5 Pieces of Flatbed Trailer Equipment Every Driver Should Have

We carry quality products to keep you and your flatbed trailer moving forward. Check out the five most popular pieces of equipment made for flatbed owners.

From corner protectors to tire chains, we have the flatbed equipment for your trailer to keep you running smoothly

Being a flatbed trailer owner, you know there is not much your trailer cannot hold. Your load is exposed, and you need the equipment to hold it down tight while protecting it from abrasions or damage. Whether you’re a new flatbed truck driver or an experienced one, we carry supplies that can help you deliver your cargo load safely and on time.

Tire Chains

These tire chains, also known as snow tire chains, are designed to help transport you and your cargo to your destination through snowy or icy conditions. These snow chains provide added control behind the wheel when you’re stuck in the snow, and allow better traction as well.

We carry light-duty tire chains and heavy-duty tire chains. The difference is in how you plan on using these types of chains. If you think you will rarely use a tire chain during the cold months, consider the light-duty chain. If you know you will be using chains frequently, then you might want to invest in a heavy-duty chain.

Keep in mind that even if you don’t travel regularly in winter conditions, some states do have DOT regulations requiring drivers to carry or use tire chains during the winter season. So make sure to carry tire chains in your vehicle during the chilly months.

Tarps

Tarps are one of the best ways to protect your cargo load. We carry heavy- duty tarps that fight against elements such as rain and snow. Not only can they combat certain weather situations, but these tarp covers can also prevent scratches and marks on your precious cargo. These truck tarps contain two or three rows of d-rings across the length of the tarp, so the tarp can be tied down firmly to the truck bed. Some of the different types of tarps we carry are lumber tarps, steel tarps, machinery tarps, smoke and nose tarps, and more.

We even create custom flatbed tarps at our facility in Urbana, IA. In this video, Adam explains how our team creates long-lasting custom tarps at your convenience.

Corner Protectors & Vee Boards

Corner protectors are an inexpensive way to protect your cargo. Not only can they protect your cargo from being smashed or damaged, but these guards can also protect your straps, chains, and tarps. They are designed to protect the tarp material from any ripping or abrasions caused by sharp corners. The purpose behind these wall corner guards is providing a layer between the cargo and the strap or chain, and having this extra layer can decrease the pressure on the load from the strap/chain.

Learn more about which corner protector to use for your cargo.

Fun fact: the plastic corner protectors can extend the life of your ratchet straps by reducing rubbing.

Winch Straps & Ratchet Straps

Both ratchet straps and winch straps work well for heavy tie down applications for the trucking industry. The only differences are in how to tighten the straps, and what type of lock the two straps carry.

When using the ratchet strap, you slide the strap to the spool, bring it back over on itself, and pull the strap. After this, you can start to ratchet and repeatedly crank the lever until the load is tightened. Both tie-down types are available with a flat hook, wire hook, chain extension, or grab hook.

We carry many colors like red, green, blue, and yellow so you can recognize what strap you are using, as well as matching your company or vehicle’s colors.

D-rings

A D-ring is a piece of hardware shaped like the letter D, that can connect to the strap or be mounted directly to your flatbed trailer to secure your cargo. D-rings and straps are a flexible way to supply a trailer with many tie-down points to secure the cargo load. We carry many different styles of d-rings, and we have d-ring parts and accessories that allow you to customize your trailer configuration.

We also carry transport chains and binders, rubber/bungee tarp straps, safety supplies, winch bars, and more. Learn more about the flatbed trailer equipment we carry on our USCC website.

Call our team of experts at 800-404-7068 if you have any questions or need more information.

Extracting a Stuck Vehicle

When extracting a stuck vehicle, many factors can affect the actual pulling force needed. Read on to learn what they are.

How to Calculate Minimum Winching Effort & Minimum Working Load Limit

extracting a stuck vehicle calculation formula

When extracting a stuck vehicle, many factors can affect the actual pulling force needed, as well as selecting recovery equipment with high enough load ratings.

During a recent Iowa Corn Growers Event hosted at US Cargo Control headquarters, Tim Sanders, a Trucking and Transporation expert, and USCC business development specialist, gave an informative overview of what goes into effectively extracting a vehicle that’s stuck in the mud, sand, gravel, snow, etc.

When work needs to get done, it may seem tempting to just grab a strap or chain and pull until something happens. However, if you take a few minutes to do some simple calculations, you’ll likely save time in the long run and more importantly, help ensure the safety of those around the extraction scene.

The formula for calculating the required minimum recovery capacity

Total vehicle weight (W), additional rolling resistance (ARR), and additional gradient resistance (AGR). Once you have these calculations, you can quickly determine the recovery equipment strength you will need:

  1. What does the stuck vehicle weight, including all cargo, attachments, trailers, etc.?

    This is the “W” part of the formula.
  2. What factors will add to the pulling effort and safe working load limits required to pull the total weight of the vehicle?

    When we say “additional factors” we’re mainly talking about two things: additional rolling resistance (ARR) and additional gradient resistance (AGR)

Minimum Capacity Required = W + ARR + AGR

tim sander USCC sales and trucking gear expert
USCC Business Development Specialist, Tim Sanders, shares how to determine the minimum recovery equipment capacity required for extracting a vehicle to a crowd of Iowa Corn Grower Members

Calculating additional rolling resistance

Additional rolling resistance (ARR) is essentially the surface in which the vehicle is stuck or will need to get over in order to become free. Different surface types have different multipliers that, when multiplied by the total vehicle weight, give you the “ARR.”

Keep in mind that these calculations assume the wheels are level with each other.

how to calculate additional rolling resistance by surface type
This chart shows the multipliers for different surface types. Multiply the total weight of the stuck vehicle by the appropriate multiplier to get total “ARR.”

Calculating gradient resistance

Gradient resistance (AGR) is simply the degree of slope that the extraction may take place on. The greater the slope, the higher the multiplier. Again, you will take the total weight of the stuck vehicle and multiply by the appropriate multiplier.

chart for calculating gradient resistance when extracting a stuck vehicle
This chart shows the multipliers for different degrees of slope. Multiply the total weight of the stuck vehicle by the appropriate multiplier to get total “AGR.”

Example Calculation

Let’s say the total weight of the stuck vehicle is 42,000 lbs., and it’s stuck in the snow with a 15-degree slope. Can you figure out the minimum capacity required? Remember the formula is:

Minimum Capacity Required = W + ARR + AGR

See below for the answer.

example calculation of minimum capacity required
Assuming all the factors on the left side of this chart, here is how to calculate the minimum capacity required for extracting a vehicle

Selecting the right recovery straps

Make sure the working load limit of the recovery equipment is greater than the minimum capacity required. Additional resistance could be encountered when the stuck vehicle is deeply submerged, or there is damage to the vehicle that prevents it from moving. When in doubt contact a vehicle recovery expert.

More Vehicle Recovery Resources

If you’re needing to pull an automobile out of snow that’s close to a public roadway, there are specific steps to take to ensure safety beyond just recovery capacity. Click the link above to learn what they are.

We also have resources that cover the common questions our team gets like how to choose a recovery strap and auto-recovery straps vs. tow straps.

If you have further questions on recovery straps and safe vehicle extraction, give Tim or anyone on our team a call at 800-969-6543.

NOTE: This article contains important safety information about the use of synthetic web slings. However, it does not contain all the information you need to know about handling, lifting, and manipulating materials and loads safely. Sling use is only one part of a lifting system and it is your responsibility to consider all risk factors prior to using any rigging device or product. Failure to do this may result in severe injury or death due to sling failure and/or loss of load

Snap Shackles: What Can I Use a Quick Release Shackle for?

A snap shackle has unique features, like a captive pin, which makes it great for certain applications.

What is a Snap Shackle, how are they used, and what are their similarities and differences?

We carry many different types of shackles, but a snap shackle is not like an anchor shackle, d shackle, bow shackle, etc. While these other shackles are more heavy-duty and powerful, a snap shackle has unique features, like a captive pin, which makes it great for certain applications. The captive pin on these stainless steel shackles allows you to use them without worrying of dropping or losing the pin. This makes them great for many rigging and lifting applications, especially those near water or marine-like environments.

The Similarities Among Snap Shackles

First, it is important to know that all snap shackles we carry have certain similarities. They each contain a spring-loaded captive pin, which stays locked and cannot be removed from the body. In order to open this pin, you must pull to engage the opening.

These shackles are made of Stainless Steel Type 316, also known as Marine Grade Stainless Steel. Obviously, this also makes them great for marine use and nautical applications. Type 316 contains an element called molybdenum, which helps prevent against corrosive damage from saltwater. Another distinctive characteristic is you can use these shackles quickly with one hand, which is excellent for jobs where speed is important.

So, What Are the Differences?

The Eye Swivel has a circular shape, or eye shape, on one end. Note that this end has no opening. In order to use this swivel shackle, you can simply clip something to it. The Jaw Swivel has a screw pin on the end, instead of an eye-shaped opening. The pin is kept in place by a “keyring” that must be removed before the pin can actually remove from the body.

Both swivel snap shackles have a swivel on one end that can rotate 360 degrees. This helps prevent tangling, which makes it ideal to use with high-movement items. These shackles come in the following sizes: 2-3/4″, 3-1/2″, and 5″.

stainless steel eye swivel snap shackle
Eye Swivel Snap Shackle

quick release jaw swivel snap shackle
Jaw Swivel Snap Shackle

Fixed Snap Shackle and Rope Sheet Snap Shackle

The end of a Fixed Snap Shackle has an identical circular shape like the eye swivel, but it functions differently. The end is non-twisting, so the fixed snap shackle is not recommended for applications that require twisting and spinning movement. The Rope Sheet Snap Shackle has an end that is “rope friendly” for your marine and sailing applications.

The fixed snap shackle comes in sizes 2″, 2-3/4″, and 4″, and the rope sheet snap shackle comes in sizes 2″, 2-1/2″, and 3-3/4″.

stainless steel fixed snap shackle
Fixed Snap Shackle

rope shackle
Rope Sheet Snap Shackle

What Can I Use Snap Shackles For?

You can use a snap shackle in several ways. You can apply these quick release shackles for your lifting and rigging needs, or marine applications. Or, you can even use them for personal use, such as using it as a dog leash clip, for halyards (line of rope used to hoist a ladder, sail, or flag), or even on a gate.

The key to remember is that the swivel shackles are used for frequent spinning movements, while the fixed snap shackle and rope sheet snap shackles are suitable for more straight-line applications.

Keep in mind that it’s extremely important to check the working load limit (WLL) of the clip or hook to ensure it will work for your intended use. These snap shackles are designed to be quickly and easily opened, so we recommend that you consider these shackles to meet your application’s workload before purchasing them. Also, we advise that you do not use these to lift heavy loads, so be cautious.

Learn More About Shackles in this Video

In this short video, Lacy talks about other types of shackles and brands we have available.

source: US Cargo Control

If you would like to know more about these snap shackles or the other shackles, check out the complete shackles section of the USCC website, or call our team of experts at 800-404-7068.

Protect Your Valuables with the Strongest Security Chain

Protect your items from theft with a case-hardened security chain and a high-quality lock.

What is Pewag Security Chain, how can you use it, and what sizes are available?

Have you had any of your valuables stolen, or felt nervous that someone might steal them? Have you had a chain that someone was able to cut loose? Do you need a stronger chain to secure your valuables? Better yet, do you want to feel secure knowing your items will be safe? Consider looking into a Pewag Security Chain.

hardened security chain pewag
Pewag 9/32″ Square Hardened Security Chain

A Resistant, Bolt Cutter Proof Chain

Protect your items from theft with a case-hardened security chain and a high-quality lock that comes with two security keys. We carry Pewag Security Chains that are considered to be the toughest security chains out there. By being the toughest chain, we mean the Pewag chain is the hardest chain to cut with bolt cutters. The biggest reason is the hardened steel chain is squared, so it will not allow bolt cutters to cut through it.

strongest security chain

With the chain link’s squared shape and impressive chain hardness of 63 HRC, this is a bolt cutter resistant chain that requires tremendous effort to cut, unlike standard round chains. This can get rid of the thief or even help catch the person who is attempting to steal and damage your item.

What Can I use a Pewag Security Chain for?

This type of specialized chain is very beneficial and recommended for people who do not want their items stolen or damaged. For example, you can use the Pewag security chain as a bike chain lock or a motorcycle chain lock. You can also use for larger items such as boats, vehicles, trailers, gates, and properties. The use is not limited, as long as you get the appropriate chain width and length for your application, you can use on anything you feel is worth protecting against thieves.

Sizes of Security Chains

We carry three sizes of Pewag security chain and they are mostly used for commercial and industrial applications. More specifically, the 9/32″ Security Chain is designed for securing smaller items like bikes and mopeds. The 3/8″ Security Chain and 1/2″ Security Chain are used to protect more industrial items and facilities. Keep in mind that the 1/2″ x 2′ Chain is the largest size Pewag produces and is designed to protect large valuable items and facilities.

Along with the hardened steel chains are chain locks that work with Pewag Security Chain for maximum security. We carry the Viro Panzer Lock For 9/32″ Security Chain, Viro Panzer Lock For 3/8″ Security Chain, and Viro Monolith Lock For 1/2″ Security Chain. The heavy-duty chain lock is a unique design that does not allow any tools to cut open the lock. These locks also come with top security profile nickel-plated brass keys for only you to unlock.

These chains can be sold by the foot. If you would like a complete setup, then check out the security chain packages that include the chains, locks, and keys.

If you lose your keys or need to duplicate them, then make sure to keep the included card that comes with the key code.

Want to learn more about Chains?

Check out this short video to get a better visual of what Pewag chains look like!

source: pewag

If you are ready to add an uncuttable chain and lock to your valuables, then head over to the chain section of the USCC website or give our sales team a call at 800-404-7068.

4 Ways to Prevent Damage to Your Furniture and House When Moving

If you’re one of the many people that will be moving this summer, here are the best tips for how to prepare.

Moving season is hot as ever, and will continue until September. Moving can be a stressful situation as you are working hard while also being cautious and attentive to avoid damage to your house and belongings. Seems like the best option would be researching moving companies or professional movers to help you move to a new place or store your items away. But, sometimes you might not have the time or money to invest in that. Instead, check out our moving equipment that is great for protecting your furniture and house.

Moving Dollies & Hand Trucks

Our hand trucks and moving dollies are a great tool to use when you need to move furniture or heavy items easily. If you are struggling to lift a heavier item like a refrigerator, stove, or chair, then put that heavy item on one of our dollies or hand trucks and give it a roll!

We carry quality 2-wheel hand trucks with a load capacity of 550 pounds, which perform well on stairs, bumps, ramps, etc. Our furniture moving dollies can perform any heavy-duty job, holding up to 1,500 pounds.

To learn more about the different hand truck and dolly options, see our Types of Dollies for Moving post.

Moving Straps

Our moving straps are great to use when you need to carry furniture or heavy, bulky items without risking strain on your back or neck. Not only is moving furniture injury-prone, but it can be time-consuming and challenging to move your heavy/bulky items. To avoid this, we recommend using furniture lifting straps to get the job done. We carry forearm forklift moving straps to carry from your forearms, and shoulder dolly moving straps to carry from your shoulders.

A moving strap is the single most important item you can have when moving large, heavy, and bulky items like furniture, mattresses, or appliances. Big items like these are not only difficult to get a good grip on, lift, and walk with, but the bending and twisting puts an enormous strain on back muscles.

Learn more about why moving straps are the best insurance for your move.

Furniture Covers

The worst part of moving heavy items out of storage is the damage that could potentially happen. Something could be dented, scratched, marked, or broken, and this will only add stress to your move. To make your moving process less stressful, consider our furniture covers for storage and moving.

Our furniture protectors work in many situations. You can use furniture covers for storage and for moving out or into a new place. You can choose to use our quilted furniture covers or plastic furniture covers. Both covers are easy to slip on or off, and you do not have to worry about abrasions.

Learn more great ways to protect furniture and appliances when moving.

Moving Blankets

Besides using furniture covers to cover your furniture or other items, we also carry moving blankets. These blankets, also called moving pads or furniture moving pads, are another tool to use to prevent damage and abrasion to your valuables. These blankets provide a thick covering that you can wrap just about any item with, and they are very durable and easily washable. What is also unique about the pads is that they are different in terms of fabric, weight, and binding material. Some blankets come in different weights and fabrics (non-woven polyester, woven polyester and cotton/poly blends), and the binding material has different fabric as well (woven, non-woven, and synthetic).

Our furniture moving blankets can be used for short-term or long-term storage, but keep in mind your end use and reuse. If you are interested in our moving blankets, we carry quantities of single-pack, 4-pack, 6-pack, or 24-pack.

If you find you have trouble deciding on a type of moving blanket see our post on how to choose the perfect moving blanket for your needs.

Start Moving Like a Pro

Equipped with the right tools and knowledge, you’ll be moving like a pro in no time. Looking for more great moving tips? Check out our other moving posts:

Moving Checklist: Remove the Stress of Moving in 15 Steps

Moving Quick Tips

College Moving Tips: How to Move like a Professional Mover

New Product Line Alert: Crosby® Chain Slings

The full line of Crosby® chain slings, including adjustable chain slings with the revolutionary Crosby Eliminator® system, is now available through USCC.

American-made 1-leg, 2-leg, 3-leg, and 4-leg chain slings now available through USCC in standard and adjustable styles.

crosby single leg chain sling
crosby 2-leg chain sling
crosby 3-leg chain slings
crosby 4-leg chain sling

The full line of Crosby® chain slings, including adjustable chain slings with the revolutionary Crosby Eliminator ® system, is now available from US Cargo Control. These premium rigging slings are 100% made in America using high-strength grade 100 chain. As an authorized Crosby® distributor, we’re proud to be one of a small number of distributors to offer these slings.

The Crosby® Difference

There’s a reason US Cargo Control offers a number of different Crosby® rigging and lifting products; they’re extremely innovative and built to last. From forging massive rigging shackles that are strong enough to lift the Statue of Liberty to non-marring lifting clamps that are gentle enough to lift sheets of glass, Crosby® has been a leading manufacturer of rigging and lifting equipment for well over a hundred years. Professionals worldwide look to them to set the standard for quality, training, and technical expertise in their field.

Because Crosby® handles all manufacturing in-house (including forging, assembly, and finishing), they are in complete control of their product and its quality. Check out the video below to learn more about how the Crosby® rigging hardware supply chain works compared to other supply chains with outsourced manufacturers.

source: Crosby®

What’s the Big Deal About the Crosby Eliminator®?

One of the most noticeable ways that the Crosby® line of chain slings stands out is in the new Crosby Eliminator® component found on Crosby® adjustable chain slings. This revolutionary chain sling fitting is designed to save riggers time and money by combining features and functionality of a master link, connecting link, grab hook, and adjuster legs.

crosby eliminator
Crosby® Eliminator with double hook

Like other adjustable chain slings, adjustment of the chain length leg can be accomplished by placing the chain in the connector link. Where the Crosby Eliminator® differs is in the fact that it comes in both single hook and double hook styles. With single and double-leg Crosby® adjustable slings, the top bail Eliminator® serves as the master link, which removes the need for an additional master link. Three and four-leg Crosby® slings need only one master link to connect the two Eliminator® fittings. This results in a simpler and lighter chain sling with strength and durability that rivals any competitor.

source: Crosby®

Crosby® Chain Sling Hook Options

There are several hook options for you to choose from. Give our sales team a call to understand all the options for custom chain slings.

Sling Hook

As the name suggests, sling hooks are commonly used at the ends of slings and wire rope. They have a large throat and are typically self-locking to avoid disconnect.

Foundry Hook

Foundry hooks have a wider opening than most other hooks which allow them to hold a wide range of attachments and help prevent load tipping.

Self-Locking Hook

Self-locking hooks are designed with safety in mind as their latches automatically close and lock under the weight of the load.

Grab Hook

Grab hooks are commonly used as shortening hooks in choke applications. They have a much more narrow opening which makes them ideal for attaching to chain.

hook options for crosby chain slings
From left to right: sling hook, foundry hook, self-locking hook, grab hook

Unsure which type of lifting sling you need? Check out our post on How to Choose a Lifting Sling and learn more about the difference between standard and adjustable chain slings.

When you’re ready to start lifting with these high-quality Crosby® chain slings, head over to the USCC website or give our sales team a call at 800-404-7068.

9 Free Ways for Truck Drivers to Save on Fuel

As a driver, you have the power to control your rigs fuel consumption in many small ways that can quickly add up to huge savings on fuel.

Use these driver-focused tips to maximize MPG’s and save at the pump this summer.

ways for truck drivers to save on fuel

Owner-operator truck drivers and fleet owners alike know that fuel is a key variable cost that goes into determining their profit. Just one fill-up on diesel can be anywhere from $450 to $950.

Last summer we shared 4 Simple Ways to Get the Best Fuel Mileage for Your Semi-Truck, which included tips about staying on top of truck maintenance and equipping rigs with aerodynamic parts such as trailer skirts and other upgrades like automated manual transmissions.

Don’t get me wrong, adding those parts to your semi are still great ways to save on fuel, but they cost money and take time to install. As a driver, you have the power to control your rigs fuel consumption in many small ways that can quickly add up to huge savings on fuel. Here are 10 free ways for truck drivers to start saving on fuel today.

1. Monitor tire pressure regularly

tire pressure goes into fuel costs for truck drivers

It’s been found that semi trucks can have as much as a 1% drop in mpg for every 10psi a single tire is underinflated. Before the rubber hits the road, make sure all your tires are properly inflated to their recommended psi. Not only will this save gas, but it will also make those expensive tires last longer.

2. Avoid idling

Obviously, engine idling can’t always be avoided. But, if you know you’re going to be stopped for more than just a few minutes, it’s worth cutting the engine. Some states, like California, actually have idling laws that could get you a fine if you’re caught idling for five minutes or more.

3. Stay in a high gear

tax cuts jobs act affect trucking

Higher gears save fuel. You don’t want to be lugging in too high a gear, but you also don’t want your engine revving up and working harder than necessary. Find the sweet spot for your gearbox and minimize the use of your brake and gas pedals by speeding up and slowing down incrementally.

4. Use momentum on hills

Semi trucks build lots of momentum, especially on the highway. Start slowing down early when you have an exit coming up and collect as much momentum as possible when approaching a hill. Once you get to the apex of the hill, you should be able to coast downhill without being on the gas pedal.

5. Use cruise control

trucking industry 2018

Using cruise control is an easy way for truck drivers to save on fuel, although many don’t use it. Cruise control helps keep the engine’s rpm in that “sweet spot” which minimizes fuel consumption.

6. Regulate speed

Faster acceleration and speeds over 55mph burns fuel quicker. In fact, every mile per hour you go over 55mph results in a 0.1 mpg drop in fuel economy. Lower your speed and increase your following distance so you don’t have to speed up and slow down frequently.

7. Find the lowest cost fuel

make your semi truck more fuel efficient

Use the time in your truck to plan ahead for your next fill up. Just a few cents can make a big difference given how big a semi’s fuel tank is. We’ve shared helpful apps for truck drivers in the past, and Trucker Path is a great one if you’re looking to see fuel prices and parking spot availability for truck stops all around you.

8. Don’t overfill your tank

Not only does extra fuel add more weight to your vehicle, but it’s also about the same as throwing money down the drain. If your tank is way up to capacity or beyond, the fuel will likely expand once you’re driving and cause a wasteful overflow.

9. Keep cargo load low and even

keep cargo low and even to lower fuel costs

It’s all about creating as little resistance as possible. Whether you’re using winch straps, chain binders, or tarps – remember to secure your cargo as low and even as possible. If you can’t avoid an uneven load, position the higher cargo closer to the front of the trailer to minimize drag.

Put these fuel-saving tips into action

Now that you know these free ways to save on fuel, it’s up to you to put them into action. Give them a try the next time you hit the road and move some money from your expense report to your pocket.

Have any other tips for truck drivers to save on fuel? Share them in the comments below to help out your fellow driver.

Top 5 Reasons You Should Buy Made in the USA Products this Week

While the option to buy domestic or import cargo control products is always on the table, the domestic option may be especially appealing to you this week. Here’s why.

Hint: #5 will save you money.

At USCC, we pride ourselves on providing you with a wide range of options to ensure your specific needs are met. As a solutions provider that continually works to get you what you want, when you need it, we have thousands of cargo control products from a variety of sources, all within one easy-to-use website.

While the option to buy either domestic or import cargo control products is always on the table, the domestic option may be especially appealing to you this week. Here’s why.

1. You will help save and create jobs

manufacturing recovery tow straps in USA

There are currently around 12.84 million workers in the manufacturing sector. Buying products that are manufactured by American companies not only helps ensure that those workers get to keep their job, but it also opens the door to continued growth within the manufacturing industry. At USCC we’re proud to have over 30 employees on our manufacturing team right here in Iowa. They’re the backbone of our organization and the reason why we’re able to deliver high-quality custom cargo control products.

2. You will help boost the entire American economy

uscc warehouse being built for expansion

Buying American-made products causes domestic growth beyond only the manufacturing industry; it creates a positive ripple effect throughout our entire economy. When American manufacturing plants prosper they spend more on things like energy, accounting, and construction. All of this spending positively affects other American companies (and workers) that offer these services. Overall, the EPI estimates that every U.S. manufacturing job supports an additional 1.4 jobs in other parts of the economy.

3. You will help reduce pollution and carbon footprint

US Cargo Control manufacturing floor

Although the domestic option usually isn’t the cheapest, there are hidden costs for import products that go far beyond your wallet. Robust air, water, and health regulations in the United States ensure that, in general, American-made products are created in a way that significantly minimizes the creation of hazardous chemicals. In addition, products made overseas have a much higher carbon footprint due to the fact that they must be shipped across the ocean, which requires large amounts of fossil fuel.

4. You will get a high-quality product

custom tie down straps from USCC

When it comes to cargo control gear, dependable products are the name of the game. We’ve partnered with American vendors to provide a variety of high-quality product options that are made here in the USA. We have a broad selection of products to meet the needs of our customers and get them what they want when they need it.

5. You will save 10% with our made-in-the-USA promotion

fourth of july promotion for cargo control gear

Last but not least, a major reason to buy made-in-the-USA products this week is our 4th of July promotion! From now until Sunday, July 7th you can save 10% on nearly 2,000 different made-in-the-USA cargo control products including Crosby® wire rope slings, transport chain and binders, polyester round slings, endless slings, and more. That’s huge savings on the high-quality products that minimize pollution, boost our economy, and ensure American manufacturing jobs.

See the full selection of 10% off USA-made products today.

Rubber Wheel Chocks vs. Urethane Wheel Chocks

Wheel chocks are a lightweight, durable, and fairly inexpensive way to avoid silly accidents from causing major damage to your vehicles.

What they are, how they’re different, and where to buy the best ones.

Rubber and urethane wheel chocks are both a lightweight, durable, and fairly inexpensive way to avoid silly accidents from causing major damage to your vehicles – whether it’s trucks, trailers, recreational vehicles, or any other vehicle that could potentially roll away on you.

using and choosing wheel chocks

In short, the main purpose of wheel chocks is to keep vehicles from rolling away.

We have many different wheel chock styles to choose from in order to match your needs and your vehicle’s needs. Determining whether you need rubber or urethane wheel chocks mainly depends on the environment that the chocks will be used in.

Styles of Rubber Wheel Chocks

Rubber wheel chocks are commonly used in the commercial transportation industry and while wheel chocks are not technically required for commercial motor vehicles, they’re always good to have on hand when loading, unloading, or when you’re parked on any type of incline or decline.

Most people only use rubber wheel chocks in enclosed areas like warehouses or garages since they’re not very resistant to outdoor elements.

Wedge-Style Wide Rubber Wheel Chocks

Heavy-duty rubber and a grooved design come together to create a secure grip against tires. Metal handles make these chocks easy to carry or secure when not in use.

Wedge-Style Solid Rubber Wheel Chocks

A stronger, more solid rubber and full grip bottom provide a safe and secure hold on your vehicle’s tires. Built-in slots on the back make them easy to carry or secure with a chain or strap.

Double-Sided Rubber Wheel Chocks

double-sided-pyramid-style-wheel-chocks
Double-Sided Rubber Wheel Chocks

These popular pyramid-style wheel chocks come in two sizes to match your tire size: 9-1/4″ x 5-1/2″ x 7-1/4″ and a slightly larger 10″ x 6″ x8″. This style can be used on either side and come with a built-in eye bolt for secure storage.

Styles of Urethane Wheel Chocks

If you’re going to be using your chocks mainly outdoors, urethane wheel chocks are able to better resist weather and abrasions. Urethane wheel chocks are also more resistant to oils, fuels, and lubricants.

Our urethane wheel chocks are orange due to customer demand. The bright color makes it harder to misplace or forget them. To learn more about the benefits of the orange color see our post: Why Should I Buy Bright Wheel Chocks?

Orange Wedge-Style Wheel Chocks

These long and bright wheel chocks have a curved surface that contours to fit tires and features a raised diamond plate pattern. Instead of a eye bolt, it has a mold-in hole for chain or strap securement.

Orange Double-Sided Wheel Chocks

Similar to the rubber double-sided chocks, these urethane chocks are more lightweight and resistant to fuels and solvents. They provide excellent stability to vehicles and can be used on either side.

Choosing the Right Wheel Chocks

Both double-sided and wedge-style wheel chocks serve the same purpose and choosing which one to use is mostly a personal choice. Double-sided chocks are the most versatile as they can be used on either side, while wedge wheel chocks are able to cradle tires more.

The most important aspect in choosing the right wheel chocks is getting a size that’s right for your tires.

For standard truck and trailer size wheels, you should choose a wheel chock with a height that’s about 1/4 the height of the tire. For example, a 22.5″ tire requires a wheel chock that’s about 6″ high. Along with the tire height, you also need to choose a chock that is wider than your tire’s diameter to ensure a secure hold.

Using Wheel Chocks on Motorcycles

Although some people use the above styles of wheel chocks as a makeshift wheel chock when hauling motorcycles on a truck bed or trailer, they’re really not designed for motorcycles.

Instead, get a wheel chock that’s specifically designed for motorcycles. This TrakStar motorcycle chock comes with durable aluminum L-track for simple installation and a strong hold time after time.

To see a video on how to properly install this popular motorcycle wheel chock, see our post on how to get your trailer motorcycle ready.

Wire Rope Basics

Understand the differences among different types of wire rope so you can buy with confidence.

Differences in Size, Construction, Lay, Core, Grade, Finish

Understanding the basics of wire rope will help guide you on how to choose the right wire rope for your job. Application, required strength, and environmental conditions all play a factor in determining the type of wire rope that is best for you.

wire rope basics

But when it comes to buying wire rope, the various numbers and abbreviations that describe the different types of wire rope can be confusing. EIPS wire rope, 6X19 IWRC wire rope, and lang lay wire rope are just some of the many variations available. But what does it all mean?

These wire rope basics will help you understand the differences among types of wire so you can buy with confidence.

1. Size

Displayed as inch or fractional inch measurements, the size indicates the diameter of the rope. Industry standards measure the rope at its widest point. A wide range of sizes are available from 1/8” wire rope to 2-1/2” wire rope. Thicker sized wire rope has a higher break strength. For example, our 3/8” 6X19 IWRC Galvanized Wire Rope has a 15,100 lb. break strength while our 1-1/2” 6X19 IWRC Galvanized Wire Rope has a 228,000 lb. break strength. 

2. Construction

Wire rope is composed of individual wires that are twisted to form strands. The strands are then twisted to form a rope construction.

7/16" stainless steel wire rope: 6 x 19 construction
7/16″ stainless steel wire rope: 6 x 19 construction


The numbers indicate its construction. For example: in 6X19 wire rope, as shown at left, the first number is the number of strands (6);  the second number is how many wires make up one strand (19).

Numbers may also be followed by a letter combination such as FW or WS which indicates how the outside layer is constructed.

FW= filler wire (same sizes throughout)

WS= Warrington Seale (combination of large and small)

3. Lay

Refers to the direction the wires and strands are twisted during the construction of the rope.

Regular lay 

When it comes to wire rope, regular lay is also referred to as right lay or ordinary lay. This indicates that the strands pass from left to right across the rope and the wires in the rope are laid in opposite direction to the lay of the strands. This type of construction is the most common and offers the widest range of applications for the rope.

Lang lay

This term indicates that the wires are twisted in the same direction as the strands. These ropes are generally more flexible and have increased wearing surface per wire than right lay ropes. Because the outside wires lie at an angle to the rope’s axis, internal stress is reduced making it more resistant to fatigue from bending. This type of rope is often used in construction, excavating, and mining applications.

4. Core

Refers to what makes up the center of the wire rope.

FC= fiber core

Fiber cores are made of vegetable (sisal, etc.) or synthetic (polypropylene, etc.) fiber and offer more elasticity.

IWRC= independent wire rope core

Independent wire rope cores offer more support to the outer strands and have a higher resistance to crushing and heat. Independent wire rope core also has less stretch and more strength.

5. Grade  

Refers to the grade of steel used. Classifications include:

IPS= improved plowed steel.

EIPS = extra improved plowed steel (approximately 10% stronger than IPS).

EEIPS= extra extra improved plowed steel (approximately 10% stronger than the EIPS).

GIPS= galvanized improved plowed steel; galvanized wires add corrosion resistance.

DGEIP= drawn galvanized improved plow steel; galvanized for corrosion resistance. Drawn wires generally have a higher break load than GIPS.

6 x 37 EIPS IWRC 3/8" galvanized wire rope
6 x 37 EIPS IWRC 3/8″ galvanized wire rope

6. Finish

This last tip on wire rope basics refers to the protective coating on the wire rope.

Bright

Made with uncoated wires manufactured from high carbon steel.

Galvanized

Provides extra corrosion resistance.

Stainless Steel

Highly resistant to corrosion and is commonly used in marine applications.

8 x 19 EIPS IWRC bright 3/4" wire rope
3/4″ bright wire rope: 8 x 19 EIPS IWRC

Many of our customers use our wire rope and our wire rope clips to create wire rope assemblies. Check out of video blog on How to Safely Apply Wire Rope Clips to Wire Rope Assemblies to learn more.

10 Types of Material Handling Equipment You Never Knew We Sold

The product selection at USCC is much more diverse than just roadway cargo control equipment.

From pallet lifters to personnel baskets, we have the industrial material handling equipment you need.

Even though we’re best known for our high-quality ratchet straps, the product selection at USCC is much more diverse than just roadway cargo control equipment.

We have an entire selection of rigging and lifting equipment that includes everything from Crosby shackles to Pewag chain slings.

And if you’ve read our blog articles before, you know all about how to use our plate clamps plus the main benefits of buying a manual chain hoist over an electric chain hoist.

But, did you know we also sell a large selection of industrial material handling equipment from Machining & Welding (M&W), a material handling solutions provider out of Cokato, Minnesota?

Here’s a look at the 10 types of material handling equipment you probably never knew we sold, plus what it’s used for.

1. Bottle Lifters

propane tank or gas mover for forklift lifting

This one needs little explanation. It’s specifically designed to lift heavy bottles of compressed gas and other types of cylinders that need to be elevated on a job site or in a warehouse.

We sell two sizes of bottle lifters: a 2-tank lifter with 750 lb. WLL and a 4-tank with 1,500 lb. WLL. Both types have adjustable straps to hold different sized tanks and lockable doors for extra security.

2. Concrete Barrier Lifting Clamp

concrete block lifting device grabber

Concrete barriers are used for all sorts of things, but most commonly you see them on highways being used as traffic barriers. No matter where they are, those concrete barriers are heavy and this is the piece of equipment needed to move them.

This concrete barrier lifting clamp has a large eye for a crane hook to slide into and can handle barriers with a top width of between 6 and 12 inches.

3. Forklift Lifting Beams

forklift lifting beam

Unlike our other lifting beam and spreader bars that are designed for use with a crane, these compact but powerful forklift lifting beams are made specifically for a forklift.

You just slide the beam on the forks, tighten it up, and then secure a shackle and hook (or whatever lifting hardware you’re using) through the eye in the middle of the beam. It essentially turns your forklift into a mini-crane that can safely lift up to 10,000 lbs.

4. Crane Pallet Lifters

manual pallet lifting bar for crane or hoist

Just like how the forklift lifting beam turns a forklift into a crane, this adjustable pallet lifter essentially turns a crane into a forklift with its parallel forks and precise pallet grabbing ability.

This pallet lifter is designed to efficiently move pallets, skids, and crates up to 4,000 lbs. and can be used with either a crane or overhead hoist. The fact that it’s adjustable means you can ensure the load stays level while in motion.

5. Plate Lifting Hook

steel plate lifting hook for chain slings

These massive hooks are specifically designed for lifting steel plate and come with a safety shackle for quick connection. It’s recommended that they only are used with three and four-leg chain slings and the plates should always be at a horizontal 45-degree angle.

The working load limit on these made in the USA plate lifting hooks ranges from 4,300 lbs. up to 15,000 lbs and the powder-coated finish helps ensure they’re a long-lasting hook.

6. Container Lifting Lugs

lifting lugs for lugger container

These strong lifting lugs are able to handle various types of large metal containers but are primarily designed for lugger containers and other material containers with bottom lifting slots.

We have both lefthand and righthand lifting lugs, as well as straight lugs that are typically used with a spreader or lifting beam. These container lifting lugs have a 19,000-lb. working load limit.

7. Bar Tong Lifters

pipe lifting equipment for hoist

This interesting piece of industrial material handling equipment is specifically designed to lift and move round bars and pipe and can be used with either a hoist or a crane. It fits pipes and other cylindrical objects as wide as 4 inches, has a built-in lifting shackle for quick connection, and a 1,000-lb. working load limit.

This bar tong lifter is powder coated yellow for increased visibility.

8. Reel Lifters

reel turner material handling equipment

These reel lifters (or reel turners) allow you to flip reels, such as reels of cable, from rolling to non-rolling position quickly and easily. They have a durable carrying handle and wide eye for a fast connection.

We sell reel lifters with a 3,000-lb. WLL and ones with a 4,5000-lb. WLL.

9. Material Baskets & Personnel Baskets

lugger basket for material
personnel basket for job site transport

Whether you need to safely lower scrap materials from an elevated job site, or get the crew safely up to the job site, we have you covered with a wide variety of material baskets and personnel baskets.

The material baskets offer a variety of high-strength anchor points and lifting versatility, and there are convenient features on the personnel baskets like removable roofs and non-slip steel floors.

10. Forklift Pocket Lifters

pocket lifter for forklift material handling

This last type of material handling equipment is another versatile way to turn your forklift into a convenient lifting device. You can attach these lifters to those awkward objects that have no pockets for the forks to slide into.

We have forklift pocket lifters in a variety of widths (4 inches to 7 inches) and working load limits (3,000 lbs. to 5,000 lbs.). They’re durable and great to use on the job site or in the warehouse.

CVSA Roadcheck 2019 is Right Around the Corner

If you haven’t already, here’s how to prepare yourself and your commercial vehicle for a North American Standard Level I Inspection.

Steering and suspension systems will be top of mind for inspectors

If you haven’t already, now is the time to prepare yourself and your commercial vehicle for a North American Standard Level I Inspection.

From Tuesday, June 4th through Thursday, June 6th the 2019 Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) International Roadcheck will take place throughout North America. Over that 72-hour period, CVSA inspectors will be out in droves to verify your operating requirements and examine your vehicle’s mechanical fitness.

CVSA inspection officer directing traffic to side of road

Why focus on steering and suspension?

Just like how the 2018 International Roadcheck focused on hours-of-service compliance, this year’s emphasis will be on checking steering components and suspension systems which are vital to maintaining a safe roadway.

In a recent American Trucker magazine article, CVSA president and Arkansas Highway Police Chief, Jay Thompson, stated “Not only do they [steering and suspension] support heavy loads carried by trucks and buses, but they also help maintain stability and control under acceleration and braking, keeping the vehicle safely on the road. Furthermore, they keep tires in alignment, reducing chances of uneven tire wear and possible tire failure, and they maximize the contact between the tires and the road to provide steering stability and good handling.”

But steering and suspension checks are just one aspect of the 37-step procedure you can expect from inspectors during the 2019 Roadcheck.

truck driver operating requirements for 2019 roadcheck

Driver operating requirements for 2019 CVSA Roadcheck

Here’s what you as a commercial driver need to ensure you have ready when it comes to the 2019 CVSA Roadcheck:

  • Driver’s license (showing operating credentials)
  • Medical Examiner’s Certificate and Skill Performance Evaluation Certificate (if applicable)
  • Your record of duty status and vehicle inspection reports (if applicable)

Inspectors will also be checking you for:

  • Seat belt usage
  • Sickness or fatigue
  • Apparent alcohol or drug impairment
cargo securement on flatbed truck for 2019 CVSA roadcheck

Vehicle inspection checklist for 2019 CVSA Roadcheck

Other than the obvious check on the state of your steering and suspension systems, inspectors will be examining the following parts of your rig:

  • Brake systems
  • Cargo securement
  • Coupling device
  • Driveline/driveshaft
  • Driver’s seat
  • Exhaust system
  • Frame
  • Fuel System
  • Lighting Devices (headlights, taillights, stop lights, turn signals, and lights/flags for oversize loads)
  • Steering mechanism
  • Tires
  • Van and flatbed trailer bodies
  • Wheels, rims, and hubs
  • Windshield wipers

CVSA stickers

If there are no critical violations found, you’ll get a CVSA decal that shows you successfully passed the 2019 Roadcheck (for whichever inspection level was performed). This sticker will keep you from having to go through that same level inspection during the June 4th to June 6th, 2019 time period.

Stay safe out there!