Flat-bedding Is Easy!

Topic 24973 | Page 3

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∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
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We do. That’s how we outdo the youngsters.

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Too much napping = amnesia? confused.gifsmile.gif

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Danielsahn, did you know that old man bashing is a Federal Crime ? (Federal Statute BS 101) Trucking is perfectly suited to older men. Older men (and women, of course) have many advantages in the world of trucking. 1) We forgot that we know everything. Therefore we are much more teachable and patient. 2) We fear to tread where young fools rush in. 3) We find easier and more efficient ways to do things, so we have more time for naps. 4) Shippers and receivers are more tolerant of us because we can play the old guy card. 5) We either are gimpy or can fake it real well and can play the handicapped card. 6) Law enforcement gives us the benefit of the doubt more often than with young bucks. 7) We usually look like we are million milers even if we are just rookies. 8) We can park our rigs at senior citizen centers and nursing homes plus get free meals sometimes. 9) 55 cent coffee at McDonalds plus free cream and sugar. 10) Older drivers have better safety records, statistically. (And if you don't believe that, let me know and I'll make up some statistics for you). 11) Many older drivers are drawing SS and Medicare, putting less pressure on them to drive around at breakneck speeds and run into things just trying to make an extra buck. 12) Overall, it's a good thing to have a mix of young and old drivers. Most young drivers are very respectful to older drivers, and most older drivers like to reach out and help the young ones. Win-win!

That was a very well thought out response. Did the extra nap help you conjure all that up?

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I am stuck in between the young and old at, 45.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Rob T.'s Comment
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Maybe its the gray hair that makes them want to nap? I'm 29 and found a couple gray hairs in my beard a couple weeks ago. Now all I want to do is nap....

Old School's Comment
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HaHa! No amnesia here - I told you I was busy!

I just finished up a 3,231 mile week. I had promises to keep that were more important to me than this conversation. I am more committed to my job than this forum. I'm sorry to have kept you waiting so long. Here is my response...

Spaceman Spiff's question concerning forward movement is a great one. It's definitely something every flat bed driver needs to consider on each load he secures. Personally I think there is confusion among most flat bed drivers about forward movement. It is unfortunate because not securing a load properly will cause some accidents out here, but it may also cause some over securement. There is never anything wrong with over securement, in fact many would argue that it is wise to over secure your load. The point of this thread was to point out that not all loads that a flat bed driver gets are tough to handle. Some loads can really put a rookie driver through some stress, while others are much easier to handle. Solo mentioned steel coils, and they can be stressful on rookies, but just remember that all things in trucking are learned in incremental steps. “Suicide coils” used to drive me crazy when I first started driving flat bed loads. Now they are just everyday stuff. That's what I mean about learning this stuff incrementally. We learn and we gain confidence in our equipment, and in what we are doing. The danger is in being over confident. I am convinced that over confidence in trucking is a recipe for disaster. We should always have a healthy respect for the various types of loads we are dealing with.

Because of the dedicated account I serve, I have pulled many of these loads of “logs.” I found them to be a little intimidating at first. I have since come to appreciate the way they are loaded by the shipper. I also appreciate the questions raised in this thread, as I am sure they will produce a lively discussion on load securement. Danielsahn mentioned a “bulkhead.” He wondered if I built one after I took the photos. I didn't, but I have done this before. After pulling many of these loads, I have determined that they are secure just the way I have shown you in this photograph. I am sure some of you will disagree with me on this, and that's okay. I think we should always be able to enjoy a civil discussion on load securement.

In flat bedding there always seems to be some problems with terminology. The “Green Book” usually refers to a “headerboard” as a structure that can be used to resist forward movement. This structure must meet specific requirements to be considered a “headerboard.” Lesser units that we may build ourselves are considered “bulkheads,” and as far as I can tell have no specific requirement other than height and length, and that they must resist forward movement. Please, feel free to correct me if I have misunderstood the regulations on this. But it is important to know that in the U.S. headerboards are not required. If you have one (a headerboard) that meets the F.M.C.S.A. requirements and are using it as the rules suggest, then you are allowed to use a lesser amount of tie downs. You can find all of this information in your “Green Book” under the sections for load securement. This trailer actually has a headerboard, just like most of our flat bed trailers, but I do not rely on it. Here's a photo of one, and the forward angle of it suggests it has been used a few times to protect a driver from getting impaled.

0286821001553622171.jpg

Several things contribute to proper securement when it applies to “forward movement.” They can be the aggregate WLL of your securement devices, the unitizing of material into bundles, the way the materials are stacked, the dunnage or the spacers, and the downward force of your securement devices. In the case of this particular load, the “logs” are unitized as bundles. This is listed in the “Green Book” as one method of resisting forward movement. These are banded together with heavy banding six times on each bundle. They also have the “dunnage” or “spacers” banded to the bundle. All of this contributes to resisting forward movement. Oftentimes new flat bed drivers think that the dunnage is there to provide a space under the product so the fork lift operator can get his forks under it. While that is true, it is not the sole purpose of that dunnage or spacer. When you lay a piece of pipe flat on a trailer, it is more likely to slide forward than when it is placed on dunnage. The dunnage acts like a “friction mat” in some sense. When you band the dunnage directly to the bundle it provides even more effort against the forward movement because it is hindered from rolling forward due to the resistance of the banding material. This load is also stacked so that the top section has it's spacer sitting on top of the lower section, “sandwiching” it in with compression from the top. Thus you have resistance from the dunnage compressing pressure against the materials from forward movement. Everything has pressure on it. The straps over the top keep that pressure firm and a load like this should be able to withstand a considerable amount of g-forces coming against it in the event of a hard braking event.

Continued...

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Bulkhead:

A strong wall-like structure placed at the front of a flatbed trailer (or on the rear of the tractor) used to protect the driver against shifting cargo during a front-end collision. May also refer to any separator within a dry or liquid trailer (also called a baffle for liquid trailers) used to partition the load.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
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The very fact that the F.M.C.S.A. allows us to use less straps when incorporating a headerboard makes it clear that the number of straps on a load contribute to the forward motion resistance. I think this is something that is commonly misunderstood. This gets us into the calculations of the aggregate WLL (Working Load Limit). This load was 40,000 pounds. Each of the two sections on the trailer were roughly twenty thousand pounds. So, let's do the math and see how many straps we need to make this load legal. The aggregate WLL of any securement system must be at least 50% of the weight of the cargo being secured. If it's less you need to add more straps or securement components, such as a headerboard or bulkhead. We are securing two different sections on this trailer that are roughly twenty thousand pounds each, and we are using 4” straps with a WLL of 5,400 pounds each. Let's just round that number down to 5,000 pounds each, which makes the math easier, and gives us a little cushion in the effectiveness of our calculations. Also, because we are using an indirect tiedown method (going over the top of the material with the strap secured on opposite sides of the trailer), we are allowed to calculate the full WLL of our straps.

Fifty percent of 20,000 pounds equals 10,000 pounds of aggregate WLL required. So, to come up with how many straps we need we divide 10,000 (our WLL aggregate) by 5,000 (our strap's WLL).

10,000 divided by 5,000 gives us a requirement of two straps!

I hope none of us would want to do that on this load. Actually the length of the “logs” would cause us to have to throw in an extra strap so that we meet the requirements for length. So, we come up with three straps being sufficient. I have actually seen guys hauling these things with only three straps per section, and they made it just fine to their destinations. I throw in an extra two straps per section and if you'll notice how they are arranged, it contributes to the overall protection against forward movement. I have arranged my straps so that there are two near the front, and two near the back of each section, with one strap in the center. The two in the front and rear are two feet apart, centered forward and behind the dunnage or spacers. These straps are really responsible for providing resistance to the forward movement. They are providing a lot of pressure on the spacers under the unitized bundles. Remember all the unitized bundles of logs are now “sandwiched” between dunnage and straps over the top. There is a tremendous amount of pressure on them resisting forward movement.

I have no problems with others who want to build a bulkhead in front of a load like this, but in my opinion, and I believe also according to the regulations, it is not necessary. Bulkheads can be useful. I haul some loads that you just cannot get sufficient pressure on certain materials to keep them from sliding forward under a little pressure. Some of these aluminum products are slick and tend to slide more easily when packaged together in a bundle. Here is an example of the types of loads where I will oftentimes build a bulkhead with dunnage and a chain and binder.

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This all leads to another discussion as far as I'm concerned, and that is being really careful how we drive with certain loads. We often talk about how a tanker job is not really suited for a rookie driver, but there are plenty of times when you want to be ultra careful when driving a flat bed truck too. I honestly think those paper roll loads in a dry van are ridiculous. There are just some loads that we all need to be extra cautious with when driving. Some loads are top heavy, others tend toward forward movement. I think it's very important to take each load into consideration, and drive it carefully so you don't upset your apple cart. Experienced drivers tend to go in two opposite directions on this matter. From what I've observed they either get over confident or they get extra cautious. Trust me, it is always best to be over cautious. That is why I have no problem with a flat bed driver wanting to secure a load of these logs differently than I do, just don't do any less than I've suggested here. This load made it just fine, but it wouldn't have hurt to put a bulkhead up in front as Danielsahn alluded to.

Bulkhead:

A strong wall-like structure placed at the front of a flatbed trailer (or on the rear of the tractor) used to protect the driver against shifting cargo during a front-end collision. May also refer to any separator within a dry or liquid trailer (also called a baffle for liquid trailers) used to partition the load.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
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Rob D asked this question...

Where are you going?

It would also be nice to see a trip for the 1,200 miles. Do you plan to make it in two days?

This was loaded at the Hydro plant (formerly known as SAPA) in Delhi, LA, and was ready for me to pick it up at 1930 on a Tuesday evening. I got the load, secured it as shown, and took off driving all through the night. The load was bound for another Hydro plant in Cressona, PA. I slept at the Pilot in Dandridge, TN for my ten hour break, and then proceeded to drive through Wednesday night and arrived at the Plant in Cressona at 0330 Thursday morning. I got unloaded there, hooked to the pre-loaded trailer they had waiting for me going back to Delhi, LA with one additional stop at the Hydro plant in Gainesville, GA. I took my ten hour break in Cressona before getting back at it. From Delhi, I grabbed the pre-loaded trailer they had waiting on me bound for Hastings, NE. Which is where I am now doing a forced 34. They will burn up my 70 in six days typically. Sometimes I can stretch things out and run re-caps, but it changes all the time. I do a lot of night driving, just because it seems to make things work our more efficiently for my time management on this account. The loads are usually ready at the end of the day, and if I can get my ten hour break in during the day, I am ready to roll when the load is ready.

One of the great things about this account is that they know I will be there when I say, and they will usually have me a pre-loaded trailer waiting on me for my next load. This works well to keep me moving and too busy to keep up with folks in here asking questions!

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Old School's Comment
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My apologies for the delay. I looked back over the conversation, and I did say five days ago that I would answer this "tomorrow." I just needed to make sure I was getting sufficient rest because they had me booked up with loads.

Rob D.'s Comment
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Old School,

Great information on the securement and friction factor.

Man, you are really chewing up the miles with that schedule. What is your governed speed?

Rob.

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
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My apologies for the delay. I looked back over the conversation, and I did say five days ago that I would answer this "tomorrow." I just needed to make sure I was getting sufficient rest because they had me booked up with loads.

Old people need their extra rest! smile.gif

That was a great explanation. Sadly, I never really cracked the green book, until I started flatbedding. Better late than never.

Old School's Comment
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Man, you are really chewing up the miles with that schedule. What is your governed speed?

Governed at 62.

I am living proof that it isn't how fast you go that helps you turn the most miles. It is all about time management. Knowing when to roll, and how to handle the various cities that will slow you down is very critical to your success at this. I do a lot of communicating with my people in the office, and my customers. On this load I got unloaded at 0330 in the morning even though they don't normally start unloading until 0700. There are people there who can unload you, but you just have got to know how to work with the right people to get more done. I have learn a lot by being on this dedicated account, and it definitely helps keep me moving. I almost always am over the 3,000 mile mark on my weekly miles, and I've got to tell you, my company loves it. Don't you ever believe any of that B.S. that says these big companies want to keep us down at a certain level of miles so they don't have to pay us very much. That is total hogwash! If you are making more money, they are making more money - that is how this game works!

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Spaceman Spiff's Comment
member avatar

Thank you old school, I was hoping it was just a super busy week for you while awaiting an answer.

I understand the physics of what you say. I suppose looking at that as a driver in training and imagining getting that as an early on load in solo phase would have made me stop and think for a while on what to do.

I always appreciate the time you take in writing these long and detailed posts. So far flatbedding has been everything you guys have explained it as and better!

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