Columbus McKinnon (CM) creates popular, durable hoisting equipment for rigging like the Bandit, and Loadstar—Today, we have a two part piece by two rigging experts from CM on the Hercules SLR talking load securement, and the benefit of ratchet binders versus lever binders.
Read on and learn load securement tips from Henry Brozyna, Corporate Trainer for CM to tie-down loads safely and securely.
In 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 de-rating 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.
Read on for part two from Columbus McKinnon expert Troy Raines, Chain & Rigging Product Engineering Manager and learn more about using ratchet binders and lever binders for securing loads, and the benefits of each.
People frequently ask, “What 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.
A 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
- Quick means to secure and release
A 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.
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.
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