Flatbed trucks and flatbed loads are very common concepts in the work of dispatchers who work with trucks on a daily basis. Both owners-operators and truckers have many questions about the effective optimization of space in this type of truck. In this article, I, a professional dispatcher, want to consider this issue and other important points related to flatbed trucks and cargo transportation with their help.
So, a flatbed truck is a vehicle with a unique design that includes a flat body without a roof and sides. It serves for the transportation of various goods, especially those that are larger than the capacity of closed trucks. One of the main features of flatbed trucks is the unique design of their body, which provides optimal conditions for the transportation of wide loads. The absence of a roof and sides allows you to place loads on the truck platform that go beyond the dimensions of conventional trucks.
In addition, the advantage of flatbed trucks is the convenience of loading and unloading cargo. Due to the fact that forklifts can approach the body from any side, the platform design simplifies the execution of these operations. This is especially useful when working with heavy or bulky loads when fast and efficient loading/unloading is required.
Flatbed trucks are often used in various industries, including construction, logistics, agriculture, and many others. Their robust construction and the ability to transport large loads make them indispensable for performing various tasks that require reliability and flexibility in transportation.
How should you transport a load on a flatbed trailer?
The safe transportation of flatbed cargo is critically essential and requires compliance with safety protocols, standard processes, and the use of necessary items. Here are some tips to help you ensure reliable loading and safe driving of flatbed trucks.
1. Use suitable fastening equipment and carefully plan the placement of the cargo.
After safe and uniform loading and distribution of cargo, determine the required number of ties and their location.
When selecting fastening mechanisms, take into consideration the following guidelines:
- Ensure that the chains, chain attachments, and straps effectively secure the load during transit.
- When transporting delicate materials, such as plastic pipes or timber, opt for straps that offer gentle yet sturdy support to prevent any potential damage.
- Consider investing in corner and edge guards to enhance the durability of the fastening straps and prolong their lifespan.
- Evaluate the load requirements: Assess the weight, dimensions, and characteristics of the goods you intend to transport. This information will help determine the appropriate strength and size of the fasteners needed to hold the load in place securely.
- Choose suitable fastening materials: Consider the nature of the cargo and select fastening devices made from materials that are compatible with it. For example, certain types of straps or chains may be more suitable for securing heavy machinery, while softer materials may require more flexible and cushioned fasteners.
- Check load regulations and standards: Familiarize yourself with local regulations and industry standards regarding load securement. Ensure that the chosen fasteners meet or exceed the required specifications for your specific region.
- Regularly inspect and maintain the fasteners: Proper maintenance of fastening devices is crucial for their reliability and longevity. Regularly inspect the chains, chain devices, belts, and other components for any signs of wear, damage, or deterioration. Replace worn-out or damaged fasteners promptly to maintain optimal load security.
2. Double-check the technical specifications and distribute the load evenly
Avoid exceeding the maximum load capacity of your flatbed truck, and distribute the load evenly to prevent it from tipping over or deflecting. Follow the recommendations: know the legal height for a flatbed load in order to distribute it correctly and secure it; know how to tarp a flatbed load.
Know how to load a flatbed trailer
Create a plan
Prior to loading, it is crucial to develop a plan regarding how you will secure the freight on the flatbed trailer.
Ensure uniform distribution
It is crucial to evenly distribute the total weight or maximum load on the flatbed trailer. To ensure the safe and legal loading of your truck in accordance with established standards, consider the weight distribution and the overall mass of the vehicle, including the weight of the cargo and the vehicle itself. The remaining weight will be supported by the tow hitch. Consider the nominal load distribution and factor in the tires, wheels, and axles during the calculation.
Monitor the center of gravity
Keep the center of gravity as low as possible. Accomplish this by placing heavy items on the floor and above the axles. Always take into consideration the total mass of your vehicle. Aim to allocate approximately 60% of the load to the front half of the trailer and 40% to the rear half. Secure the load using tensioners, chains, straps, or other suitable equipment.
Properly fasten the cargo on the platform
To securely fasten the cargo, employ appropriate chains, straps, and tensioners suitable for the specific types of goods being loaded. Many companies utilize tarps to protect the cargo since flatbed trailers are open and are commonly used to transport a wide range of merchandise.
Inspect the cargo
Even if someone else is responsible for loading the trailer, the trucker holds the ultimate responsibility for its safety. If you are the driver, inspect the load after driving the first 25 miles to verify that the belts and chains are securely fastened.
By adhering to these suggestions and recommendations, you can ensure the safe transportation of flatbed truckloads while minimizing the risk of potential accidents