What is Ratchet Tie Down Assemblies and How to Load One?
This article is a resource intended to provide customers with information on ratchet tie-down assemblies, especially on how to assemble ratchet tie-down straps. This will teach readers how to use a tie-down assembly as well as various hardware accessories that can be added on. It ends with an emphasis on purchasing top-quality equipment and invites readers to purchase through Elite Sales.
Some of the most common questions we get are: what is a ratchet tie-down strap assembly and how to assemble ratchet tie-downs? Let us explain.
Ratchet tie-down assemblies are versatile pieces of equipment primarily used to secure items. There are tons of uses for ratchet straps, such as:
- Cargo securement on truck beds
- Moving trucks
- Tie-downs for ATVs, motorcycles, or bikes
- Car securement on tow trucks
- Vehicle roof rack tie-downs for boats, bikes, and other cargo
You can often find ratchet tie-down strap assembly in most houses – but larger, stronger assemblies are used for ultra-heavy cargo loads in industrial applications.
There are some key things to know in order to use tie-down hardware correctly for large loads or industrial purposes. Failing to install it correctly or using the wrong type of ratchet tie down strap assembly can lead to disaster. If ratchet assembly is tied down incorrectly, not secured properly, or is used for too high of a weight load limit, it will likely snap or break.
Sadly, this is the leading cause of many occupational injuries and fatalities. According to OSHA, nearly 10% of all fatal injuries were caused by falling objects that were improperly secured. Therefore, getting ratchet tie down strap assembly right is crucial.
If you’re wondering how to assemble ratchet tie-down straps, here are some tips from a genuine tie-down hardware supplier to pay attention to the next time you use them.
1. Tie Down Hardware
A ratchet strap assembly is typically made from polyester webbing or sometimes nylon. These winch straps come in various widths and lengths to accommodate different load sizes and weights. Often, they are between 2-4” wide and up to 30’ in length.
You can also purchase tie-down webbing for straps that are up to 300’ long. These are generally used for large cargo or equipment transportation purposes.
Let’s now try to understand how to assemble ratchet tie-downs properly. Tie-down assembly straps have various attachment points at the end, including flat hooks, J hooks, or chain hooks. Flat hooks can attach to flat anchor points, such as the underside of a trailer. J hooks can be used with D-rings or O-rings, which are often used inside truck beds. Chain hooks are designed to increase the strap’s weight load limit and add extra strength at the connection point.
The strap runs through a tie-down buckle to create tension. The combination of the durable material and the tension from the buckle creates an extremely strong tie-down a lightweight piece of equipment.
2. Ratchet Strap Accessories
Sometimes ratchet tie-down assemblies require additional accessories for specific applications. These can be added to the tie-down hardware to provide added strength or length.
For instance, some types of industrial chains such as binder and transport chains can be connected to the J hooks of the ratchet straps. This may be used to tie down a very heavy load, such as the wheels of large construction equipment.
Ratchet strap manufacturing webs or cargo nets can also be used instead of flat straps to secure larger loads. These are commonly attached to either side of a truck.
Cargo unions may also be used alongside tie-down assemblies for cargo control. This includes a ratchet load binder, which helps to increase the tension with chains used for tie-downs. This piece of equipment is extremely strong, with a working load limit of up to 13,000 lbs.
Lever load binders are also used for cargo securement. They are attached on either side to the straps or chains. The lever in the middle increases the tension more efficiently and better than ratchet buckles can.
3. How to Load a Ratchet Tie Down Assembly
Once you’ve understood how to assemble ratchet tie-downs, you’ll need to know how to load ratchet tie-down assemblies the right way.
The first is to determine the working load limit of the tie-down. The working load limit for all tie-down assemblies is equal to one-third of its breaking strength. This means that the load it is securing should not exceed one-third of the breaking strength limit of the entire assembly. This ensures that the tie-downs will not snap if added tension or friction is added suddenly.
This can happen often with tie-down assemblies used on moving vehicles. If the truck brakes suddenly, the load will shift due to the force, thus putting additional tension on the tie downs. The remaining two-thirds of the breaking strength ensures that these additional factors will not break the assembly.
Once the straps or chains have been wrapped around the load, they must be threaded into the ratchet buckle. One end goes beneath the round piece called the mandrel. It is then doubled back over so that it comes out on the same side.
Then, pull on the ratchet buckle several times to crank the strap through more. This is what creates the tension. Once you cannot crank the strap any further, lock the buckle into place. You can release the tension by opening the buckle and pulling the straps back through until it loosens.
4. How to Use Ratchet Straps Correctly
The longevity of your ratchet straps and other equipment depends greatly on how they are used. Storing them improperly can lead to damage. To ensure effectiveness and a long working life, make sure to avoid the following when storing ratchet straps
You must store the straps and buckle correctly to extend the life of ratchet tie-down assemblies. Be sure that the buckle is dried off if it comes into contact with water, as this could cause rusting.
Further, exposure to moisture can cause your ratchet straps to develop mold and mildew issues. Mold, in particular, can weaken the webbing, reducing their strength and damaging the polyester, especially in heavy-duty straps.
This usually happens when the ratchet straps are stored in the back of trucks. If they get wet in the rain or are used in the wet conditions, allow them to dry completely before putting them away.
b. Direct sunlight
It is best to store ratchet straps away from direct sunlight and heat. Store them in a dark and dry place to avoid exposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. These rays can cause the color of the straps to fade, which may indicate severe damage. Roll each strap up separately and keep it in a dry storage space out of direct sunlight. You can add a zip tie or rubber band to keep the strap roll in place.
Ensure that the straps don’t rub against any sharp edges or other objects when in use. This can cause friction, compromising the strength of the straps. In case you notice any burns or ruptures on the straps, place them out of service immediately.
5. How to Check for Damage
To ensure the safety of human life and property, it is crucial to inspect ratchet straps regularly for signs of damage. Even minor damage can drastically reduce the strap’s capacity, and heighten the chances of failure and mishaps during use.
You should inspect the entire ratchet strap assembly before each use. Discard it from service if you notice any of the following:
- The identification tag is missing or illegible
- Broken or worn stitches in the load-bearing splices
- Acid or alkali burns
- Cuts, holes, tears, or embedded materials
- Formation of knots, melting, charring, or weld splatters in the webbing
- Worn out or crushed webbing
- Fading from exposure to UV rays
- Corrosion, rusting or other damage to buckles or end fittings
- Any condition that can compromise the strength of the ratchet strap
We hope all of this information helps you understand how to assemble ratchet tie-downs and use them safely.
Ratchet tie-down assemblies are a very simple yet incredibly important hardware accessory. You should only use top-quality pieces purchased from a reputable tie-down hardware supplier to ensure that the assembly is durable. Cheaper ratchet straps will snap or wear down quite easily, and bad buckles can break after too many uses!
If you are looking to buy top-grade tie-down assemblies or hardware accessories, look no further than Elite Sales. We carry a wide range of fantastic industrial hardware equipment designed for a wide range of applications.
Our knowledgeable team is available to answer any questions about our products. We are here to help you find the equipment you need to get any job done.