Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What Tarp System Is Best For My Application?

Roll Tarp on Roll-Off Can

Selecting the proper "Tarping System" for your Dump Truck, Dump Trailer or Roll-Off Can tarping application is an important decision.  You desire the best load containment but also want ease of operation at an affordable price.  So how do you decide?  Here are a few questions that a Tarpologist, such as myself will use to help you determine the best Covering System for your needs.

Flip Tarp or Arm Tarp on Dump Truck

1. What type of truck, trailer or container are you trying to cover?
2. Do you require some amount of waterproofing?
3. What do you haul?
4. How often do you load/unload?
5. Dimensions of the truck, trailer or container
     a.  Overall Length
     b.  Outside to Outside Width
     c.  Inside to Inside Width
     e.  Outside to Outside Width (cab shield if applicable)
     f.  Inside to Inside Width (cab shield if applicable)
     g.  Note: other dimensions may be needed

With these questions answered, determining which system will best suit your tarping needs will be a much easier task. 

HY-Tower on Roll-Off Truck

Generally speaking your tarp system needs will fall into one of four common Tarp System design categories (1) Flip Tarp or Arm Tarps, (2) Cable Tarp or Accordion Tarps, (3) Pull Tarps and (4) Roll-Tarps.  Once a Tarp System "style" is selected you can then determine the type of Tarp (the material) you may want to use (please see my blog on Tarp Materials).  Finally you will need to decide if the system will be Manual, Electric, Hydraulic or Semi-Automatic.  At this point you should have narrowed down your selection to one or two tarp systems and although a few more questions may need to be answered...especially how much to ultimately spend...you should be well on your way to having a great tarp system that fits your exact tarping needs!  Feel free to give me a call at 757-615-4379 for assistance in making your tarp system purchase an easy and affordable experience.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Tarp Materials: What is the best material for my application?

One of the most common questions I am asked by my customers is "what tarp material is best for my truck".  What they really mean is what material is best for my application.  Generally speaking there are three tarp materials that are used in nearly all truck tarping applications.  (1) Mesh, (2) Vinyl and (3) RFL or Hot Top.  All three materials (and please note that each material has a variety of styles, colors, strengths and weaves) are Heavy Duty and designed to handle the rigors of truck tarping applications.

Lets start with Mesh. Heavy Duty Black Mesh (as pictured here) is easily the most common material used in
Heavy Duty Black Mesh
the truck tarping industry encompassing 60% (by my estimation) or more of all truck tarp applications.  Although a multitude of mesh materials are used across the industry under a variety of "trade" names such as;  Multi-Mesh, Mighty Mesh and Gator Mesh, just to name a few...Heavy Duty Black mesh remains the king.  Used on Dump Trucks, Dump Trailers, Roll-Off Truck, Side Dumps, Bottom Dumps and Transfer Trailers, Heavy Duty Black Mesh covers sand, gravel, trash, landscape and construction debris with ease and longevity.  Pros and Cons of Mesh;  Pros: lightweight, breatheability, multiple applications, durable, color variety.  Cons: not water tight, tends to "catch" on debris such as shrubs or nails, potential dryrot in hot sunny areas over time.
18 oz Blue Vinyl
Vinyl material is most common in the 18oz version.  This means the material weighs approx. 18oz/square yard.  Other weights of Vinyl used include 14oz and 22oz.  18oz Vinyl, as it is commonly referred, is used for truck tarping applications where the material being covered needs to remain dry or hot (such as asphalt).  Vinyl is used on virtually every style of Dump Truck and Dump Trailer.  Pros and Cons of 18oz Vinyl;  Pros: waterproof, heavy duty, large variety of colors.  Cons: beomes stiff in cold weather, potential for dryrot in hot sunny areas over time.

Finally, we come to RFL and Hot Top material.  This material is most commonly used for hot asphalt applications as the material is chemically treated and can handle the extreme temperatures of hot asphalt...common grades of RFL and Hot Top are rated between 375 and 425 degrees.  These materials are tightly woven and have a "canvas" appearance.  They are very, very durable and I often recommend them for construction debris applications.  Unlike Mesh and Vinyl, RFL and Hot Top are usually Black or Tan in color. Pros and Cons; Pros: high heat resistance, very durable, stays more flexable than vinyl, water resistant.  Cons: limited color selection.

All of the tarp materials discussed above can be manufactured into virtually any shape or design.  For example dump trucks that regularly haul asphalt will utilze an RFL tarp with "flaps".  Flaps are extensions on each side of the tarp that can be pulled over the sides of the dump body and secured with rubber straps to create a semi-waterproof enclosure that will hold the heat of the asphalt in the truck.

Hopefully this brief overview has provided some insight to help you determine what tarp material is best for your truck tarp application.  If you would like more information on these and other tarping materials please contact me directly at 757-615-4379