For a vast range of industries and sectors, ratchet straps (also known as ratchet tie-down traps) are an essential piece of commercial lifting equipment. Holding down materials with safety and security, this piece of lifting gear is used widely in construction and transportation. When sourced from a reliable commercial lifting gear supplier, ratchet straps are available in multiple lengths to best suit your commercial lifting equipment requirements.
This blog will discuss everything you need to know about ratchet tie-down straps, from how they work to when they might be useful. Read on to find out more.
What Are Ratchet Straps?
Ratchet straps, or ratchet tie-down straps, are high-strength straps that have a ratchet at one end and a hook on the other. This lifting equipment is adjustable, robust, and available in different lengths, making them ideal for securing loads and enabling materials to be transported safely.
They work by having the ratcheting mechanism apply tension to the strap, which then holds the transported materials securely in place.
Made up of a durable 100% high-strength polyester material, ratchet straps don’t absorb water, making them resistant to mould and shrinkage. With the ratchet tie-down straps’ two-part lashing, the strength and durability of the lifting gear are also increased.
How Long Have Ratchet Straps Been Used?
The ratchet mechanism used in ratchet tie-down straps is based on a design that dates all the way back to the 1st century B.C. In Ancient Rome, the sails on their ships were held down and fastened with a ratcheting device, anticipating its widespread use in commercial lifting and transportation.
However, ratchet straps as we know them today first arose in the nineteenth century. During an era of industrial advance, the development of steam engines meant that a higher amount of goods were transported more frequently. Matthias Baldwin, a Philadelphia locomotive manufacturer patented the ratchet strap in 1853, and his design has interlocking gears which allowed the user to adjust the strap's tension via a handle.
Since then, as a safer alternative to traditional rope or bungee cords due to being less likely to come loose or slip, they have become popular and widespread for a range of applications.
The Components Of A Ratchet Strap:
The fixed part of a ratchet strap is the buckle, which has a short piece of the polyester strap and a hook of some sort, whether that be a J-hook, D-ring, or claw hook
The adjustable component of a ratchet strap is the material that runs through the buckle. The material is available in multiple lengths to specifically help to fit the materials you’re attempting to tie down. It is important to have a strap that isn’t too narrow, as this can compress a load or leave a groove.
How To Use A Ratchet Strap:
If you want to use this invaluable piece of commercial lifting equipment, the first step is to release the ratchet’s buckle via the release catch. Pull the release catch and flip the ratchet’s buckle fully open, ready for the strap.
Then, you thread the strap through the slot at the bottom of the ratchet’s buckle. This is known as the “mandrel” and holds the length of the strap. From underneath the ratchet buckle, push the strap up through the mandrel. The now-threaded strap should lay straight, overlapping with the second strap on the other side of the ratchet.
Place the cargo in the location where you want it to be secured and overlay the ratchet strap over it. If you want to hold multiple objects together and keep them in place, two ratchet straps will be needed. One ratchet strap will secure the objects together and the other ratchet strap will wrap around both, keeping them in place.
You can then tighten the strap by cranking or “ratcheting” the buckle. You should crank the ratchet until it feels taut and secure around the cargo, checking for give to ensure there is no slack material.
It’s important to not over-tighten the ratchet strap, as too much pressure could damage both the cargo and strap. Being able to place a finger between the ratchet strap and the object is a good rule of thumb to ensure there is no over-tightening.
When the strap is taut but not over-tight, you can then lock the ratchet in place for a strong hold. Close the ratchet until you hear it properly latch, securing the cargo. If you don’t hear a click, tug on the strap/buckle to double-check that it is secure.
When you want to release the cargo and undo the ratchet strap, you use the release tab. This should be located on the top of the ratchet and essentially unlocks the device.
Some Important Considerations:
Although a durable piece of commercial lifting gear, it is a good idea to always check your ratchet straps for damage. Mould, UV rays, or other tears can damage a ratchet strap and risk damage to the cargo you’re attempting to carry.
It is important to store all lifting equipment with care, and ratchet straps are no exception. After use, roll up your ratchet straps carefully and separately with rubber bands and zip ties keeping them rolled in place. This means that there will be no need to untangle the straps when you’re next using them, saving you time and increasing the efficiency of your workflow.
In addition, to ensure undamaged ratchet straps, store them away from direct sunlight and moisture. This can be achieved by placing them in a duffel bag or toolbox. Ratchet straps are designed with reusability in mind and can last for many years with proper maintenance.
How Much Weight Can A Ratchet Strap Hold?
Before using a ratchet strap, it is important to know the weight of the cargo you’ll be securing. Ratchet straps have an in-built breaking point, depending on their strength.
The breaking point strength is the weight at which any load-bearing part of the ratchet strap fails. This is different to the working load limit, which denotes the maximum load a strap can hold. This shouldn’t exceed one-third of the overall breaking point.
This ratchet strap, for example, is a high-strength piece of lifting gear and has a breaking point of 5000kg. So, its working load capacity is recommended to be around the 1666kg mark.
What Industries Are Ratchet Straps Useful In?
Ratchet straps are commonly used to secure building materials, such as lumber, pipes, and scaffolding, during transportation to and from construction sites. They can also be used to secure heavy machinery or equipment to trailers or trucks.
Hay bales and farm equipment can be notoriously difficult - even dangerous - to transport. But with ratchet straps, they can be secured with ease.
If you’re looking to transport a vehicle safely, ratchet straps can be used to comprehensively tie it down. If the vehicle is a special model and required specialised transportation requirements, ratchet tie-down straps can ensure its safety.
Shipping and logistics
Used frequently to secure cargo on ships, planes, and trains during transportation, ratchet straps can also be used in warehouses to secure pallets or other large items during storage.
Where Can I Buy Ratchet Tie-Down Straps?
At Lifting & Safety Gear Ltd, we stock high-quality ratchet straps in an array of lengths between 4m and 10m, making them suitable for a variety of applications. Conforming to EN 12195-2 standards, our ratchet straps are made with 100% high-strength polyester material and feature robust claw hook terminations. With a capacity of 5000kg, the competitively-priced ratchet straps available at Lifting & Safety Gear Ltd are essential for anyone needing to transport goods safely and with ease.
From ratchet straps and connectors to lifting points and polyester slings, Lifting & Safety Gear Ltd is the place to find high-quality commercial lifting gear and other lifting equipment. Visit our online store to see our selection of lifting gear and other products. Whether for commercial lifting or domestic use, we can deliver our stock anywhere in the UK and within a timeframe of 24 hours when possible.
Based in Barry, for more than 90 years Lifting & Safety Gear Ltd has curated a well-established reputation for providing the best lifting gear at a good price. Our equipment is top-quality and approved by the relevant Government body, ensuring that your lifting equipment needs are safely fulfilled.