work for nearly any job. Although all of our tarps are made of PVC-coated polyester for excellent tear resistance, the weight of the fabric differs between the lightweight, mid-weight and heavy-duty styles. Depending on the drop size (height), each tarp has either two or three rows of D-rings running the length of the tarp

The d-ring construction also differs slightly. Lightweight and midweight tarps are designed with fabric abrasion strips that run the entire length of the tarp to add protection:

Image of mid-weight lumber tarp d-rings

 

 

 

 

 

Heavyweight tarps have additional fabric abrasion pads stitched to the tarp underneath the D-ring:

Image of heavy-duty lumber tarp d-ring

 

 

 

 

 

Colors
Many of our stock tarps are available in black, red or blue on our website. Several are also available in green, yellow, gray, and white by calling our sales team toll free at 866-444-9990.

Tarp accessories
Repair kit. Even the most durable tarp can tear over time, so be sure to keep a tarp repair kit on hand. It includes a patch and vinyl cement so you won’t have to order the two separately.
Corner protectors. These are an inexpensive way to protect your tarp from abrasions, as well as your cargo. Our corner protectors are available in steel and plastic in a variety of sizes.
Rubber tarp straps and rubber ropeTarp straps come in a variety of lengths, in both natural rubber and EPDM rubber. Rubber rope is another great option since you can create custom length straps when paired with a .

Tarp Straps: Natural Rubber vs. EPDM

Here in the Midwest- like most of the country- we’ve had some extreme temperatures this summer. While we all know hot temps can be dangerous if you’re outside for a long time, it’s also important to remember your outdoor equipment is taking a beating in the heat and sunlight as well.

One type of equipment that can be purchased specifically for temperature and climate conditions is tarp straps. Did you know there’s difference between EPDM tarp straps and natural rubber tarp straps? Although they may look the same, there are some differences that make one a better choice over the other.

EPDM is Eethylene Propylene Diene Monomer, which is a type of synthetic rubber. EPDM rubber offers excellent resistance to heat, ozone, acids and bases, which is why it’s very common in the automotive industry in the form of seals, hoses, belts, etc. Because it stands up so well to extreme temps, it’s ideal for hot climates, and for summer use in all climates where it will be exposed to heat and sunlight. EPDM rubber tarp straps are an excellent choice for the hot summer months.

Natural rubber tarp straps are ideal for winter and cooler climates as natural rubber will not crack and split in colder conditions. Natural rubber tarp straps will also stretch further than EPDM and will also return to its non-stretched, normal length quicker than an EPDM strap will.

Rubber tarp straps are relatively inexpensive (especially if you buy them in our bulk quantities of 50 per box) so if your straps will be exposed to the elements in the hottest summer temps and coldest winter temps, it’s a good idea to switch them out from season to season. Our best sellers in bulk quantities include a 21″ length and a 31″ length. Pallet price discounts are also available, which cuts the price per strap even more- call our sales team at 866-444-9990 for more information.

About tarp straps from US Cargo Control:

  • Both natural rubber and EPDM straps are sold individually, in bundles of 10 or in boxes of 50.
  • Lengths include: 9″, 15″, 21″, 31″, 41″.
  • Replacement tarp strap hooks are also available in a 100-ct. quantity.

 

 

New Products Review: Flatbed Trailer Products

Lots of new products have rolled out onto our US Cargo Control website lately, including many in our flatbed trailer group from Merritt®- a trusted manufacturer in the industry.

If there’s a product or a group of new items you’d like to see added to our website, be sure to let us know- either by a comment below or contacting us at 866-444-9990.

Headache Racks

Image of headache rack
Merritt® Headache Rack

A Merritt® Equipment headache rack is an excellent investment for a truck/trailer. Sometimes also known as limited security racks (LSR) or cab guards for trucks, these not only look sharp but can add a measure of security to the cab in the event of an accident. We offer two aluminum cab guard styles: 70″ wide with E-Z view window and an 80″ wide with chain racks. Both feature Dyna-Tube extrusion on the outer edge for a tough yet smooth aerodynamic border. Mounting kits in both a 17″ size and a 21″ size are also available so you’ll have everything you need for easy installation.

 

Tire Chain Carriers

Image of tire chain carrier
Merritt® Tire Chain Carrier

It’s not too early to be thinking of winter driving. Tire chain holders that mount right to the frame are a great way to keep chains organized, and a locking lid keeps them secure. The space-saving design is only 8” wide and is available in both an 18” size for frames with fairing packages and a 24″ size for open frame models.

Also be sure to check our selection of tire chains. We offer two styles, both from Pewag, a trusted manufacturer in the chain industry.

 

Deck Covers

Image of deck cover
Merritt® Deck Cover

Aluminum Dyna-Deck covers are a simple, fast way to create sturdy walking deck spaces on your rig. The top-mount design is ribbed to create a non-skid surface and allow for draining. Variable mounting points make them easy to install, with no drilling required. All are 33.25″ wide so they easily slide together. Choose from three different lengths:  18.5″L, 28″L, 37.5“. Each deck cover meets DOT regulations for a walk area. 

Heavy Duty Lumber Tarp for Flatbed Trailers

Learn more about the waterproof heavy duty lumber tarp shown in this video.

Lumber tarp features oversized d-rings in 3 rows that run the length of the tarp and abrasion resistant pads for increased durability.

Specifications:

  • Heavy duty 18 oz. PVC coated polyester on top and sides
  • 24′ x 27′ with 8′ flap
  • Colors: black, blue, red, green, yellow, gray and white.
  • Shipping weight:  110 pounds