Employee Recommendation: BlackLine Heavy Duty Ratchet Straps

Sales Specialist Britni gives her take on BlackLine, our own line of premium, heavy duty ratchet straps. Also available in winch straps; features include:

  • Thicker edging for durability. Created with a concentration of fabric, not wire or other enhancement.
  • 2″ straps with 13,000 lb. webbing.  Higher than typical 12,000 lbs. webbing.
  • 4″ straps with 24,000 lb. webbing.  The strongest available in the industry.

Shop the full line here: Heavy Duty BlackLine Straps

Moving Tips: 12 Uses for Stretch Wrap

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3-Roll Pack with Dispenser Handle. #3SW-PK

If you’ll be moving soon, don’t forget the stretch wrap when purchasing packing supplies. Once used primarily by only professional movers, this handy plastic wrap for moving is now available in various sizes and gauges and perfect for any DIY move. With no sticky residue like tape, it’s easy to apply and even easier to remove. It’s also recyclable so it’s environmentally-friendly too.

When choosing stretch wrap, there are a few choices to keep in mind:

65 Gauge vs 80 Gauge

The higher the number, the better the protection, so pick up 80 gauge wrap for securing and protecting larger items. For smaller, lighter jobs, keep 65 gauge stretch wrap on hand.

Blown or Pre-Stretched?

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4-Pack Pre-Stretched Wrap. #SW181500-PS-4PACK

Pre-stretched wrap is a newer product and is lighter weight than regular stretch wrap. Because it’s pre-stretched, it doesn’t require quite as much pull as traditional blown stretch wrap when wrapping larger items like furniture. If you’ll be moving multiple large items, pre-stretched may be the way to go. If you have few large items, regular blown wrap will work just fine.

Handle or No Handle?

While handles make it easier to apply the wrap, the design does limit the width of wrap available. Our handled stretch wrap is 3″ wide  so it’s good for smaller items, but pick up a larger non-handled roll which, at 17″  and 18″ will offer more than five times the width for wrapping large pieces of furniture, appliances, etc.

Click over to see all of our stretch wrap options:

 

1. Wrap jewelry displays. Have one of those pretty wall displays for your jewelry? No need to pack your necklaces and bracelets away, simply wrap the entire piece with wrap to keep jewelry safe inside and ready to hang once you’re in your new home.

2. Cover drawers. No need to unload dresser drawers. Simply pull the drawer out and wrap with an 80 gauge wrap to create an instant “box” that keeps contents inside.

3. Wrap cabinet doors closed. Have a wardrobe, media center, or other piece of furniture with doors? Place a piece of wrap around the entire cabinet to keep doors from opening during transit.

4. Bundle long awkward items together. Curtain rods, brooms, and more can be placed and secured together to make them easier and faster to carry.

5. Keep it rolled. Once rugs, mats, etc. are rolled, wrap with stretch wrap to keep them that way.

6. Bubble wrap buddy. Bubble wrap is great for small fragile items, but not when the bubble wrap comes off during unpacking. Add a length of stretch wrap to keep bubble wrap in place until you’re ready to remove it.

7. No spills allowed. In the kitchen and bathroom, remove the caps or tops on bottles or jars, place a large piece of stretch wrap over the opening and put the cap or top back on.

8. Keep ‘em stacked. Bundle forks, spoons, etc. and other items that can be stacked and secured; it will take up less space in the moving box.

9. Handle the large but light. Toss pillows, stuffed animals, etc. are easier to tote when bundled together into one easy piece.

10. Lid insurance. Stretch wrap around plastic storage tubs ensures the lids stay on, even during the jumble of a move.

11. Cord keeper. Wrangle all those electric cords, electronics accessories, phone chargers, etc. easily with a quick wrap.

12. Furniture saver. Wrap pillow-back sofas to keep all of the pieces in place. Secure moving pads with stretch wrap to keep the layer of protection in place (the ultimate protection for leather furniture!).

 

Reflective Tape for Tractor Trailers

 

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Avery Dennison Conspicuity Tape

conspicuity-tapeConspicuity tape is a highly reflective tape that greatly increases nighttime visibility of tractor trailers and other large vehicles. It’s also sometimes called DOT tape because of federal laws that require it for use on semi-trucks.

A general overview of the requirements from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for tractor trailers states:

• Tractors must have alternating white and red tape placed on the mud flap brackets, as well as reflective white tape on the upper corners of the rear of the cab.

Reflexite® White Curved Conspicuity Tape for Tankers
Reflexite® White Curved Conspicuity Tape for Tankers

• Trailers must have alternating white and red tape placed on the bottom of the doors, on each side, and on the rear impact guard (ICC bar). Two pieces of white tape must also be on the rear upper corners (rounded strips of white tape is available for tankers).

For full guidelines, visit the FMCSA website.

A visual guide to placement of tape is also available in this PDF Conspicuity Requirements for Commercial Motor Vehicles:

Conspicuity and reflector requirements 393 11

While conspicuity tape is not required on smaller trailers such as horse trailers, or other livestock, recreational, etc. trailers and vehicles, it’s always a good idea to be as visible as possible, especially in the event of lighting failure while on the road. And because it’s available in individual strips, it’s an easy and economical way to increase safety for yourself and other drivers on the road.

You can see our full line of conspicuity reflective tape here: Reflective Conspicuity Tape.

And check out this post for even more ideas for conspicuity tape uses: 6 Handy Uses for Reflective Tape.

Forged or Cast? What’s the Difference in Rigging Supplies?

With metal components in our rigging supplies category, you’ll often see the word “forged” or “cast,” but do you know the differences between these two methods of metal working?

Cast Metal

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Precision Cast Stainless Steel Shoulder Bolt

Casting is a technique where the metal is heated until it’s molten- or liquefied- by the head. Once in this liquid or molten state, it’s poured into a mold which will create the desired shape. After the metal cools it’s removed from the mold. The process can be compared to pouring water in a liquid state and becoming an ice cube after cooling in a freezer.

 

 

 

Forged Metal

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Galvanized Drop Forged Wire Rope Clip

Like casting, hot forging metal involves heating the metal to extreme temperatures. But rather than becoming molten or liquefied, the metal remains solid yet pliable enough to be formed into the desired shape. Cold forging is a similar process, but occurs at or near room temperature and generally utilizes only standard or carbon alloy steels. Forging dates back to the blacksmithing, and is one of the oldest forms of metalworking.

 

Casting vs. Forging

Advantages of casting:

  • Ideal for pieces that are large, more intricate, or have a design that requires internal cavities.
  • Can be used with a wide range of alloy choices.
  • Allows for customization since additional alloys such as nickel or chrome, which can be added during the molten stage.
  • Can create a smooth or textured finished surface.

Advantages of forging:

  • Offers exceptional strength.
  • More uniform in structure and shape than cast or machined pieces.
  • Eliminates shrinking, tiny air pockets, and porosity because the grain flows of steel remain continuous throughout the piece.
  • Excellent at handling impact.

If you have any questions about the metalworking process of any of our rigging supplies and rigging hardware products, give us a call at 800-660-3585. Our knowledgeable sales team is always happy to help.

US Cargo Control Employee Bio: Britni

If you’ve called to ask about a product or to place an order, you may have talked with Britni. Like everyone on the sales team, enjoys going the extra mile to find just the right product for a customer, even if that means searching for items we don’t normally carry online. Here, she mentions a few of those experiences, and our “willingness to get them what they need.”

US Cargo Control Employee Bio: Cory

Cory has worked in many areas of our shipping and receiving department in his 3+ years with US Cargo Control. Like everyone on the warehouse team, he’s one of the first to pitch in and help out whenever there’s a job to be done, because as he says here, “We’re willing to go above and beyond and go the extra mile for the customer.”

 

Tornado Safety Tips for Drivers

tornado21We recently posted an informal poll on our USCC Facebook page asking what you would do if you were driving in a rural area and a tornado was suddenly heading in your direction. Answer choices included: 1) Pull over and stay in your vehicle 2) Leave your vehicle and find a ditch to lie down in 3) Step on the gas and try and outrun it

So, what is the right answer? That depends on who you ask.

For years, the most popular advice was to leave your vehicle and find a ravine, ditch, or other low-lying area and lie as flat as possible. The theory behind this is that a car can become a flying missile in a tornado – something you don’t want to be trapped inside. Age-old advice also suggested you never try and out run a tornado.

However the American Red Cross has changed their safety advice, suggesting that if you are caught outdoors, with no shelter, you should get into a vehicle, buckle the seat belt, and drive to the closest sturdy shelter. If debris begins flying while you are driving, you should park the vehicle, keep your seat belt on, put your head below the windows and cover with your hands. You can read the full set of guidelines here: Red Cross Tornado Safety Tips.

Weather.com also advocates staying in a vehicle, but takes its safety tips further by saying you should leave the car running so the airbags will deploy if necessary. You can read the full set of guidelines here: Weather.com Tornado Safety Tips.El_Reno,_OK_EF-5_Tornado_2013-05-31

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Weather Service (NWS) also acknowledges that while there are few safe options if you’re caught in a car during a tornado, it does suggest that if the tornado is visible in the distance, you may be able to drive out of its path by moving at right angles to the tornado.

You can read the full set of guidelines here: NOAA Tornado Safety Tips.

Ultimately, being prepared is your best defense when faced with the possibility of a tornado crossing your path. Stay alert and informed. The NWS will issue a Tornado Watch if conditions are favorable for the development of storms capable of producing tornadoes (this is different from a Tornado Warning, which means a storm has produced a tornado and has been confirmed by site or indicated by radar).

The NOAA safety tips also offers these things to look and listen for:

  • Strong, persistent rotation in the cloud base.
  • Whirling dust or debris on the ground under a cloud base — tornadoes sometimes have no funnel.
  • Hail or heavy rain followed by either dead calm or a fast, intense wind shift. Many tornadoes are wrapped in heavy precipitation and can’t be seen.
  • Day or night – Loud, continuous roar or rumble, which doesn’t fade in a few seconds like thunder.
  • Night – Small, bright, blue-green to white flashes at ground level near a thunderstorm (as opposed to silvery lightning up in the clouds). These mean power lines are being snapped by very strong wind, maybe a tornado.
  • Night – Persistent lowering from the cloud base, illuminated or silhouetted by lightning — especially if it is on the ground or there is a blue-green-white power flash underneath

(source: http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/safety.html)

Conflicting advice on potentially dangerous situations can be unnerving, but ultimately the right choices will depend on each unique situation. Tell us:

Have you been faced with a tornado while on the road? If so, what advice would you give?

US Cargo Control Employee Bio: Joe

As our Freight and Customs Compliance Specialist, Joe is our go-to guy for all things freight-related. And because we sell and ship everything from 1″ D-rings to 12′  lengths of L-track tie down rails, it’s a job that’s different every day. Our new US Cargo Control Canadian shipping program wouldn’t have been possible without Joe’s expertise!

How to Install L-Track on a Trailer

Aluminum 48" L-trackL-track tie down rails are incredibly versatile. With lengths ranging from 2″ single points to full 96″-length track, you can easily add a few tie down points to a small space on an open utility garden trailer to tie down a mower, or create several tie down anchor points in a full-sized enclosed trailer to secure multiple motorcycles.

In this video, we installed six 48″ rails and two wheel chocks to convert a snowmobile trailer to a dirt bike trailer that can accommodate two motorcycles.

Products used:

Tools required:

  • Cordless drill with 1/4 inch drill bit
  • 10MM and 7/16 inch wrenches
  • Tape measure and Sharpie marker

 

To see our full line of L-track, visit: