Posted on: 2021-06-11
Tarpaulins, or tarps as they are often called, are used in a wide variety of settings and industry. In the agricultural industry for instance, you can see tarps being used as covers for grain bunkers or livestock shelter. In the industrial sector, it is pretty common to see tarps being used as wall dividers or to cover items while in storage. In trucking and logistics, tarps are mostly used to cover the items being transported while on the road.
Covering truck beds and the items on them is just one of the many uses of tarps. They are used to cover the load on the truck, thereby protecting it from rain, sun, or snow and at the same time help to secure the load and keep them from falling off the truck bed. Sure, there are box vans or box trucks available, but there are certain items that only flatbed trucks are capable of transporting (e.g. lumber, construction materials, etc.) And when it comes to protecting the load on a flatbed truck, truckers generally rely on a good quality truck tarp.
Like many other items made from tarpaulins like factory dividers, bunker tarps, shelter cover and others truck tarps also come in different variants. More often than not, these classifications are based on the material the tarp is made from or the specific type of load it protects. However, most truckers generally classify tarps according to the following types: lumber tarps, steel tarps, and mesh tarps and each brings with it a certain versatility and suitability for hauling a specific types of cargo.
As the name suggests, lumber tarps are used by truckers who are involved in transporting lumber. They are generally made of heavy-duty material like Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) or Polyethylene (PE), which are pretty much the same materials used in making other tarpaulin products like dam liners, temporary storage structures, and others. Obviously, these types of truck tarps are used to protect lumber from outdoor elements during transport; however, they can also be used for bulky and high-rising loads, and cargo that needs plenty of overhang.
Lumber tarps are designed quite differently from other types of truck tarps. In general, they are shaped and sized in such a way that that they are able to accommodate loads which can rise as high as eight feet above the truck bed. Lumber tarps are usually sold in sets of two or three pieces, though they can also be bought individually. Lumber tarps, like other tarpaulin products (e.g. livestock shade structures, factory dividers, etc.) can also be custom-made, which is a perfect solution for truckers who have specific requirements and needs.
As mentioned earlier, lumber tarps can be made from different materials. Regardless of which material you choose, be sure to go for materials that are durable but not overly heavy. The weight of the material is an important factor to consider as the tarpaulin must be applied and tied down manually, and a heavy tarp is more challenging and more time-consuming to work with.
As can be gleaned from its name, steel tarps are specifically made to cover steel products like pipes, cables, sheets, and others. Their design and the waterproof materials used in constructing the tarp should offer excellent performance when it comes to keeping the load dry and free from corrosion and rust. Most tarps used in hay sheds and temporary warehousing also have waterproof features as it is a necessity in keeping the bales of hay dry.
Like lumber tarps, steel tarps are also made from heavy-duty materials but are designed rather differently. One difference that you’ll immediately notice is that a steel tarp tends to be same in length as a lumber tarp but smaller in width. This is mainly because steel tarps are only intended to cover shorter and low-profile loads (loads that do not rise too high from the surface of the flatbed). A typical steel tarp is four-sided without flaps, have grommets and D-rings built in, and are generally secured with bungee straps.
One of the most commonly used truck tarps are heavy-duty mesh tarpaulins and are mostly seen on dump trucks and dump truck trailers. Unlike lumber tarps and steel tarps, mesh tarps aren’t made of solid materials, which means that they won’t be able to protect your cargo when it rains while you’re on the road. That said, mesh tarps are only used for covering cargo that isn’t damaged by moisture such as small rocks, gravel and sand. Aside from not being waterproof, truckers also have other issues with mesh tarps. For instance, mesh tarps tend to get snagged on debris such as nails or any protruding object in the truck.
Despite those issues, many truckers still use these types of truck tarps. They are lightweight which makes them easier to deploy and collect, durable, and available in a wide variety of colors. The holes in the mesh tarp also allows from ‘breathability’ which makes mesh tarps perfect for other applications like poultry curtains (although it can be rather challenging to find such a curtain in stores that sell poultry supplies in Australia).
Truckers need to cover their cargo during transport (in some places this is mandatory) and one of the best and most cost-efficient way of doing this is with the use of truck tarps. But why is it necessary to do this?
Truckers have the responsibility to ensure that they deliver the cargo to their customers or clients in good condition. However, there are many things along the way that can damage the load at the back of a flatbed truck such as rain, excessive heat, uneven roads and several other challenges that comes with hauling heavy cargo. More often than not, these are capable of rendering damage to the goods being transported unless they are covered with a tarpaulin.
Aside from protecting the cargo, another important reason why truckers are encouraged to use truck tarps is road safety. Over the years, there have been numerous reports of items or cargo falling off the truck and onto the road, which then leads to a series of accidents as other travelers often crash against these items or get derailed while avoiding them. When such accidents happen, it leads to a variety of issues for the truck driver or the cargo company, all of which could’ve been avoided had they used truck tarps.
Truck tarps are fastened to the flat bed through grommets and rings (such as those use in some tarpaulin products like warehouse divider curtains and warehouse divider walls and the likes), but in any case, this action adds additional safety and security feature as the fastening helps to hold the cargo in place and prevent it from falling out of the truck.
When it comes to using truck tarps (or any other tarp like grain bunker tarps for example), there are certain considerations that must be taken to ensure that they are used in the most effective way possible. These become even more important when it comes to using tarps for long-haul trucking.
The first consideration is choosing the right tarp for the job. For example, if you are transporting a load that is high rising and requires total water protection, then you should use a large lumber tarpaulin with both side drops and end flaps. Along this line, you want to make use of a tarp is big enough for the job, but it shouldn’t be too big that it has lots of excess fabric.
Another thing to remember is how the tarp is deployed and secured. There are various ways to deploy a tarp and several ways of securing them to the truck. But aside from that, it is also important to remember to protect the tarps against sharp objects and the potential of wind damage. This can be achieved by using edge protectors, corner protectors, moving blankets, rubber pants or other things that can eliminate sharp edges between cargo and tarp.
Lastly, it is important to regularly check and inspect your tarp before and after using them. This will allow you to identify weak points and damages and address them before they become worse. Doing this will allow you to get the maximum use out of your truck tarps and thus get the most out of this investment. This is not only true for truck tarps but for any other tarp you are using like hay tarps or tarps for pig shelters for instance.
Load and cargo being hauled by flatbeds and other types of trucks need to be tarped in order to protect them from inclement weather. This makes truck tarps an essential hardware for truckers around the country and all over the world. And in order to ensure that your goods or whatever item you are transporting are well-protected, be sure to use only truck tarps that are made of high quality materials and manufactured by reputable manufacturers. It is true that they will be more expensive and require a huge upfront, but the benefits and longevity will more than make it a worthy investment.
Looking for high quality truck tarps shouldn’t be difficult, especially when you consider that Polytex is right here to help you out. With our knowledge and expertise, we have become one of the preferred suppliers not only of custom made trucking and machinery covers but of other tarpaulin products as well like temporary storage structures, factory dividers, eco shelters and others. Our in-house team can help your withdrawing, nesting, plotting and cutting of tarpaulin production to ensure that your tarps are manufactured according to your specifications and requirements. Also, we only source and use high premium materials in manufacturing our truck tarps and other products to ensure that you get nothing but the best products that will meet and even exceed your expectations.