Transporting heavy machines, vehicles, and equipment is a difficult task at the best of times. Besides preparing in advance, you’ll also need to secure the loads and comply with the FMCSA’s tie-down regulations.
Here’s the catch, a simple strap cannot bind extremely heavy items, primarily because synthetic tie-downs are notorious for breaking from to wear and tear. Hence, you’ll need a heavy-duty chain and binder to secure your cargo.
This is where tie-down chains come in.
Are you interested to learn more? In this post, we’ll walk you through all the basics of tie-down chains, including what they are, their benefits and downsides, as well as how to buy these industrial chains from a trusted supplier.
What Are Tie-Down Chains?
Of all the industrial chain types, tie-down chains work best for transporting heavy vehicles and machinery. These industrial chains are crafted from forged steel and feature grab hooks or similar fittings on both ends.
Tie-down chains are available in a range of styles, sizes, and working load limits. Most reputable industrial chain suppliers like Elite Sales Inc. offer standard grade 70 transport industrial chains to fulfill multiple towing requirements. All our cargo-control hardware complies with the latest federal guidelines and regulations, so you can rest easy knowing your equipment is in good hands.
But tie-down chains aren’t enough on their own. You’ll need to use a chain/load binder to tighten the chain around the cargo and effectively secure it to your flatbed.
Generally speaking, there are two types of binders available out there.
1. Lever Binder
Also known as snap binders, lever tie-downs are easier to use and have fewer moving parts. They use leverage to tighten the chain, locking themselves after the lever rotates 180 degrees around the hinge. But in this regard, you must be careful not to let the handle recoil back at you.
2. Ratchet Binder
These consist of the gear, handle, pawl, and end fittings. Boasting a mechanical advantage of 50:1, ratchet binders have a slower, steadier loading/unloading process and inflict less strain on the operator compared to lever binders.
Given how the market is flooded with industrial chains, it’s easy to get confused about which tools are most suitable for your project. That’s where a seasoned industrial chain supplier like Elite Sales Inc can help. Having been in the business for years, we can assess your needs and point you toward the best tie-down chains in our inventory.
Applications of Tie-Down Chains
The primary purpose of tie-down chains and chain binders is to fasten cargo on heavy flatbed trucks, cargo ships, and planes. They are also used to:
- Secure agricultural equipment and industrial machines like bobcats and skid loaders.
- Keep cargo together in enclosed trailers.
- Haul and tow cargo as and when necessary.
Pros and Cons of Using Tie-Down Chains
There are plenty of reasons why tie-down chains are considered a standard in the freight forwarding industry. A few of them include:
- Chains are strong, durable, and more than capable of handling the weight of large equipment.
- They are resistant to wear and breakage, meaning you can use them for years to come.
- Using these industrial chain types isn’t difficult either. As long as you can operate a hook and ratchet, the entire system is simple enough.
That said, tie-down chains aren’t entirely without fault. In case you’re planning to use them for your next cargo haul, here are a few downsides you may want to keep in mind.
- Tie-down chains weigh more than straps, so you must account for the additional weight.
- Chains can damage finished surfaces, such as the paintwork on new cars.
- Because chains are made of metal, they can rust when stored improperly.
All things considered, it’s up to you to decide whether tie-down industrial chains are the best fit for your transportation job. And, you can always talk to our industrial chain suppliers and experts to make an informed choice.
Tie-Down Chains Best Practices
While using tie-down chains is relatively easy, you must remember a few best practices to ensure safety and compliance. Let’s look at what they are.
- The FMCSA requires vehicles with wheels or tracks weighing 10,000+ lbs. to be tied down on all four corners at a minimum. The weight of the vehicle should also call for four anchor tie-downs and four binders.
- The length of the load also plays a role in determining how many tie-downs you will need. If the load measures 5’ or less, you can use one tie-down. But loads 5’ to 10’ in length will require two tie-downs.
- The tied-down load must not exceed the combined working load limit of all the industrial chains used.
- Be sure to take note of the load, vehicle anchor points, and tie-down configuration/angles.
- Loose and damaged chains must always be inspected and removed as necessary.
- You must use a gauge to monitor the chain links, especially for the load-bearing portions.
Buy High-Quality Tie-Down Chains from a Trusted Industrial Chain Supplier!
You can’t talk about securing large-scale loads without bringing tie-down chains and chain binders into the conversation. Hopefully, this post has given you some much-needed insight into these industrial chain types and their uses. With this information, you should have no trouble securing quality tie-down chains for your next securement job.
At Elite Sales Inc., we have earned a reputation as a leading tie-down and industrial chain supplier in Miami, Florida. Our incredible inventory, fast shipping, expertise, and best-in-class customer support sets us apart. Contact our team to learn more about our supplies and what we can do for you!