Tag: transportation

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.”

Look for us at the CVSA Annual Conference in Buffalo, NY, September 14-17

Look for us at the CVSA Annual Conference in Buffalo, NY, September 14-17

CVSA-logo_JPG-versionThe Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) will be hosting a conference and exhibition in Buffalo, New York from September 14-17 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.   The CVSA is an international not-for-profit organization comprised of local, state, provincial, territorial and federal motor carrier safety officials and industry representatives from the United States, Canada and Mexico. Their mission is to promote commercial motor vehicle safety and security by providing leadership to enforcement, industry and policy makers.

Stop by Booth #12 to see some of our featured products:

Everyone who stops by our Booth #12 and drops off their business card will automatically be entered into a drawing to win a 3/4 ton Bandit hoist. Henry Brozyna, CMCO Corporate Trainer, will also be at the booth to answer any questions you may have.

Interested in attending? You can register here. We hope to see you there!

Know your Transport Binder Chain Assemblies and Load Binders

Know your Transport Binder Chain Assemblies and Load Binders

Binder Chain AssemblyDo you know the origin of your Transport Binder Chain Assemblies and Load Binders? If you’re comparing costs and quality, or trying to meet domestic-only product requirements for a project, it’s important that you know the country of origin.

In fact, there are a number of things to consider when buying and selling Transport Binder Chain Assemblies and Load Binders. I will highlight a few things you should look for to ensure you are comparing apples to apples and getting the product that best meets your needs.

CM Offers 3 Types of Binder Chain Assemblies

Short Link Chain Assemblies with Domestic Hooks are our premium, 100% American-made Chain Assemblies that feature US-made short link chain and US-made hooks. CM is the only manufacturer of short link chain and set the standard for it years ago with the introduction of Gold Standard (gold chromate) chain. The smaller dimension of the short link chain is preferred by users because it allows for easier take up and better cornering. This means that the chain links are less likely to bend when they go around a corner.

Standard Link Chain Assemblies with Domestic Hooks, like our short link assemblies, feature US-made chain and US-made hooks manufactured and assembled at our Tennessee facilities. The longer pitch of the standard link chain translates into less overall weight. Standard link chain is common in most US-made assemblies.

Standard Link Chain Assemblies with Imported Hooks are competitively priced assemblies that feature domestic-made chain with imported hooks. This type of assembly is very common in the industry and is made by many competitors domestically.

View a comparison chart of our three types of binder chain assemblies.

Does your job require proof that your equipment was made in America?

Whether Binder Chain Assemblies or Load Binders, you should be able to find the name of the country of origin printed or embossed right on the unit. All CM domestic products will have a forged “USA” clearly visible. Binder Chain Assemblies

Competitors may put their markings in inconspicuous places where it is less likely to be seen. On some competitors’ ratchet load binders you need to really look to find “China” discreetly hidden on the side of the thumb switch. Always check your Ratchet and Lever Load Binders thoroughly to make sure they’re made in the USA.

For domestic chain and hooks, Columbus McKinnon goes one step further by featuring trace codes. These trace codes allow you to not only trace the steel that was used to make the product, but also the date of manufacture and the processes used in manufacturing the product.

Lastly, CM offers full disclosure with a Certificate of Conformity (COC) and a Certificate of Origin (COO) on all of our Transport Binder Chain Assemblies, Ratchet Load Binders and Lever Load Binders. These COCs and COOs are available for download on our Distributor website or by request from a Columbus McKinnon customer service representative.

Meeting Industry Standards

The transportation industry uses a large assortment of Binder Chain Assemblies that come from all over the world. Some of these products meet multiple recognized standards while others do not meet any specifications at all. It’s truly “buyer beware.”

However, Columbus McKinnon transport binder chains and assemblies meet all regulatory requirements for transportation in North America, including NACM 2014, ASTM A413 and D.O.T. requirements.

Comparing Costs: Apples to Apples

When comparing CM products and pricing to the competition, it is important to make sure that you are comparing equivalent products.

The majority of our competitors offer assemblies with domestic-made chain and imported hooks. These mixed assemblies are designed to be economical, and our Standard Link Chain Assemblies with Imported Hooks match up nicely in price and quality. Assemblies that use components with mixed countries of origin are fine for applications where domestic-made products are not required.

In contrast, you can’t compare CM Standard Link Chain Assemblies and Short Link Chain Assemblies that feature domestic hooks to the competition that uses imported components. Our 100% US-made assemblies are premium, high-quality products proudly manufactured in Tennessee. Comparing these premium units to imported products (whether fully imported or made with imported components) would be comparing apples to oranges.

So, there’s a lot to consider before you buy or sell your next load binder or binder chain assembly. For more information, contact a Columbus McKinnon Sales Representative at 800-888-0985. If you’re interested in getting professional, hands-on Load Securement Training click here.

Pfaff-silberblau Lifting Systems Help Boost Safety for Montreal’s Metro System

Pfaff-silberblau Lifting Systems Help Boost Safety for Montreal’s Metro System

Montreal’s metro system, “STM”, is Canada’s busiest underground transportation system. In 2006, the Canadian provincial government of Quebec decided, as a measure to reduce the number of private cars on the roads, to extend local public transport facilities by 16%. Montreal undertook this project in the metropolitan area, which soon led to a 22% increase in the use of local public transportation.

To transport the additional passengers quickly and comfortably, modern trains were ordered from a consortium made up of the two leading train manufacturers, Bombardier and Alstom. In total, an order was placed for approximately 468 MPM-10 trains, each consisting of nine coupled carriages.

These trains run on quiet, low-vibration rubber tires rather than on steel wheels. Since safety is exceptionally important where railways are concerned, the bogies (wheel sets) have to be serviced and replaced at regular intervals. To accomplish this, a system capable of lifting the entire train with all nine carriages in sync (+/- 3mm) would be required. This system would be installed at the Youville depot, which is where trains used for the STM system are serviced.

Choosing a lifting system
As far back as 2008, a team of external consultants began researching and examining lifting equipment to determine what would be most suitable for this massive undertaking. The team visited reference installations of the world’s leading lifting system manufacturers to find the best option. During a trip to Europe, Pfaff-Silberblau invited this team to Austria, where they were particularly impressed by the underfloor lifting system used by the Wiener Linen (Vienna Lines). This lifting system had been supplied a few years prior by Pfaff-silberblau. Some of the most important parameters and features of this lifting system, which up to that point was the longest of its kind, were later incorporated into the specifications for the system required at the STM Youville depot in Montreal.

It took until 2011 for the project team to put out an official bid for an underfloor lifting system and two turntables. Many of the original competing companies had to drop out, either on account of technical and financial deficiencies or due to the lack of references for similar systems. For these reasons, Pfaff-silberblau Rail Technology in Kissing was awarded the contract later that year.

Designing the lifting system
After winning the bid, Pfaff-silberblau went through a variety of steps before their system could be put into place. This included: technical and commercial consultations, the design and manufacturing of the system, a factory acceptance test by STM and construction of a prototype.

Project at a Glance

Number of wheel lifting platforms

18

Number of body supports

36

Lifting capacity of the system

306 tons

Lifting height of the system

1.7 meters

Length of the system

160 meters

The system had to be designed in accordance with the European standard for vehicle lifting platforms EN1493, while at the same time observing North-American welding and electrical standards. The STM planning team also used key data from Pfaff’s lifting system used by the Wiener Linen to develop specifications for the Youville depot.

To build the system, Pfaff had to work closely with Canadian suppliers. This entire process proved to be challenging given the multi-lingual global project team. Pfaff-silberblau was able to complete the project to the customer’s detailed specifications and within the predefined time schedule and plan.

Installing the system
Once constructional pre-conditions had been met at the Youville depot and the foundations were built, the installation commenced in late 2013. At this time, Pfaff shipped the lifting system to the customer, which included 18 containers measuring 40 feet long with a combined weight of 280 tons.

The lifting system was installed under the strict scrutiny of the Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Administration. Throughout the entire duration of the installation, there was neither an accident nor a negative report issued by health and safety officials. The delivery of the new trains began in May 2014.

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.

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.

NACM Position on Tagging of Chain Tie-Downs

NACM Position on Tagging of Chain Tie-Downs

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As provided by the NACM Technical Committee on May 2, 2011

The NACM  (National Association of Chain Manufacturers) has been asked to provide its position on the need to add additional tagging to tie-down assemblies due to some apparent confusion in Canada.

The Canadian National Safety Code for Motor Vehicles released Standard 10 – Cargo Securement (September 2010, effective January 1, 2011). There is no requirement for, or even mention of, additional tagging of chain tie-downs. Instead, the opposite is true. The Standard states that “A chain that is marked by the manufacturer in accordance with the table of Working Load Limits under Part 4 – Section 7 has a working load limit equal to the amount shown for the grade and size.” Section 7 lists the NACM Welded Steel Chain Specifications as the reference document, and lists the grade indicators contained in the NACM specification in the table. Excerpts from this standard are included below.

This is also in agreement with the similar United States Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration Part 393 Regulations Subpart I, Protection against shifting and falling cargo,  Sections 393.100 through 393.136. There are no requirements for separate tagging of chain tie-down assemblies.

Based on the above and below references, as well as the complete absence of any specification that requires additional tagging, it is the NACM position that additional tagging is not required for chain tie-down assemblies in either Canada or the United States.

 

Canadian National Safety Code for Motor Vehicles, Standard 10: Cargo Securement, September 2010, Effective 1/1/2011

REFERENCE 1

Part 2 – General Provisions, Division 3 – Requirement for Cargo Securement Systems

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REFERENCE 2

Part 4 – Manufacturing Standards, Section 7 – Chain Assemblies

National Association of Chain Manufacturers, Welded Steel Chain Specifications

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