Tag: load securement

Load Securement: Don’t Take it for Granted

Load Securement: Don’t Take it for Granted

load securementIn many cases, the importance of tying down a load on or in a truck is underestimated. It’s interesting to talk to trucking people and find out that they are very in tune with what is expected of them with regards to the vehicle they drive and the maintenance of that vehicle. But when it comes to tie downs and load securement, they usually fall short.

Securing loads in and on trucks is very important – not just to the driver, but to their customer and most importantly the general public.

Good tie downs go a long way to ensure cargo being hauled on a truck stays on the truck.

A pre-use inspection of the tie downs must be done to ensure the working load limit (WLL) of that tie down is intact. All tie downs have markings to indicate what grade they are or they will be marked with a working load limit. The higher the grade, the stronger the product – as you typically see with chain. Grade 30 is the lowest grade and is not as strong as say, grade 70 or grade 80.

During a roadside inspection by law enforcement, they will look for these markings. If they cannot find any, they will automatically rate the tie down as grade 30, the lowest option. This derating may cause him/her to take you and your vehicle out of service due to lack of adequate tie downs. Therefore, it may be helpful to conduct a pre-use inspection, per the manufacturer’s specifications, to ensure the proper type and number of chain tie downs is used.

Straps need attention too.

The condition of synthetic straps is one of the most overlooked load securement items. When straps are purchased, the manufacturer assigns a working load limit. That WLL is for straps that are intact and undamaged. This is where a pre-use inspection is needed. Straps that have damage in excess of the manufacturer’s specifications must be removed from service.

Take time to check your load securement equipment.

All too often we are in a hurry to get from one place to another. This is usually when we take chances and cut corners. This is also the time that an accident is most likely to happen. It is important to take extra time to make sure the equipment you want to use is in good condition and meets the requirements for use as a load securement device.

Want to learn more? View our Safety Webinar on “Selecting & Using Tie Downs & Binders.”

Henry Brozyna
Henry Brozyna is a Product Trainer specializing in Rigging & Load Securement for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.
Load Securement: Ratchet Binder vs. Lever Binder

Load Securement: Ratchet Binder vs. Lever Binder

People frequently ask, “Which type of chain binder should I use?”

Being an engineer gives my outlook on life an odd slant. I frequently think of things in terms of simple machines and how they can make my life better. Where am I going with this and how do simple machines relate to chain binder selection? Let me explain.

What is a chain binder?

Also known as a load binder, chain binders are tools used to tighten chain when securing a load for transport. There are two basic styles of chain binders – lever binders and ratchet binders. The method of tightening the binder is what differentiates the two.

Lever Binders

Lever BinderA lever binder is made up of a simple machine, a lever, with a tension hook on each end. The lever is used to increase the force applied to a tie down. The lever is hinged and takes up the slack by pulling on one end of the tension hook and will lock itself after a 180-degree rotation of the lever around the hinge. Some of the advantages of choosing a lever-type binder include:

  • Easy installation
  • Fewer moving parts (less maintenance)
  • Quick means to secure and release.

Ratchet Binders

chain binderA ratchet binder uses two types of simple machines and has two tension hooks on each end and handle. The handle again serves as a lever plus there is the screw thread. Having both simple machines can multiply the force manually applied to the tie down assembly.

When using a ratchet binder, the lever and screw work together and increase the force manually applied to the tie-down assembly. The result is that it takes much less pulling force on the handle to apply tension than you would need with a lever binder.

Ratchets also allow for slower, steadier loading and unloading of forces. This reduces any undue stress or strain on your body. Since ratchet binders are designed with a gear, handle, pawl and end fittings, they will not store up as much energy in the handle as a lever binder will.

Another advantage of ratchet binders is that take-up is safer. The take-up distance of a ratchet binder is typically eight to ten inches – twice that of a lever binder. While take up with a ratchet binder may take a few extra minutes, it is more controlled and ultimately a safer process.

Learn more about our domestic ratchet binders and our newest import ratchet binder.

In Conclusion

Both lever binders and ratchet binders work in a similar fashion and should be chosen based on the preference of the operator. As with any type of load securement gear, safe practices need to be followed, including:

  • Always wear gloves to maintain a good grip on the binder handle.
  • Never use cheater bars on the handle in an attempt to increase the tie down tension. Cheater bars can put excessive force on the tie down. This force can be enough to damage or even break the tie down. This energy may be further increased by shifting loads. The stored energy resulting from this force could injure you or someone nearby.
  • Ensure that the lever binder is fully locked and make sure the load doesn’t shift after it is applied.
  • When releasing lever binders, stay clear of the handle to avoid any potential kickback.
  • Specifically on ratchet binders, don’t rush the ratcheting process. Slow and steady is the best way to tension.
Troy Raines
Troy Raines is the Chain & Rigging Product Engineering Manager at our CMCO Chattanooga Forge Operations.
Understanding the Difference between Chain Grades and How They’re Used

Understanding the Difference between Chain Grades and How They’re Used

chain grades
Chain has been around for over a thousand years. It is one of the most versatile and reliable ways to lift, tension and tie down materials in a variety of applications. In the past, people would use any type of chain to lift something, tie down a load or tow a vehicle. Proper inspection, safety procedures and general standards of practice for chain were lacking.

In recent years, due to safety concerns and regulations, the industry has begun to differentiate between various materials and grades of chain and the specific applications they should be used for. ASTM (American Society of Testing & Materials), ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) and OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) began to publish safety standards and regulations for the manufacturing, testing, use, inspection and repair of chain.

Chain Grades

One of the safety measures implemented was to place chain in Grades based on the ultimate breaking strength of that chain. This number is what we see today G30, G43, G70, G80 & G100 and the common chain grades. The number after each letter is N/mm2. For example, G80 means that the maximum stress on the chain at ultimate strength is 800 newtons per millimeter squared.

Working Load Limit (WLL) of Chain

The other safety measure was identifying which types of chain are appropriate and strong enough for overhead lifting. Anytime we move or lift a load it is dangerous. Moving a load along the ground has the advantage that the ground is supporting the load. We have to overcome the coefficient of friction to move the load. The chain’s working load limit does not have to match the weight of the load. It needs to be able to handle the tension applied, which is based on the surface that it is being moved over plus some fraction of the weight of the load. This can be calculated using formulas.

If we lift that same load off the ground, we now have to overcome gravity. The chain’s working load limit will have to be of sufficient strength to support the weight of the load plus any additional forces imposed by angles and hitch type(s) used.

Which Chain Grade Should Be Used for Which Type of Application?

Alloy Chain Grade 80 or Grade 100 should be used for overhead lifting. ASTM states that alloy chain shall be able to elongate a minimum of 20% before fracture (7.3.5). To ensure that alloy chain consistently meets this requirement, ASTM requires the use of certain alloying elements in the manufacturing of the steel for alloy steel chain. These alloys can vary from company to company, but some key requirements are specified by ASTM. The alloy properties also improve the wear and tear that the chain will experience.  Note that when chain is in use, no amount of stretch is allowed.

Carbon Grade 70 chain is a “heat treated” carbon steel chain that has no alloying elements added to the steel. This chain will elongate before breaking but does not have the properties needed for overhead lifting; therefore, Grade 70 chain is not intended for overhead lifting. This chain is designed for use as a tie down chain or lashing for transportation. Grade 70 chain has a gold chromate finish to help resist corrosion from continuous exposure to the elements and the rigors of highway use, such as road salts in the winter.

When any type of overhead lifting is required, use only alloy chain slings unless specified by the manufacturer.

The preferred chain for load securement is Grade 70, but any grade of chain can be used for tie downs or tensioning. You have to know your tensions in order to select the proper chain. Refer to load securement safety standards FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration), CVSA (Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance), WSTDA (Web Sling Tie down Association) or the state regulations for more information.

Training is key in knowing how to properly size and use any type of chain for any application. Learn more about Columbus McKinnon training programs.

Watch our Safety Webinar on Load Securement.

Henry Brozyna
Henry Brozyna is a Product Trainer specializing in Rigging & Load Securement for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.
The Low-down on Chain Tie-Downs

The Low-down on Chain Tie-Downs

Chain Tie-Downs
Chain has been used by people to pull, fasten and pick things up for over 2000 years. The form of chain has not changed much over the years, whereas the manufacturing of chain has. With the modern advances in metallurgy and manufacturing techniques, chain is a much better quality today. During these advances we have come to realize that we can control the quality of chain. Even though all chain has the basic same shape it does not mean all chain has the same properties. For example, we have several grades of chain; 30, 43, 70, 80 & 100. Each grade has different properties.

Understanding the Different Grades of Chain

Grade 80 & 100 chains are manufactured with alloys that allow them to stretch or elongate. This visible deformation alerts the operator that the chain must be removed from service. Alloy chains are designed for overhead lifting. The lower grades (30, 43 & 70) are carbon chain designed for pulling, agricultural & load securement applications. These grades are not designed for overhead lifting.

Determining a Chain’s Grade, Size and WLL

The best way to know what grade of chain you have is to look on the links themselves. Each chain link should be embossed with the grade, size & manufacturer’s name. All manufactured chain should have these markings, which will allow the user to determine the working load limit (WLL) of the chain.
WLL charts are available from the US D.O.T. or the chain manufacturer. Columbus McKinnon offers an online WLL calculator here.

Chain Tie-Downs

Using Chain as Tie-Downs

The one thing all of these chains have in common is that all can be used as tie-downs. The majority of chain used for tie-downs is Grade 70, also known as transport chain. It is easily recognized because of the gold colored plating which distinguishes it from other chains; however, we recommend that the operator verify the grade by its embossed identification.

A Typical Application for Chain Tie-Downs

Let’s say Phil picks up a load and uses the tie-downs he has had on his truck for years. When he purchased them new they were Grade 70, 3/8” chain with a WLL of 6,600lbs. Over time the plating has worn off and the embossing has become illegible, but Phil knows what the tie-downs are. So Phil finishes securing his load and starts down the highway. He drives for a few hundred miles and pulls into a truck inspection station, confident he has the proper size and number of tie-downs for the load he is carrying.

The inspection is going well until the inspector starts looking at the load and the securement. The markings on the chain are not legible so he uses the Grade 30 WLL rating for 3/8” chain. This is less than half of what Grade 70 3/8” chain is rated for. Phil argues that the chains are Grade 70 but the inspector can only go by what he has in front of him and has to grade them as Grade 30. Citing it as a lower grade chain reduces the WLL below what is required for Phil’s load.

According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) 393.108d, if the marks are not visible or not legible the inspector will consider this tie-down to be the lowest grade (Grade 30). This reduction in grade can result in taking you out of service and possibly a citation.

When it’s all said and done, let’s be safe.

Make sure that the tie-downs you are using are the proper size and grade for your load, are clearly identified as such, and are not damaged or deformed. After all the tie-downs do not belong to your customer, they belong to you. If you’re not sure whether to use 4 or 5 tie-downs, use 5 — the worst case scenario is that you’ll have more rather than less.

It’s Always Good to Get Trained

Whether you’re a road-hardened veteran or new to the industry, we encourage you to get properly trained on how to use & inspect load securement equipment, and stay up to date on regulations and requirements. As an additional resource, check out our Load Securement Safety Webinar.

Henry Brozyna
Henry Brozyna is a Product Trainer specializing in Rigging & Load Securement for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.
Dixie Industries Sixth Wheel Offers a Safe Alternative to Standard Crank on Trailer Landing Gear

Dixie Industries Sixth Wheel Offers a Safe Alternative to Standard Crank on Trailer Landing Gear

Sixth Wheel Ratchet

We are proud to announce an innovative and ergonomic approach to truck safety for raising and lowering landing gear with our new Dixie Industries Sixth Wheel Ratchet.  Dixie Industries is a well-known name in the trucking and rigging industries for its ratchet binders, chain assemblies, and heavy-duty components and in forestry and farming industries.

The Sixth Wheel Ratchet boasts numerous features that set it apart from the standard S-crank:

  • Ergonomically reduces injury risk while operating trailer landing gear – operator can use an ergonomically-correct posture, utilizing body weight while reducing muscle exertion versus a standard crank that operates in a complete circle and requires individuals to exert extremely high forces in postures that are biomechanically inefficient.
  • The Sixth Wheel is a proven solution preferred by 80% of drivers in actual use tests.
  • Already in use today – Schneider National , Inc. compiled a study on the Sixth Wheel’s effectiveness and decided to outfit their entire fleet with Dixie Industries Sixth Wheel Ratchet.
  • A cost effective solution to the ever growing expense of workers compensation claims – a single shoulder surgery is an estimated $42,000 cost to a trucking company or owner-operator. Eliminating just one shoulder injury could provide enough savings to outfit an entire fleet of trailers with Sixth Wheel ratchets.
  • Designed to fit all standard landing gear – available in three lengths, the Sixth Wheel Ratchet fits all trailers and all standard landing gear.
  • Self-locking security cap provides security – made of hardened steel, the self-locking pin and cap can only be removed by using heavy duty shop equipment like a torch or grinding tool.
  • Patented technology – there is only one Sixth Wheel Ratchet, don’t be fooled by knock-offs. Look for US Patent 7,021,659 stamped on all authentic Dixie Industries Sixth Wheel units.

See it in action today. Watch the demo video below:

Want to learn more about this product? Please call our customer service department at 1-800-888-0985 or your local CMCO Sales Manager.

Want to learn more about Load Securement? Click here to view our training offering.

This post was written by Joshua Karczewski, former Distributor Marketing & Product Launch Manager for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.