Lever Binders and Ratchet Binders: What are the Safety Benefits?

Are you looking for which chain binder is best for your haul? Read to learn the differences of each binder.

When researching the benefits of lever binders and ratchet binders, people often ask “what can I do with a lever binder?” or “how to use a ratchet binder?” It can be scary operating these binders because of the injury risk it may bring. Read the differences of each chain binder and how to operate them safely.

What is a Chain Binder?

A chain binder is a tool used to tighten chain to secure cargo for transport. When shopping for chain binders, there are commonly two styles: the ratchet binder and the lever binder.

How to Use Chain Binders?

Ratchet Binders

a ratchet binder, also known as a load binder chain
Ratchet Binder 5/16″ – 3/8″

A ratchet binder, or a ratchet chain binder, includes a ratcheting mechanism to create tension in the chain in order to safely secure the load. It has a handle, two tension hooks, and a cam and prawl mechanism to create a smooth, ratcheting action.

When you are using a ratchet binder, the lever and screw will work together to increase the force applied to the tie-down assembly. This will provide the least amount of work to bind the chain tightly to secure the load. Also, its handle takes much less pulling force than you would need with a lever binder.

Lever Binders

the other type of chain binders, the lever load binder
Lever Binder 1/4″

A lever binder, or lever chain binder, is the easiest to unbind quickly to unload your cargo. The lever binder has a lever and tension hook on each end, and the lever can increase the force when applying to a tie-down.

The lever binder will require more pulling force because it stores energy in the handle. With added tension, this can make it harder to tighten because it requires more strength.

chain and binder set
Recoil-less Cam Action Lever Binder 5/16″ – 3/8″

The lever binder is viewed as the least safe option because of the lever’s built-up tension when you release it. Recently, we added a new type of lever binder called the Recoilless Cam Action Lever Binder. This is one of the safest lever binders on the market today. This is because its unique design eliminates the whiplash that occurs when you release the chain tension.

If you are seeking a lever binder but want to add safety to it, this is the perfect choice for you. To learn more about this new product we added, check out our blog post on New Products Alert: Recoil-less Cam Action Lever Binder and Ratchet Chain Binder.

So, Which Binder is Best for Your Haul?

Although the lever binder can unbind quickly to unload your cargo, the ratchet binder is considered the safest option. With less built-up tension, this reduces the risk of the bar snapping back on you.

At the end of the day, the chain binders are only as safe as how you are using them. If you don’t use it correctly, it will become a danger to you. If you wish to learn more about our chain binders, give our team a call so we can get you the information that you need to keep you going.

At US Cargo Control, we care about your safety. When you’re ready to use chain binders, go to US Cargo Control or give our sales team a call at 800-969-6543.

Using Tie Downs to Secure Cargo Loads Safely and Legally

During the 2017 CVSA International Roadcheck, improper cargo securement was the cause for 15.7% of vehicles being placed out of service.

Besides the risk of being placed out of service, there are a number of more serious consequences for improper cargo control securement, including citations and fines, damage to the vehicle, damage to the cargo, loss of the load, or even loss of life.

Taking the time to properly secure cargo loads using tie downs is always worth the time and effort. Read on to understand how tie downs should be used to ensure safe and legal cargo securement.

 

understand how to use tie downs

What is a tie down?

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a tie down is a combination of securing devices (webbing, chain, rope, binders, shackles, D-rings, webbing ratchet, etc.) which forms an assembly that:

  1. Attaches cargo to, or restrains cargo on a vehicle.
  2. Is attached to an anchor point(s).

 

So, while we generally think of tie downs as just these:

how to safely use tie down straps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The word tie down by itself (without “straps”) can technically mean many things.

 

Working load limit for tie downs

The working load limit (WLL) for a tie down is the lowest WLL of any of its parts or the WLL of the anchor points it is attached to, whichever is less. Every device contributes to the WLL of the securement system.

using tie downs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Always use tie downs that are rated and clearly marked by their manufacturer. This not only gives you, the driver, peace of mind, it also makes it easy for shippers and inspectors to verify that you are using the proper equipment for the job.

 

using tie downs built with quality

 

How tie downs can be used to secure cargo

Tie downs are only safe and effective if they are properly secured to both the cargo and the vehicle. Take the time to ensure logical securement of your cargo to your vehicle.

There are two main ways tie downs can be used:

  1. Attached to the cargo.
    a. Tie downs can be attached to the vehicle and then attached to the cargo.
    b. Or, tie downs can be attached to the vehicle, passed through or around the cargo, and then attached to the vehicle again.

how to use tie downs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Passed over the cargo.
    a. Tie downs may also be attached to the vehicle, passed over the cargo, and then attached to the vehicle again.

how to use tie downs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspecting for proper cargo securement

Remember to periodically inspect your cargo during transit. It may seem like something that is always taking up your precious time, but just one loose strap can prove to be costly or even deadly.

Adjust cargo and load securement devices as necessary to ensure that cargo cannot shift or fall from the vehicle.

 

When is it time to get new tie-downs?

There are a few obvious signs that tell you it’s time to get new tie downs.

If your cargo control equipment shows any of the following, it’s time to invest in new tie downs.

  • knots or obvious damage
  • distress
  • weakened parts
  • weakened sections

time to get new tie downs

 

 

 

Remember, all components of a tie down must be in proper working order. Keep an eye on the condition of your tie downs to avoid inspection penalties or loss of load.

 

Time for new tie down equipment? Check out US Cargo Control for a huge selection of quality tie down equipment that is clearly rated and built to last.

 

5 Tips for Hunting with Your Portable Tree Stand

Whether hunting with a bow or firearm, utilizing a portable tree stand is a popular way to gain an elevated view of approaching game and ensure your scent is not easily detected down below. However, tree stands can result in serious injury without preparation, the appropriate tree stand accessories and proper installation procedures. Add the essential hunting accessories and you’re ready for a good hunt.

Climbing tree stands allow for superior mobility while searching for the optimal spot to blend in and wait. No matter what portable tree stand you choose – even if you make your own – there are safety considerations to remember and best practices to follow. Use these tips the next time you venture out:

  1. Inspect your gear. Before you even leave home, look over all of your equipment and hunting accessories. Check your safety harness and straps for fray or other defects. Make sure the pieces of your stand are in working order. Double check your supply list so you don’t forget to pack any essential tools.
  2. Find the right tree. Locating an ideal tree may take a while unless you’ve previously scouted the area. Trees have to be sturdy enough to support both you and the platform. Live, healthy trees with a sizeable circumference are the goal. Tall and sturdy with no lower branches or loose bark are other preferred features. Some stand manufacturers set restrictions or size specifications. Confirm the area you’re in allows the type of system and accessories you are using. Screw-in styles or steps are frequently not permitted in order to protect trees from permanent damage.
  3. Lock your safety harness to the trunk. Getting your stand set up and safely secured can take a little while. Once you have the top and bottom parts of the stand ready to make the climb, tether your body harness to the trunk with a moveable ratchet strap secured just above the top of the stand. This securement will serve as backup if the stand falls. In addition, a safety strap from your harness to the tree takes some weight and pressure off the stand itself.
  4. Don’t rush the climb. Step onto the bottom part of your stand, which should already be attached to the tree. Once in the stand, you should be able to reposition the tree strap about 12” up the tree and tighten it back onto the tree. Grab the top part of your stand and move it upward, then use your feet to grab the bottom portion of the stand and lift that up, as well. Repeat this process a number of times until you feel you have a good overview of your area that’s out of a target’s line of sight, yet within your desired shooting distance. Descend the tree by simply reversing these instructions. Never carry your firearm or bow while climbing. Keep these items on the ground, perhaps in a bag, tethered to the top of the tree stand with a strap or a rope that you can pull up to you once you’ve secured your tree stand to where you plan to perch during the hunt.
  5. Check the local weather forecast. Know what conditions to expect. Temperature and precipitation affect how readily you can reach your tree stand, and influence the ability to see, hear and track your prey. Also, dress appropriately. Especially in high altitudes, a warm day can turn into a freezing cold night. If necessary, carry a blanket to bunker down with.

Keep these safety tips in mind to help guarantee a successful and injury-free harvest season. US Cargo Control carries a variety of hunting accessories such as camo blankets and camo safety straps with choices of hooks and ratchets for your unique needs. Call us anytime with questions: 888-719-4020.

How Many Tie Downs Do I Need?

881_10152845815947619_596881898_nshutterstock_174551804When you transport any type of cargo, it is important to use the correct number of tie downs to secure your load. The number of tie downs you need depends on the length and weight of the cargo you are transporting.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules state:

Use one tie-down if your cargo:

  • Is shorter than 5 feet and weighs less than 1,100 pounds

Use two tie-downs if your cargo:

  • Is 5 feet or shorter and weighs more than 1,100 pounds
  • Is longer than 5 feet, but shorter than 10 feet

Use a minimum of 4 tie-downs if your cargo:

  • Is heavier than 10,000 pounds

You’ll need to use additional tie-downs if your cargo is 10 feet or longer. The FMCSA recommends that you add one tie-down for every additional 10 feet of length. If extra footage does not add up to 10 additional feet, a supplemental tie-down is still needed.

The FMCSA has specific rules for hauling specific types of cargo (including logs, concrete pipe, automobiles and more) and for special purpose vehicles. These rules were put in place to decrease the number of accidents and injuries from shifting or falling cargo. This article from the FMCSA website includes a full explanation of the rules.Capture

Obviously, the safety of your cargo also depends on the working load limits  of the tie downs you choose. Learn more here: Aggregate Working Load Limits.

Always be proactive- check the number of tie down chains you need to secure your cargo, and make sure the tie downs you are using have a satisfactory working load limit and are in good working condition.

Questions about tie downs and working load limits? Give our product experts a call at 866-444-9990.

 

 

US Cargo Control Team Welcomes Governor Branstad

image of Tim Guenther, USCargoControl.com
Tim Guenther,
President & CEO

We were thrilled to recently welcome a special guest to tour our US Cargo Control facilities. Iowa governor Terry Branstad visited our office and warehouse at the end of February.

A group of local residents invited the governor to come and see the growth we’ve experienced over the past year with the development of our tie down straps manufacturing division.

Governor Branstad toursour warehouse area
Governor Branstad tours
our warehouse area

Governor Branstad’s visit was an exciting way to highlight the one year mark of our sewing and assembly group. In early 2013, we began our operation with just a few employees and minimal equipment. Now, 14 months later, we’ve added 50 people to our staff, and manufacture thousands of ratchet straps, cam straps, and other tie downs each day.

SewingWe knew the benefits of this venture would be huge since we could now better control the quality of our products, as well as better control the timeline of offering new products to our customers. But the opportunity to create jobs for local residents right here in our community has been one of the most rewarding.2M3A1835

Having the governor come and take note of what we’re accomplishing was an excellent confirmation that we’re doing the right things- for our customers, our employees, our community, and our economy.

-Tim

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!

 

What’s Happening at US Cargo Control

While the big news around US Cargo Control lately has been the completion of our new warehouse addition, a few other exciting things have been taking place over the last few months that we’d like to mention.

Web Sling & Tie Down Association

In October, US Cargo Control became members of the Web Sling & Tie Down Association (WSTDA). The association is a non-profit organization that voluntarily publishes recommended standards, education and training materials, and warnings for businesses in the web sling and tie down industry.

images

Tim Guenther, CEO, and Tim Sanders, VP Warehouse Operations, attended the association’s fall meeting, which included presentations and committee meetings on the standards development process for operating manuals, labels, and other warning products.

Guenther says the development of USCC’s newest line of straps, BlackLine, was eye-opening in terms of technical specifications, testing, etc., that go into to ensuring the safety and integrity of tie down products.

“The WSTDA is the gold standard when it comes to equipment testing, manufacturing procedures, and proper end use of web sling and tie down products,” said Guenther. “We’re pleased to be a part of such a great organization that has the best interests of both customers and suppliers in mind.”

The WSTDA includes 116 member organizations, including manufacturers and suppliers of synthetic web slings and tie downs, polyester round slings, synthetic webbing, fibers, thread and related companies throughout the United States and Canada.

US Cargo Control Trailer Set

Our marketing team has also been busy in recent months creating videos about USCC products, with plans in the works to create many more. In order to best show how to install and use the products, we created a mock trailer set-up. Check it out:



Tie Down Strap Tag Information: Break Strength and Working Load Limit

Webbing tie down straps like ratchet straps and cam buckle straps should be marked with a tag indicating the break strength and working load limit. Blackline tie down straps from USCargoControl.com

 What does the break strength mean on tie downs?

According to the Web Sling and Tie Down Association (WSTDA), breaking strength is the load in pounds or kilograms at which point any load bearing part of the synthetic web tie down fails.

 What does working load limit mean?

The working load limit, also marked at WLL, is the maximum allowable load assigned to each synthetic web tie down by the manufacturer which is not to exceed one-third of the complete assembly breaking strength. This means a strap with a break strength of 16,200 lbs. would have a WLL of 5,400 lbs.

L-track and E-track: Which tie down system is right for you?

Trying to decide whether L-track or E-track is the best choice for your tie-down needs? It depends on where you’ll be installing it.

 

image of aluminum L-track
L-track (also sometimes called “airline track”) in aluminum

 

Generally, the narrow width of L-track works great for installing on the walls or floor of a pickup truck bed. L-track is available in an
aluminum or a black painted finish. Lengths include 6″, 12″, 24″, and 48″.

 

 

 

 

image of galvanized e-track
E-track in a galvanized finish

 

The wider width of E-track makes it a good choice for  installation inside an enclosed trailer or on the floor of an open trailer. It’s available in horizontal and vertical styles and in a galvanized or a green painted finish. Lengths include 2′, 5′, 8′, and 10′.

Both L track and E track are incredibly strong and versatile, but traditionally there are more straps and fittings available on the market for E-track. L-track (also sometimes known as airline track) is gaining in popularity, so more and more accessories are becoming available.

Charlie explains in more detail in the video below.
We’ve also added videos about how to install Etrack and how to install L track.

How to install E-track:

How to install L-track:

What’s New at US Cargo Control

We’ve been busy adding lots of new products to our US Cargo Control website. We’ve listed some of the latest by category below. For more information on each product, click on the link to take you to USCargoControl.com.

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

Rigging supplies & hardware
Our rigging supplies category is a varied one- including everything from small connecting links to heavy duty anchor shackles. This category is also unique because it has products that can be used for professional rigging jobs, as well as simple uses around the job site, farm, and even home.

-Cable railing systems

image of cable railing system railsOne example of a product with various uses is our
cable railing systems. Although it’s technically considered
wire rope, its lightweight design is great for stair railings,
deck railings, garage doors and more. We offer a 7×19 construction, which is comprised of 7 strands of 19 wires.
This allows it to have a slim profile without sacrificing
strength. Other profiles and styles are available by request, just contact our sales team at 800-660-3585.

 

-Rope
We’ve also added a huge selection of rope, including everything from natural manila rope for decorative use, to California Truck Rope for dependable tie-down uses for professional truckers.

Image of 3/16" twisted manila rope

Image of 1/4" California truck rope

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ratchet straps and tie downs
Ratchet straps and tie downs is another group of products with various uses- from flatbed trucks to simple motorcycle trailers.

-Replacement tie down straps
image of 3" ratchet replacement strap with flat hookOur tough polyester replacement straps
are a great way to add extra working life to straps you already own, since you only
buy the replacement strap that you need. They’re also an easy way to convert your winch straps into ratchet straps.

 

image of 2" replacement ratchet strap with chain extension

 

 

Our tie down replacement straps come in
1″, 2″, 3″and 4″ widths, in an extremely strong best to find the products you’re looking for.

 

-Bungee cords

image of 10 pack 1/2"x48" bungee cordsYou can never have too many handy bungee cords around the house, in the garage, on the farm, or at the jobsite.

While they’re great for securing cargo, boxes and other items for hauling, they’re also perfect for bundling items to make them easier to carry or store away, keeping lids closed on coolers, tool boxes, animal crates, garbage cans, etc.

-Soft tie straps with plush covers
We have several motorcycle tie down straps to choose from, but these motorcycle straps with soft tie plush covers will protect your bike from scratches and dings during transport. They’re designed like a typical handle bar strap, but the soft chamois covers provide and extra layer of protection.

image of plush cover motorcycle straps

-Roller idler

image of e-track roller idler fitting

Simply snap the roller idler fitting assembly into E-track installed on your trailer floor and you can instantly secure a vehicle by either the frame or the tires. The roller design moves toward the direction of the tension which keeps the strap close to the track.