Types of Load Binders & Choosing the Best for the Job!

Types of Load Binders & Choosing the Best for the Job!

There are two general types of load binders – ratchet binders and lever binders, defined by their method of tightening. Though the majority of commonly used load binders will fall in one of these two categories, they are available in a range of styles, load ratings, and sizes to match the different types of chain used within the transportation industry.

If you’re a part of the transportation industry you’re likely pretty familiar with load binders, also known as chain binders. Load binders are an essential piece of equipment used to anchor loads for transport by applying tension to the chains that tie-down your cargo. Of all tie-down methods, chain and load binders have the most muscle to handle the toughest tie-down jobs – made for big & heavy loads.

A Closer Look at the Different Types of Load Binders 

Lever types and ratchet type load binders work similarly and usually are chosen based on the personal preference of the user. As with any type of load securement gear, safe practices need to be followed. Let’s take a closer look at these two categories of load binders with some pros and cons so that you can confidently make the choice of which type of load binder will work best for you.

Lever Type of Load Binders

A lever type of load binder (also known as lever chain or snap binders) 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. They require a relatively high manual force to be applied by the person installing the binder in order for it to tighten and secure the chain. While they take more manual force, they are typically quicker and simpler to install because of their straight forward design and application with less moving parts.

Lever load binder chart

Lever Load Binders Pros and Cons 

Pros

  • Quicker and simpler to operate
  • More compact
  • Generally less expensive

Cons

  • Requires more manual strength
  • The threat of “kickback” from the lever if proper care is not taken
  • More likely to break in the handle where kinetic energy is held

Ratchet Type of Load Binders 

A ratchet type of load binder (also known as ratchet chain) 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.

ratchet load binder chart

Ratchet Load Binders Pros and Cons 

Pros

  • Less manual force to operate
  • Safer to operate – Not as much energy is stored in the handle, therefore will not “kickback”.
  • Higher mechanical advantage
  • Easier to adjust in finer increments

Cons

  • Generally more expensive
  • Less compact
  • Harder to operate
  • Takes more time to set up

Selecting the Proper Load Binder 

Once you’ve made the choice on what type of load binder you prefer, it’s time to ensure you’re using the correct load binder within that category. Making this choice has less to do with the load binder itself and more to do with the type of chain you are using alongside it, and the weight of your cargo. Chains and load binders work together as a team, so you have to make sure they are compatible with each other.

Capacity is the most important considerations when you’re choosing your chain and load binder team. The load being tied down must not exceed the combined WLL (working load limit) of all the chains being used. For example, if your cargo weighs 4,000 lbs and you will use 4 chains, each chain must have a WLL of at least 1,000 lbs. Four chains of 1,000 lbs WLL each will equal 4,000 lbs total, enough capacity to secure a 4,000 lb load. Each binder must also have a WLL of at least 1,000 lbs. A good rule to follow is to always use binders that have an equal or greater capacity than the chains they will tighten.

Always follow safe work practices and take precautions in the use of binders. Particular attention is called to section 2.1.3 of the Driver’s Handbook on Cargo Securement by the Canadian Council of Motor Transportation Administrators.

Tune back into our next blog, publishing on Wednesday, Dec 2nd, for the second part in our Load Binder series – How to use a Load Binder | Ask the Experts.


Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including transportation, energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

NEED A QUOTE? HAVE A QUESTION? CALL US—WE KNOW THE (WIRE) ROPES & EVERYTHING RIGGING-RELATED.

5 Top Tips | Using Ratchet Straps Correctly & Safely

5 Top Tips | Using Ratchet Straps Correctly & Safely

One of the most popular methods for securing cargo, especially when it comes to shipping, is using ratchet straps – also known as lasing straps or tie-downs. Ratchet straps are the hammer of the transporters toolbox – with applications ranging wide from professional use to everyday common use. You may not realize it, but these simple straps are a large and important component in material handling.

As with any material handling equipment, it is important that you use it correctly, and take proper care of it. Your equipment is what keeps your load, yourself and your employees safe – so it’s your job to make sure it is set up for success! In this blog, we’re going to be sharing our 5 top safety tips to ensure your ratchet straps are being used to their full, and proper, compacity!

1. Using them Properly

When not used properly, ratchet straps can become damaged very quickly, and potentially cause road hazards. The proper way to use a ratchet strap is:

How to Use a Ratchet Strap

  • Step 1: Insert loose end of strap into mandrel of the ratchet
  • Step 2: Pull strap through slot in mandrel
  • Step 3: Pull slack out of strap to make strap tight
  • step 4: Crank the ratchet to desired tightening
  • Step 5: Make sure strap stays in line with other to avoid tangling/locking
  • Step 6: Lock handle down after tightening

How to Release a Ratchet Strap

  • Step 1: Pull trigger toward back handle
  • Step 2: Open ratchet all the way
  • Step 3: Webbing should release
  • Step 4: Pull webbing out of mandrel
  • Step 5: Pull trigger to unlock
  • Step 6: Close ratchet back down

2. Storage Methods

The working life of your equipment is affected by more than just how you use it – storing it incorrectly is one of the leading causes of damage. There are three main things you want to avoid when storing ratchet straps:

  1. Moisture – Storing ratchet straps is a place where they are exposed to moisture can cause it to mold and mildew. Mold can extremely weaken the strength of the webbing and the polyester can actually be destroyed, even in heavy-duty straps. This is a problem many people run into when choosing to store their ratchet straps in the back of their truck. This is also something to be aware of when using the straps in the rain – always ensure they are able to dry before putting them away.
  2. Direct Sunlight – Ratchet straps should always be stored in a dark, dry place away from direct sunlight. When exposed to harmful UV rays, they can get sun damaged – you’ll notice this by seeing the color of the strap fade.
  3. Friction & Heat – Exposer to heat, such as the sun, fire, or other heat sources can cause weakening issues. This can also occur if the straps rub against a sharp edge or other objects while in use. If you notice any burn marks in your straps, they must immediately be placed out of service.

3. Choosing the Right Ratchet Strap

You’ll need to consider the following when choosing tie-down straps:

  • Weight capacity (WLL – working load limit)
  • Length of straps
  • Type of hook: S-hooks, double J-hooks, flat hooks, and E-track systems
  • Whether you need extra security offered by tie-down straps that latch or lock
  • Whether you want extra protection for your cargo, vehicle, and straps

Weight Capacity of Ratchet Straps

One of the most important things to consider when choosing ratchet straps is their weight capacity. To get the right ratchet straps, you need to know the weight of your cargo and the total number of straps you will use to tie it down.

The weight capacity of a ratchet strap is designated by its safe working load limit (WLL), which is a measure of the maximum weight the strap can safely handle. To safely secure a load, the combined WLL of the ratchet straps used must be greater than the weight of the secured cargo. For example, if your cargo weighs 1,000 lbs and you are using 2 ratchet straps to tie it down, each strap must have a WLL of 500 lbs or greater. It is recommended that you always use ratchet straps in pairs.

Ratchet straps are also rated by their maximum load (or break strength), which is the amount of weight that will cause the ratchet strap to fail. The break strength is usually 3 times the WLL. You should always use the WLL to determine what ratchet straps are best for your application.

Length of Ratchet Strap

Ratchet straps need to be long enough to reach from tie-down point to tie-down point or from your cargo to a tie-down point on your trailer or truck. If the ratchet straps are too short, they won’t work at all. If they are a lot longer than you need, you will have long, loose ends that could get in your way. Even if you are using ratchet straps of the ideal length, there will still be a portion of the strap that must be secured so that it doesn’t flap in the wind. And because the same ratchet straps are often used for multiple applications, it’s almost impossible not to have long ends of the strap to deal with at some time.

4. Using the Right Amount

As we mentioned above, the industry standard is to use ratchet straps in pairs. Depending on the type of cargo you are transporting, there may be specific regulations as to how many ratchet straps need to be used. For example, if you’re transporting goods in pallets, boxes or stillages, you will need at least one strap per row. Or, if you’re transporting logs in a truck fitted with a headboard, you need to use at least one strap per bay for logs up to a maximum length of 3.3 meters with the bark still present. It’s important you look into regulations specifically for your region, industry, and type of cargo!

5. Daily Inspections Checking for Damage

Ratchet straps must be regularly inspected to ensure they are not damaged. Even “minor” damage can drastically reduce the strap’s capacity and increase the chance of failure during use.

The entire ratchet strap assembly must be inspected before each use and removed from service if any of the following are detected:

  • If the identification tag is missing or illegible
  • Holes, tears, cuts, snags or embedded materials
  • Broken or worn stitches in the load-bearing splices
  • Knots in any part of the webbing
  • Acid or alkali burns
  • Melting, charring or weld splatters on any part of the webbing
  • Excessive abrasive wear or crushed webbing
  • Signs of ultraviolet (UV) light degradation
  • Distortion, excessive pitting, corrosion or other damage to buckles or end fittings
  • Any conditions which cause doubt as to the strength of the ratchet strap

Hercules SLR can design and manufacture heavy or light duty ratchet assemblies that are weather and wear-resistant and will secure your load properly and safely.

All our tie-down straps and ratchet assemblies are manufactured from the highest quality proof tested webbing hardware. They can be supplied with any one of several standard or custom made end fittings to ensure that your load is adequately and safely secured. Larger ratchet assemblies are available in standard or long-handled versions.

Hercules SLR is here for you and all your transportation requirements! Load Binders, ratchet straps, tie downs, tarps, chains, ropes, slings, hardware and more. We remain open, while respecting the emergency measures put in place by our provincial governments and health advice.

We have set up specific drop-off and pick-up points in-store and you can call us ahead of time to make sure everything is ready before your arrival. Your safety is our priority and when you need us, we are here for you. Call us: 1 800 461-4876 or visit us online here to find the nearest branch: https://buff.ly/2FFkXMu

NEED A QUOTE? HAVE A QUESTION? CALL US—WE KNOW THE (WIRE) ROPES & EVERYTHING RIGGING-RELATED.

Product Spotlight | Hammerlock Coupling Links

Product Spotlight: Hammerlock Coupling Links

What is a Hammerlock Coupling Link?

Hammerlock coupling links are used for attaching chain to master links, eye type hooks, installing a new branch to a sling or just connecting components during chain sling fabrication.

Hammerlock coupling links should NEVER be used to repair hoist chain—No coupling hardware should ever be used to repair a damaged link of chain. This can present a number of safety hazards to the operator and possibly the overall hoist. In the case of hoist chain damage or ware, the chain needs to be replaced as one piece.

Hammerlocks are also not appropriate for lengthening chain. Once again, if you desire a longer chain, you need to seek out a chain that is fabricated to the correct length, using the correct links.

Assembly and Disassembly of Hammerlock Coupling Links

Hammerlock coupling links are a favorite of riggers because they can so easily be assembled and disassembles in the field using only a hammer and punch.

How to assemble a hammerlock link:

  1. Bring the two halves of the body together so the center connectors are aligned
  2. Position the bushing in the center of the hammerlock, aligned with the connectors
  3. Insert the load pin through the hammerlock as far as you can by hand
  4. Hammer the load pin the rest of the way in, until all material is flush on both ends

 

Did you know the bushing in the center is one of the most important parts of a hammer coupling link? Without the bushing, the load pin on its own will not hold the hammerlock coupling together at all – It actually moves quite freely within the body on its own. The load pin is tapered on the ends which allows the bushing to sit in place and hold the hardware securely together. The bushing contains a spring-like system that allows the pin to push through when hammered, but returns to an un-movable state once in place – Unless directly hammered again using a punch!

How to disassemble a hammerlock link:

  1. Place the hammerlock link on a raised surface, creating room for the load pin to exit the bottom
  2. Align a punch with the center-top of the load pin
  3. Hammer the punch forcing the load pin out from the center of the hammerlock
  4. Pull now loosened parts apart by hand – It’s that easy!

In need of an affordable and reliable hammerlock coupling link?

That’s where YOKE comes in—With YOKE you never have to sacrifice quality for price. Find YOKE Hammerlock Connecting Links for Grade-100 Chain at your local Hercules SLR. YOKE Hammerlock connecting links are made of alloy steel and are quenched and tempered for maximum strength, reliability, and durability with a working load limit of 8800 pounds.

Since 1985, YOKE manufactures durable, reliable & high-quality rigging hardware that keeps your load secure, and your team safe. They run a strict production facility, with a huge emphasis on quality control & safety at every stage of the manufacturing process—From raw materials to the finished product for the end-user, with facilities across the globe, in Canada, Los Angeles and China. To learn more about YOKE at Hercules SLR, click here.


NEED A QUOTE? HAVE A QUESTION? CALL US—WE KNOW THE (WIRE) ROPES & EVERYTHING RIGGING-RELATED.   

A Look at the Towing Industry | Different Categories of Tow Trucks

A Look into the Towing Industry: Different Categories of Tow Trucks

Nothing puts a damper on your day quite like having your car break down as you’re trying to make your way through your day. When that does happen, you depend on towing companies to get your vehicle somewhere where it can be repaired safely. This is likely the extent of many people’s knowledge when it comes to tow trucks. They’re an industry that the everyday person wouldn’t think much of, until they are forced to Google the phone number of the nearest one, to save them from their rotten day.

Did you know there isn’t a one-size-fits-all tow truck? Towing companies often have a variety of vehicles on hand, each made for a different type of job. Tow jobs aren’t just limited to picking up small broken down cars on the side of the road, they also have to serve larger vehicles like RVs, box trucks and even the heaviest 18 wheelers. Even beyond the load size, tow companies have to be prepared to get vehicles out of hard-to-maneuver situations in the unfortunate case of an accident.

Tow trucks can be sorted into three basic types, light-duty, medium-duty and heavy-duty.

Light-Duty Tow Trucks

Light-duty tow trucks are used for the majority of incidents and are sent out to tow cars, motorcycles and smaller trucks. They are capable of performing a variety of tasks such as removing abandoned vehicles, private property towing and accident recovery. They have the ability to maneuver through small lots or parking garages, but usually stick to jobs that are located on paved and flat terrain.

   

Light-duty tow trucks are Class A vehicles that are often either conventional or rollback wreckers. They are capable of towing between 7,000 and 11,000 pounds and often rely on winch & cable systems and wheel lifts to do their work.

Medium-Duty Tow Trucks

Medium-duty tow trucks are used for heavier duty jobs involving vehicles like box trucks, RV’s and farm equipment. They are also the choice for certain recovery operations for smaller vehicles because they have a larger range of configurations such as: lowering platforms or landolls, automatic trailers, low-profile trailers, and boom lifts. However, since they are a bigger vehicle, they are not ideal for tighter environments like parking lots.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Medium-duty tow trucks are Class B vehicles that often feature some varying styles of flatbed. They are capable of towing between 7,000 and 17,000 pounds and feature at least a 12-ton capacity boom lift, 5-ton winch, and 5-ton wheel lift.

Heavy-Duty Tow Trucks

Heavy-duty tow trucks are the big guys. They are used for vehicles like garbage trucks, dump trucks and semi-trailers. These tow trucks handle the biggest loads and the most complicated recoveries. These are the tow trucks that vehicles like 18 wheelers depend on because not only are they capable of getting large vehicles themselves out of sticky situations, but also whatever that vehicle was hauling. They are also the tow truck used for vehicles that have gone off the road or down an embankment.

These are Class A vehicles that are required to feature at least a 25-ton boom lift, 25-ton winch and 6-ton wheel lift. They are capable of towing any load greater than 17,000 pounds!


The jobs that these tow trucks perform rely on more than just the truck itself. As we’ve mentioned above, each truck uses a different type of lifting and towing equipment. Especially when dealing with heavy-duty tow jobs, it’s extremely important that the tow truck is outfitted with high-quality lifting gear that won’t break under the pressure.

That’s where YOKE comes in! Since 1985, YOKE has been manufacturing durable, reliable & high-quality hardware that keeps your load secure, and your team safe. No need to choose between quality and affordability, YOKE provides top safety certified lifting equipment without the big price tag. Products like the Grade 100 Clevis Grab Hook, when used attached to wire rope or welded chain, is sturdy enough for the toughest tow jobs. When purchasing your towing gear, don’t sacrifice quality for price – Choose YOKE instead. Learn more about YOKE at Hercules SLR by clicking here.


NEED A QUOTE? HAVE A QUESTION? CALL US—WE KNOW THE (WIRE) ROPES & EVERYTHING RIGGING-RELATED.