Cargo shipping is the backbone of the global economy. It is also one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. According to the latest report, the global cargo shipping market size was valued at $2.2 trillion in 2021 and is expected to reach $4.2 trillion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 7% from 2022 to 2031.

Safe transport of goods depends on various types of cargo control hardware. They include different tie-downs, chains, hooks, and chain binders. The two most commonly used chain binders include ratchet load unions and lever load joints. Many freight companies use them to tie down cargo getting transported by air, sea, or road.

If you want to transport your cargo safely, you will need these two at some point. However, ratchet load unions and lever load joints are not the same. Let’s learn how these two work, where you can use them, and how they differ.

Understanding Ratchet Load Unions

Ratchet load unions, also called ratchet load binders, are simple machines designed to hold cargo together. Each device comes with two hooks on each and a handle. The handle also serves as a lever. It also has a screw head. This simple design increases the manual force you can apply to the tie-down assembly. This strength is one of the reasons why ratchet load unions are so popular.

1. How Does It Work

As mentioned earlier, the mechanism is quite simple. With the lever and screw working together, you have to apply considerably less force to the tie-down assembly. But you can still end up getting the desired tension with ease.

Another feature of ratchet load unions is that you can load and unload cargo with a slow and steady force. In other words, ratchet load unions prevent your crew from suffering undue stress or strain on their body.

But most importantly, ratchet binders offer a safe take-up. Usually, a ratchet binder has a take-up distance of eight to ten inches. As this is twice that of a lever binder, you can load and unload cargo safely.

2. Pros Of Ratchet Load Unions

Using ratchet load unions offers a few unique benefits that no other cargo handling devices can provide. They are:

  • You need considerably less manual force to operate ratchet binders. This is probably the top reason why these cargo holders are so popular.
  • They are also safer to operate. With negligible energy stored in the handle, ratchet load unions are less likely to kick back.
  • They provide a higher mechanical advantage compared to other devices.
  • But most importantly, they are easier to adjust in finer increments. This comes in handy when tying down breakable cargo.

3. Cons Of Ratchet Load Unions

Although ratchet load unions come with unique benefits, they also have a few drawbacks. Keep in your mind the following cons before adding them to your cargo control hardware.

  • This cargo control device is generally more expensive.
  • Although not bulky, ratchet load unions are often less compact. As a result, they may not be suitable for applications where you have less room for loading and unloading.
  • The working mechanism is simple. But you staff may still find it harder to operate these cargo binders.
  • And finally, ratchet load unions take more time to set up. This could be a red flag in operations where time is of essence.

Understanding Lever Load Joints

Lever load joints, also known as lever binders or level snappers, consist of a lever with a tension hook on each end. The design allows you to use the lever to increase the force applied to the tie-down. You can install these binders quickly as they have less moving parts and a simple design.

1. How It Works

Lever load joints come with a hinged lever. So, when you move the lever, it pulls on one end of the tension hook. The lever load joint will lock itself after a 180-degree rotation of the lever. But you are going to need a relatively higher force when using these binders. That’s one major drawback of using lever binders.

2. The Pros Of Lever Load Joints

This cargo control hardware provides a few benefits. They include:

  • As they have fewer moving parts, lever load joints are quicker and simpler to operate. This means your crew can learn to use these without extensive training.
  • They also have a more compact design. In short, you can carry these to different locations with ease.
  • Thanks to their simple design and fewer moving parts, lever load joints are generally less expensive. You can buy lever binders if you are looking for a cost-competitive alternative.

3. The Cons Of Lever Load Joints

As with any cargo control hardware, lever binders also have a few drawbacks. Make sure to think of the following before making your purchase decision.

  • Fewer moving parts mean lever load joints require more manual strength. Your crew may really have to put their back into it when using these binders.
  • There is also a threat of kickback from the lever if you don’t take proper care. Be sure to teach your crew about this safety mechanism first.
  • They are also more likely to break in the handle where kinetic energy gets stored. This makes lever load joints a less likely option for many applications.

In Conclusion

Both cargo control hardware has unique benefits and drawbacks. That said, choosing the right type of binder has less to do with the load binder itself. You will need to consider a few other critical factors, like the type of chain you are using and the weight of your cargo. Make sure the chain is compatible with your binder. Also, never exceed the combined Working Load Limit (WLL) of all the chains you are using. Taking precautions like these can help you move your cargo safely.

Author Bio: I am Randy Gonzales. I am the President of Elite Sales Inc, a rigging equipment and wire rope distribution company based in Miami, Tampa, Houston, and Dyer. I have more than 30 years of experience in the distribution and supply of industrial hardware industry.

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