Pallets Vs Skids: What’s the Difference?

Pallets Vs Skids │ Machine TransportPeople often treat the terms “pallet” and “skid” interchangeably. The two differ in a significant way. We’ll explain the difference between pallets and skids and their respective applications. Knowing the difference will enable you to optimize efficiency when transporting machinery.

What Is a Pallet?

Pallets have a deck at the bottom, making them more stable than a skid. The standard wooden pallet has a weight capacity of about 2,200 pounds. The addition of a bottom deck makes pallets the better choice for heavier machine tools, such as sawmills, planers, and grinding machines.

The bottom deck, though, also creates more friction, which makes the pallet harder to drag. This can be problematic as you move pallets around tight spaces in an LTL truck already near its storage capacity. Transportation may require a forklift.

What Is a Skid?

A skid is essentially a pallet minus the bottom wood deck. For this reason, some people refer to a skid as a poor man’s pallet. While less stable than a pallet, a skid provides more mobility. You can also easily stack and store skids not in use. Many warehouses use skids as a permanent foundation for heavy machinery. Continue Reading →

Zone-Based Pricing: How It Works

zone-based pricing, zone-based shipping rateContrary to mainstream belief, carriers and linehaul shippers don’t just charge according to freight weight, freight size, and travel distance. Several LTL shippers, in particular, are transitioning to a zone-based pricing model. We’ll explain how this affects the going rates.

How Zone-Based Pricing Works

Yes, all the aforementioned factors—freight weight, size, and travel distance—are part of the pricing formula. Zone-based pricing, though, may be the little-known fourth factor depending on the travel route. Basically, if the carrier has to travel through challenging terrain or to remote locations, then the shipment may incur additional fees.

Essentially, North America (including Mexico and Canada) is divided into zones. The industry rates each zone according to terrain complexity. Is the terrain flat, mountainous, hilly, icy, etc.? If the journey requires difficult navigation, this will factor into the fee. Continue Reading →

How to Organize a Laydown Yard

laydown yard safetyDoes your work area include a laydown yard? You probably have one but just don’t call it by that name.  A laydown yard is simply an outdoor space within a warehouse site where you store material and equipment. As you can imagine, such areas can be hazardous, hence the importance of organization.

Common Hazards in a Laydown Yard

Slip and trip hazards are commonplace if you fail to organize the area. Staffers tend to have a habit of throwing items around which creates fall and trip hazards. The area may also have struck-by hazards due to navigating equipment and machinery through tight spaces. Finally, laydown yards may have biological hazards in the form of pests, including insects, snakes, raccoons, etc. You should address any infestations—such as a hornet’s nest or an opossum brood—in a timely way.

Organization Is Key

First, consider the location of the laydown yard. Be sure you have ample space between the yard and the staging area for the trailer when rigging equipment. The yard and staging areas for machine transportation should be completely separate. Continue Reading →

Synthetic Sling Accidents on the Rise, According to Poll

synthetic sling accidents, rigging accidentsRigging accidents pose a serious risk and can lead to severe injuries or even death. Specifically, rigging accidents most often occur while crew members are working with a sling. Synthetic sling accidents are especially common in the heavy machine transport industry.

What the Polls Show

In a poll from Industrial Training International, respondents indicated that synthetic sling mishaps are especially prevalent. The compiled data showed that 81% of rigging accidents occur while working with a synthetic sling. That’s far more than the combined instances of accidents involving web slings, chains, and round slings.

The majority of the accidents resulted in cuts and abrasions. Most respondents also indicated that proper sling protection during a lift could have prevented the accident.

Are Synthetic Slings Inherently More Dangerous?

Crew members loading machinery on a trailer do not need to fear when working with synthetic slings. Injury risks are not inherently higher or lower with their use. The higher injury rate is due to lack of competency, knowledge, and experience. If you’re holding a sling on your right hand, for example, you should have sling protection in your left hand. Continue Reading →

Lift Director Duties During Crane Operation

Truck transport container on the road to the port.

Safety is paramount, which is why a heavy machine operator needs a second set of eyes. This applies whether operating a crane, forklift, or any machinery that can cause serious bodily injury. This is where the a lift director’s duties enter the equation when prepping equipment for LTL or dedicated truck transportation.

Lift Director’s Role

A lift director is on hand not only as a vital component of crew safety but also as an OSHA requirement. OSHA outlines this exact mandate under provision 1926.1432, which covers standard operating procedures for cranes and derrick lifts.

The provision states that a qualified lift director must be present during the use of a crane. The assigned director must be identified beforehand and be a direct member of the construction or transport operation.

All safety liabilities lie on the lift director, who shares greater responsibilities than the supervisor. However, the supervisor may also assume the role of the lift director. Continue Reading →

Carriers Now Required to Comply with Electronic Logging Device Mandate

electronic logging device, ELDLawmakers established a new mandate that went into effect December 18, 2017. The new federal law requires machine transport carriers to fit their trucks with electronic logging devices (ELD). Freight companies, whether operating as an LTL or truckload linehaul service, must abide by this new mandate.

What Is an Electronic Logging Device?

Federal law requires an ELD on each carrier truck. The device syncs with the truck’s engine and records the total time and distance traveled. Many freight companies have embraced the new ELD rules, though several feel the implementation is bad for business.

ELDs make it more difficult for drivers to falsify their records. Some carriers pay their employees by the mile. Drivers for these carriers record their total driving hours and mileage on paper logs. ELDs eliminate this age-old practice, which is prone to fraud, especially when drivers are on the road beyond the 14-hour limit. Continue Reading →

Freight Insurance Vs. Freight Liability: What’s the Difference?

freight insuranceWhen you ship out freight, you would be wise to insure the cargo in the event it incurs damage in transit. You ask: “Don’t carriers cover you automatically?” Well, yes and no. We’ll discuss freight insurance and freight liability and how they differ.

Freight Insurance and Freight Liability Explained

Insurance and liability coverage are similar but not exactly the same. Federal law requires all truck transports to have basic liability coverage. Depending on your freight and personal assessment, this may or may not be adequate.

Basic liability coverage differs from carrier to carrier. It covers a specific amount of damage, usually calculated by a dollar amount for every pound of freight. The maximum coverage amount may be less than the monetary worth of the freight. Continue Reading →

Industrial Rigging Safety Tips for Machine Tool Transportation

industrial rigging safetySome companies hire third-party riggers to prep their machine tools for dedicated truck or trailer transportation. Others have their own crew perform this labor-intensive task. If you rely on your own internal team, then their safety is absolutely critical. We’ll cover essential industrial rigging safety tips for you to pass down to your rigging team.

Safety Tips for Industrial Rigging

Rigging Equipment Precautions

1. Know the capacity load of the crane or rigging gear. Excessive overload can damage the crane, causing it to collapse.

2. Periodically inspect the rigging gear. Inspect for bent or sprung hooks, broken strands, frayed slings, and overstretched links.

3. Replace all defective gear, even if they only appear minimally worn.

4. Only assign rigging duties to trained personnel. Never assign an untrained staff member simply because you’re one person short. Continue Reading →

Manufacturing Industry Hacking is on the Rise

manufacturing industry hackingCyber-threats are a fact of life in the modern digital era. Significant targets include the banking, retail, and healthcare industries. While attacks on the manufacturing sector aren’t as commonplace, the industry isn’t safe by any means. In fact, manufacturing industry hacking incidents are on the rise.

More Hackers Targeting Manufacturing Companies

Obviously, Machine Transport isn’t in the cybersecurity business, but we have coordinated with many manufacturers over the years. Many have reported increased IT measures in the wake of concerns over ransomware and other malware attacks. Even the linehaul shipper and carriers we work with are increasing IT security.

Often, manufacturers and suppliers aren’t a hacker’s ultimate target. Rather, cyber-criminals use the industry as a point of entry to access the more lucrative targets. In this case, they exploit manufacturers to gain entry to retailers that receive their inventory from the suppliers. Continue Reading →

Freight Shipping Seasons—When Is Freight Transportation at Its Peak?

freight shipping seasonWith the holiday season here, you may think that this is the busiest time of year for the freight industry. This actually isn’t so. We’ll break down the freight shipping seasons by industry. Knowing when shipping is at its peak will help you plan shipments accordingly.

Shipping Breakdown by Season

Winter: January through March

This is the slowest freight shipping season of the year. We like to think of this as a hangover for the industry. Carriers were extremely busy during the holiday season. With that out of the way, the trucking sector sees a drastic decline in shipment placements.

For the customer, this is also when carriers and linehaul shippers have flexible availability dates. Rates are also lowest during this time.

Spring/Early Summer: April through July

This is when businesses begin picking back up. This is also harvest season for many types of produce, so agricultural shipment is high. Continue Reading →