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Ratchet Straps are an easy, safe and cost-effective way of securing loads on the back of trucks, trailers, vans and any other commercial vehicles carrying goods. Here are a few things to help you utilise them safely and to understand why ratchet straps are so widely used.

They help to make roads safer

Each year there are tens of thousands of road accidents involving debris or spillages, often coming from the trailers of trucks. In order to prevent items from tipping or falling off of trailers, ratchet straps are used to secure heavy loads and keep them safe. 
 
Ratchet straps are key to keeping roads safe for other traffic due to their ability to secure extremely large weights. Without them, trucks would be far less safe, and goods would have to be transported in far smaller quantities.
 

What material is used for Ratchet Straps?
 

Ratchet straps are made of strong polyester webbing material. Due to its properties it is effective in securing heavy loads and remaining extremely durable.

Polyester webbing has very little stretch, allowing it to keep items fastened securely with minimal movement. As well as this, the material is resistant to the majority of chemicals and UV light damage – perfect for remaining strong in harsh working environments. The final property that makes polyester webbing ideal is its resistance to water. With very little water absorption, it is effective at preventing mildew, mold and rot build ups, as well as stopping the straps from shrinking over time.
 

What is the Lashing Capacity (LC)?
 

The lashing capacity of a ratchet strap refers to the maximum force that it can withstand without tearing or becoming damaged. This is measured in deka-Newtons (daN) and will be shown on the label of your ratchet strap. 

One important thing to remember about the LC of a strap is that it’s not directly the amount of weight that the strap can hold. For example, if your strap has a lashing capacity of 2500 daN, that doesn’t mean it can secure a maximum load of 2500kgs. In order to calculate the weight of the max load that your ratchet straps can secure, you should double the LC – so a 2500 daN strap is able to secure a 5000kg load.
 

What is the Standard Tension Force (STF)?
 

The standard tension force is another measurement of the “strength” of your ratchet straps, but it refers to the amount of tension or force that is created by your strap when it is pulled tight. The STF can also be found on the label of your ratchet strap and will help you determine how many you will need for certain loads.

A strap with an STF of 5000 daN will put 5000kgs of force on top of what it has been tightened over. 
 

What is the elongation of a ratchet strap?
 

The elongation of a ratchet strap is the maximum amount that it can stretch when fully tightened. By law, the maximum elongation that a strap is allowed to have is 7% of its total length. Most straps will have one of around 4%, but you must always make sure it is 7% or under. The max elongation percentage can be found on the label of your strap.
 

What is the Tie down angle and its effect?

 
One of the most overlooked aspects when using ratchet straps is the angle at which they are tied down to the truck. Ideally, the angle of the strap against the flat bed of the trailer should be no less than 90 degrees. Anything less than this will reduce the effectiveness of the strap and will reduce the downward force that would be exerted by the strap.

For example, if your strap is tied at a 45-degree angle instead of 90, the downward force is only around 70% of what the straps maximum is. Therefore, if the strap’s STF was 5000 daN, but it was tied down at a 45-degree angle, then it would only exert 3500kg of force instead of 5000kg.
 
 
As you can see, there are many aspects to ratchet straps that you may not think about at first. Whether it is measurements to show how safe they are, and being able to understand these, or simply the reason why they are used so commonly, there are many factors that could be overlooked. Hopefully this short guide has helped you to understand the many aspects of ratchet straps and why they are so useful, when used correctly.

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