Sunday, May 26, 2013

Tire Patch

This is a picture of a tire on my trailer.  Notice the white dirt on the tread.  This is a very simple way of detecting where the tire touches the road.  This tire is getting the maximum tread on the road, which is what I want.  This is called the tire patch.  The more inflated these wide base tires are, the smaller the tire patch and the less traction you get. 

With a smaller tire patch you also get more miles per gallon because there is less rolling resistance, but the tire will wear out faster and it is very unsafe in wet or slippery conditions.

In the absence of white dirt, many things can be used.  You can even use chalk by drawing a line across the tire in several places and seeing where the chalk has been worn away after driving around the parking lot. 

The tire patch will change depending on how much weight you have on your trailer.  There are several ways to manage your tires.  Tire pressure is the number one reason for tire failure.  In addition to that, tire punctures are one of the main reasons for decreased tire pressure.  A great place to acquire tire punctures is the shoulder of the highway where debris accumulates over time. 

Tires are relatively important so knowing the most you can about how they play a roll literally, can help you greatly improve your bottom line.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Keeping Track

Here is a mobile platform which is capable of lifting thousands of pounds up to 40 feet high.  It broke down so they needed it moved elsewhere to be fixed.  
This tracked vehicle is controlled by a handheld wired control and is completely self contained with an engine and hydraulics.
 This is a direct tie down method which only yields 1/2 Working Load limit as the chain goes from the trailer through the tie down point back to the same side of the trailer.  Four 5/16" chains were used yielding 9400 lbs. of total tie down force.  The chains' main purpose is prevent sideways,forward, or backward movement.  Alone, they weren't enough to legally secure the vehicle so straps were used in addition to the chains, but I had put the camera away at that point so they aren't pictured here.
 The snap binders were used although ratchet binders would have been better here.  The snap binder ended up resting against the trailer rub rail.  4 inches of overhanging securement devices is allowed legally.  The snap binder was secured with a small twist link chain that has a spring clip attached to it. 
 The chains are supposed to be wrapped around the stake pockets instead of hooked directly to the trailer, but since this was a prototype trailer, the manufacturer neglected to share this information with me and after doing this load I learned the correct way to attach the chains.  Thanks to MacGyver for sharing this knowledge with me.  
It never fails that no matter how much you think you know, you never stop learning and things never stop changing.  Combine this with the technology that is being invented every day, and you have a busy time ahead of you trying to keep up.  

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Coils


Coils are some of the toughest types of freight to haul because of their concentrated weight in one small area on the trailer.  They pack a punch if they get loose.  There are many stories of these coils rolling through truck cabs and through vehicles after their chains and straps loosen up.  The trailer pictured here has small blocks called "turtles" that slide from front to rear and from side to side on the trailer.  Just one of these blocks can support the entire weight of the trailer. 

In addition to the chains there are also straps going over the coil.  The chains have been known to be damaged by the coils and the coils have been damaged by the chains so there is a metal chain protector in between the chains and the coil.  The chain protector has little humps on it to keep the chain centered on the protector.  These protectors were always made of steel, but there have been some made of steel and then covered in tough rubber to give both protection to the chain and to the freight.

Pictured here are snap binders which are my preferred type of binder.  The don't rust, are easy to use, and if secured properly, will last the entire trip without having to be tightened again.  Since these chains are going from one side of the trailer back to the same side, they are only getting half of the working load limit.  The straps go from one side to the other so they are getting the full working load limit.

There are three basic ways to load a coil:  Eye to the sky (the style seen on the coils to the front of the trailer), shotgun (the style of the coil towards the rear of the trailer), and suicide (where the coil is loaded so that the eye in the center of the coil is facing the sides of the trailer).  The two ways depicted here are the preferred loading styles for coils and the safest being eye to the sky.  The coils that are loaded eye to the sky style are secured using straps with strap protectors and these coils are also heavily wrapped in plastic so it is unlikely that the straps would be cut in a sudden stop.  Chains are the best method for securing all types of coils and a coil would never be secured in either eye to the sky style or suicide style without chains.

The eye to the sky or suicide coils have coil racks, dunnage (4X4 lumber) and rubber pieces between the coil and the trailer.  This gives the coil a cradle to sit in to minimize movement of the coil.  Because the coils have so much weight in such a small area, they can damage a trailer very easily.  Many flatbed trailers have a marking on the frame rail specifying where the placement of one single coil ,that is the maximum weight the trailer can handle, will sit safely.  In the case of this trailer, the maximum load for the trailer is 60,000 lbs. and there are coils that weigh that much.  I wouldn't be able to haul a coil that heavy, but if you were set up to haul one that heavy, you would want to make sure that the coil was situated perfectly.  Not only do you need to worry about the securement of the coil to prevent it from falling off the trailer in the event of an accident, but you need to make sure that the coil doesn't damage the trailer.

These coils were tarped and protected from the elements to arrive safe and sound thousands of miles away.  The metal was used in a factory to eventually become car parts.