The prevention of accidents caused by cargo shifting or falling during transport was the impetus for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's 2002 Final Rule mandating the use of cargo restraints for commercial vehicles operating in interstate commerce. Fleets also benefit from this regulation in terms of reducing insurance claims from cargo losses, maximizing vehicle uptime and increasing driver safety.
Like everything else they spec for their vehicles, though, fleets want to be sure the cargo securement products they're buying meet their expectations for durability, safety, ease of use and cost effectiveness. There are a number of innovative new products on the market that fleets may want to investigate.
Earlier this year Ancra International introduced a time-saving device that also makes tightening cargo straps on flatbeds easy enough for drivers with all levels of physical strength to accomplish. Called the EZ Torque winch, it eliminates the need for a standard 34-in. winch bar. Ralph Abato, director of sales and marketing for the cargo division of Ancra International, says the EZ Torque winch, which has a 6-in. handle, allows operators “to swap the back-breaking chore of pumping a hefty winch bar with a smooth, simple rotation.”
According to Abato, the EZ Torque winch is gear-driven to maintain tension on a strap and requires just one-third the amount of force needed to torque-tighten a load strap. “The device will achieve about 1,500 lb. of tension on the webbing with as few as a dozen rotations of its removable handle, after slack has been taken out of the straps.”
Besides making the job quicker and easier, eliminating the need for a winch bar also makes the process of tightening straps safer for drivers, reducing risk of injuries. It is made of zinc-plated steel for long-life and trouble-free operation.
A higher-end, all-pneumatic load strap tensioning device available from Ancra, dubbed Cinch, is targeted specifically for applications such as logging, where loads tend to settle and then sometimes shift as the vehicle is moving down the road. Cinch was developed to prevent load-shift related rollovers by securing and maintaining constant tension on the straps. It also saves drivers from having to stop frequently to make sure the load is still tight.
Ms. Carita Inc. offers the Pallet JackStop, which is designed to prevent interior and freight damages from a runaway pallet jack in a moving truck or trailer. “The Pallet JackStop will hold the pallet jack exactly where you left it. This product will reduce maintenance and repair costs for roll-up doors, trailers, interiors and pallet jacks too,” says Gordon Mosby, vp-national sales manager for Ms. Carita.
The Pallet JackStop is a one-piece design constructed from heavy-duty rubber. Safety is another benefit, Mosby reports. “Drivers will never again have to tie a pallet jack down, use a load bar to hold it, or flip it on its side. The product will save a delivery driver up to 30 minutes a day.”
According to Larry Sweet, president and CEO of Save-A-Load, “load bars fit significantly into the trucking safety picture.” Their job is to prevent cargo from moving inside a trailer during transport. The problem with some load bars, however, is that they don't flex with trailer walls, which expand and contract when temperatures shift. “This is even more critical when using multiple load bars, as a portion of the cargo may exhibit stress in one direction, while another portion does not,” he notes.
Save-A-Load, which manufactures an entire line of cargo bracing bars and accessories, has addressed these issues by designing a “smart bar,” which uses a hydraulic system that works in conjunction with a heavy-duty coil spring to allow for any flexing in the trailer walls. The load bar features a push-button hydraulic release so drivers can take the bar down safely and easily. It extends from 83 in. to 114 in. so it can be used either vertically or horizontally, even in high-cube trailers.
New products from Save-A-Load include a lockable bulkhead that can be used when hauling highly valuable merchandise, as well as a two-piece bar that allows it to be easily stored in the cab of the tractor or in a storage box. An optional attachment, Save-A-Pallet, can be used when there is a single pallet to be secured.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT THESE WEB SITES:
CARGO SYSTEMS INC.
RYDER FLEET PRODUCTS
TARPS and TIE-DOWNS CO.