What are Lashing Bands?
Lashing bands are integral to the transportation and shipping industry, providing much-needed stability and security for cargo during transit. Different types of lashing bands are employed depending on the nature of the cargo, its weight, and the mode of transportation.
The appropriate method and material hinges on several factors, including cargo nature, environmental challenges, transportation mode, and specific safety prerequisites.
Steel Lashing Bands: Steel bands, predominantly made from high-tensile steel, stand out for their unparalleled strength and resilience. They are a frequent choice when transporting heavy cargo, especially across oceans where the prevention of cargo shift is paramount.
Their wear and tear resistance and excellent load retention capabilities make them ideal for situations that demand heightened security. However, it’s essential to note that these bands might be susceptible to corrosion without proper coating or treatment and are relatively heavier than their counterparts.
Polyester Lashing bands: Constructed from woven polyester fibres, these bands offer a harmonious blend of strength and flexibility. They are ideal for securing palletized goods, boxes, and crates, especially during road and rail transport.
One of their distinguishing features is their resistance to UV radiation and inclement weather conditions. Furthermore, being lightweight, they pose minimal risk of causing damage to the surface of goods. Despite their versatility, their tensile strength might not match steel’s, making them less suitable for extremely hefty or oversized cargo.
Composite Straps: The composite method employs a mix of materials, often combining polyester fibres with polymer coatings. These bands cater to various applications, from light cargo to medium-heavy loads. Their chief advantage lies in striking a balance: they offer both strength and adaptability.
This dual nature makes them resistant to environmental challenges and ensures they can be tailored to cater to distinct cargo specifications. However, the downside often revolves around cost—being more expensive than their single-material counterparts—and not quite reaching the extreme strength of steel variants.
Corded and Woven Methods: Braiding or interlacing multiple strands, usually of polyester or similar synthetic materials, results in corded or woven straps. These are especially suited for lighter cargo, bales, and pallets. They excel in shock absorption, adapting seamlessly to the cargo’s contour, and their user-friendly nature makes them a preferred choice for many. However, their tensile strength might not be apt for heavier or bulkier loads that require significant tension.
Material Properties and Considerations for Cargo Securing
When choosing the appropriate materials for securing cargo, it’s vital to understand the inherent properties of these materials and the external factors that may influence their performance. When selecting materials for cargo securing, understanding and evaluating these properties about the cargo’s nature, transport mode, and environmental exposure is essential. The right material ensures the cargo’s safety and optimises the transport process’s efficiency and reliability.
Strength and Tensile Properties: The primary role of any cargo-securing material is to hold the cargo firmly in place, preventing unwanted shifts during transportation. Hence, the material’s strength and tensile properties are paramount.
Tensile strength refers to the maximum amount of tensile (pulling) stress a material can withstand without breaking. Materials with higher tensile strength, such as high-tensile steel, can secure heavier loads without the risk of snapping or failing. Evaluating a material’s strength and tensile properties ensures that it can endure the rigorous demands of cargo transport, especially under dynamic conditions.
Resistance to Environmental Factors: Cargo often traverses through varied environments, exposing securing materials to various external factors. These materials must resist elements like moisture, which can lead to corrosion, especially in metal-based bands.
Similarly, UV resistance becomes crucial for materials like polyester bands, which might be exposed to prolonged sunlight, especially in open transport modes like shipping or flatbed trucking. A material’s ability to resist environmental factors not only prolongs its life but also ensures the consistent safety of the cargo throughout the journey.
Elasticity and Elongation Considerations: Elasticity refers to a material’s ability to return to its original shape after being stretched or deformed. Conversely, elongation indicates how much a material can be stretched from its original length before breaking. These properties are vital, especially when securing cargo that may settle or shift slightly during transport.
For instance, corded or woven straps made from synthetic materials often exhibit a degree of elasticity, allowing them to adapt to the cargo’s contours and movements. However, it is crucial to ensure that the material’s elasticity doesn’t compromise its overall strength. An optimal balance between elasticity and strength ensures the cargo remains secure while accommodating minor shifts or settlements.
Techniques and Tools for Application
Securing cargo effectively requires the right materials, techniques, and tools to ensure optimal safety. The application process is pivotal in determining the overall stability of the transported goods. Cargo securing is a balance between using the right tools, applying effective techniques, and regularly inspecting the setup. Proper application ensures the cargo’s safety and the transport process’s overall efficiency.
Manual Tensioning vs. Automatic Tensioning:
- Manual Tensioning: As the name suggests, this involves manually applying tension to the securing material, typically using hand tools. It offers a hands-on approach, allowing the operator to feel the tension and adjust accordingly. Manual tensioning tools, such as ratchet tie-downs or buckle devices, are widely used for their simplicity and cost-effectiveness.
- Automatic Tensioning: This method employs motorized or pneumatic tools that automatically apply tension to the securing material. Automatic tensioners ensure consistent tension across all securing points, reducing the risk of human error. They are particularly beneficial for larger operations where uniformity and speed are crucial. However, they might be more expensive than manual tools and require regular maintenance.
Lashing Tools and Devices:
- Ratchet Straps: These versatile tools allow easy tensioning and release and are widely used for loads of various sizes.
- Winch Bars and Winches: Primarily used for heavy-duty applications, they can exert significant tension, especially for larger and heavier cargo.
- Corner Protectors: These aren’t tensioning tools per se but play a vital role in preventing the securing material from cutting into the cargo and vice versa.
- Tensioning Bars: Often used with steel bands, they help achieve the desired tension manually.
- Pneumatic Tools: Designed for automatic tensioning, they use compressed air to ensure consistent and optimal tension.