When it comes to truck load tie down , the ratchet strap and winch strap are playing a huge role in tying down load , ratchet tie down can be used inside the box trucks and on the flat beds , in the mean time winch straps commonly are used with flatbed exclusively . And truck tie downs are much more than just ratchet straps and winch straps , such as there are transport chains , chain binders, e track straps , and much more .
We’re not going to talk about regular tie downs but the reflective straps which have two reflective strips on the webbing , in dark environment the reflective strips can be seen from long distance , this sounds like a nice feature, I think it will be. Let’s consider this, even slight improve on the risk should encourage people to get the reflective ratchet straps. We’re just getting started with reflective ratchet strap and winch strap , we can’t say for sure how the benefits will be, but common sense tells us that if people can easily see the straps on the truck in low light, it’s not likely we will hit the target due to bad sight.
Here we are going to see the most important feature of the reflective tie downs, the price, get online you will find a lot of interesting information, it’s just a easy search away for you to figure out that the reflective ones are about 10% more expensive then non reflective ones, tie down straps are usually sold at $10-$12, so 10% will increase the price a bit , it doesn’t sound too expensive to me, say you buy 10 straps the price difference is about $20, since these straps can be used for quite some time, the common knowledge tells us the time frame will be 6 months or even longer, you almost spend nothing to get the security feature offered by reflective tie downs! Its definitely worthwhile to get the reflective ones!
So far as we all know that when assemble tie down strap and ratchets together we get ratchet strap, by this logic the cam buckle strap is just the cam buckle with tie down strap, why I am not surprised? Cam buckle tie downs are only for light duty use, and 2” cam buckles are the biggest size we will see in the real world use, and it’s still light duty. Compare to cam buckle the ratchets are stronger and more widely used, the available sizes of ratchets are 1”,2”,3” and 4”, and the ratchet buckle generally has higher working load limit than the cam buckle, with 3,333LBS, 5,400LBS working load and a design factor of 3:1, these ratchets have 10,000LBS and 16,2000LBS breaking strength respectively, which are pretty strong for most tie down applications.
Of course what we discussed above is mainly for flatbed trucks and some other kind of vehicles, there are another kind of ratchet straps for semi trailers, ratchet e track straps , these tie down equipment will be used with E Tracks installed inside the semi trailer. By estimation, there are almost 80% trucks on the road are box trucks, so these e track straps are supposed to the most popular ones by volume. And these straps are not as strong as the one we use on flatbed truck, the working load limit of typical e track straps is 1,000lbs, with minimum breaking strength of 3,000lbs. It’s easy to understand that why e track straps are not as strong as regular ratchet tie down straps, inside the box truck the loads already have strong support, at least there is no risk of falling off, all the e track straps will do is to fixate the loads more than tie them down. With the help of e track cargo bar, rope tie off and some other e track tie downs and accessories, it’s pretty easy to secure loads inside the box trucks, but easy doesn’t mean not important, you still have to look out for any risks may present in the process of transportation, so secure your loads as reliable as you can, use the right tie down equipment for your job.
We already discussed the design factor of ratchet straps, it is 3:1 and for the record all this says is that safe load limit of tie down straps is 1/3 of it’s breaking strength, in the mean time the design factor of grade 70 tie down chains is 4:1, so the chains can support heavier load, and are more resistance to abuse, such as high/low temperature, moisture, while tie down straps usually only work well under normal condition. The most common materials in making tie down webbing are nylon and polyester, which serve different tie down applications. The typical application for nylon webbing is motorcycle tie down, while polyester webbing is ideal for tying down concrete pipes. When making the webbing, we have to take following characteristics in to consideration, the breaking strength, elongation, abrasion and the environment. When making tie down strap , manufacturer has to follow the recommendation of breaking strength and elongation requirements, when it comes to abrasion and environment, there are much more variations to be considered.
It’s a fact that when assemble tie down strap and ratchets together we get ratchet strap, by this logic the cam buckle strap is just the cam buckle with tie down strap, why I am not surprised? Cam buckle tie downs are only for light duty use, and 2” cam buckles are the biggest size we will see in the real world use, and it’s still light duty. Compare to cam buckle the ratchets are stronger and more widely used, the available sizes of ratchets are 1”,2”,3” and 4”, and the ratchet buckle generally has higher working load limit than the cam buckle, with 3,333LBS, 5,400LBS working load and a design factor of 3:1, these ratchets have 10,000LBS and 16,2000LBS breaking strength respectively, which are pretty strong for most tie down applications.
So far we discussed about tie down devices for flatbed trucks or similar transportation vehicles, we will see there are other kind of trucks, the typical one is box truck, and most of them have E Track installed inside the truck, for these rigs we use e track straps. In fact box truck has much bigger share than flatbed truck, the percentage maybe around 80%, of course this is only estimation but you get the idea, and the conclusion is that e tack straps are by far the most popular tie downs. The e track straps usually have working load limit of 1000lbs, which is only 30% of the 2” flatbed tie downs, and the breaking strength is only 3,000lbs based on design factor 3:1. It’s understandable that e track straps have lower working load limit, because the box truck wall will provide strong support for the loads inside, and the truck wall will prevent the loads from falling off, rolling over, tilting and some other dangerous movements. You also have e track cargo bar, decking beam, rope tie off, etc. at your disposal, with e track tie down straps you will be able to secure any kind of cargo , make the hauling experience more pleasant than ever , but remember that you can never be more careful when it comes to your precious cargo and truck , make sure your cargo are tied down properly all the time.
We already discussed the design factor of ratchet straps, it is 3:1 and for the record all this says is that safe load limit of tie down straps is 1/3 of it’s breaking strength, for comparison purpose we know that the binder chain has a design factor of 4:1, which basically says that for the chains the working load limit will be 1/4 of their breaking strength, which indicates that tie down chains are designed for tougher environment than tie down straps are in. Nylon and polyester webbing are used in making tie down webbing, for different applications people will choose different material accordingly. Nylon webbing has better elongation than polyester, so for shock absorption wise nylon is ideal material while polyester usually is used to make tie downs for heavy equipment. Elongation, tensile strength, abrasion and environment, these have to be taken into consideration when making tie down strap. Breaking strength has to reach the recommendation level no matter what, and elongation has to meet the requirement, abrasion and environment sometimes are not that clear cut, when designing tie down we may have to consider the most extreme conditions these tie down straps may be in, or we may just consider the normal transportation environment.
The popular tie down system on semi trailers are E track tie down system, which consists of E Tracks and e track tie downs, E tracks come in with a few different length, such as 2′, 5′ and 10′, and there are two different setups , horizontal and vertical. The E Track tie downs have quite a few varieties, such as rope tie off, D ring with E fitting, cam buckle straps with E Fitting, ratchet strap with E Fitting, wheel chocks which usually seen with E Tracks installed on the truck floor for bike or vehicle tie down and there e track cargo bars with e fittings at both ends. But any E Track tie downs need E Track to be installed to work, so the most important thing is to install the E Track properly.
How to install E Tracks and install them safely? Here are some tips.
Now we’re going to mount the E Track onto the trailer wall, first thing we do is to find the wall studs, this is same for the floor installation. The wall studs are a big channel with a few flat spots to put the plywood on, we will do the same to the E Track and bridge the stud and the E Track, now we need to use screw to hold the E Track in the place, the trick is the same as any other handy jobs. Use deep threaded wood screws on these E Tracks is a good idea, and if it’s possible, you should put one screw in each hole on the track, and run the track as far as you can(spread the load), then you’re pretty safe as long as for regular loads. The outside wall is about 2 inches away, so make sure the screws are not longer than that.
When finish installing E Tracks, you will need to test it, just put an rope tie off into the E Track, drag it all you want, see if there are any weak spots, loose ends or whatever feels not well secured, if there are any problems fix them before you put the system into real use.