What Are Coil Racks and How Do I Use One? (5-Step Guide)

flatbed trailer hauling a coil on a coil rack

Truck drivers can tell you that one of the most stressful and potentially dangerous cargo items to haul is a steel coil. Oddly shaped and weighing anywhere from 7-30 tons, coils pose a serious threat to life on the road. And when they are not secured properly to the flatbed trailer, they become life-threatening not only to the hauler, but to other motorists, putting everyone into harm's way.

Luckily, coil racks for flatbed trailers are designed to keep these heavy cargo items in place during transportation and ensure both the hauler and other motorists that the coil remains secured. Read more on what these items look like, how they are used, and what types are available for purchase.

What is a Coil Rack?

image of steel coil rack

A coil rack is a device that consists of a sturdy steel frame with arms, or spindles, along the edges that point upward. Designed to secure large coils of material like steel, aluminum, cooper, plastic, and more, they work to keep these items in place on top of flatbed trailers, inside enclosed van trailers, or to keep them still while in storage. These devices are used in tangent with wood blocks and/or coil chocks for added security. 

Coil racks have a much longer working life compared to other types of racks available. Their reliability to handle heavier loads while enduring less wear-and-tear makes them a must-have item for any hauler that regularly transports these items. Using them provides many benefits over other means of securing this cargo.

Benefits of Coil Racks

1. Increases Safety

Because coils can be heavy and difficult to handle, using a coil rack adds a secure and stable platform to hold these massive items in place during transport. With better load securement, truck drivers can rest easy knowing other motorists are safe from potential harm.

2. Damage Prevention

Coils can be vulnerable to damage during transit if not properly secured. Coil racks prevent them from rolling or colliding with each other, or into the walls of enclosed trailers, minimizing the risk of deformation, scratching, or other forms of damage. This preserves the quality and integrity of the coil, reducing the need for costly repairs or replacements.

3. Efficient Space Utilization

Coils take up a significant amount of space whether it be on a flatbed or in an enclosed trailer. Using coil racks can help optimize your space, maximize your efficiency, and help your business save on transportation costs if you plan on hauling more than one coil.

There are two common ways to load a coil up on a flatbed trailer: 

    • Shotgun: The "eye" of the coil faces forward.
    • Suicide: The "eye" faces the side of the trailer or faces upward to the sky.

You'll need to choose the method that works best for your trailer configuration - specifically, how to align your coil to reach your trailer's tie down points.

    forklift placing steel coils onto flatbed trailer

    How to Use a Coil Rack

    Use coil racks accordingly so you prevent any serious damage or injury from occurring. Follow these steps to ensure your coil rack is being used in a safe way:

    1. Get Your Supplies Ready

    First, you need to gather all of the supplies to tie down your coils. The number of coil racks you use will depend on (A) the number of coils you plan on hauling in one trip, and (B) the weight of each coil. A typical steel coil rack contains a weight rating of 10,000 lbs., so for coils that weigh upwards to 30 tons, you should account for the number of coil racks needed to secure them in place. It's best to have at least three coil racks for each steel coil. 

    Besides coil racks, you need additional tie down supplies to secure the coil to the trailer. Common tie down items include transport chain binders and durable tie down straps designed to withstand the forces of the load. You'll also need wood blocks or coil chocks to insert into the arms of the coil rack itself. This provides an additional barrier for the coil to keep it from moving. 

    2. Lie Down Rubber Mats

    After gathering all of the supplies, the next step is to place rubber mats or blankets onto the floor of the trailer where the coil will sit. These mats not only protect the surface of your trailer, but they provide a non-slip surface that better grips the coil itself. If you don't have rubber non-slip mats, then you can use moving blankets as a reliable alternative.

    3. Place Support on Coil Racks

    Furthermore, make sure to place any additional support pieces to the coil rack or to the coil itself. This includes the wood blocks or coil chocks to help further stabilize the load. You can also add edge protection or corner protectors to your load to protect the coil if you plan on using tie down straps.

    4. Place the Coil On the Rack

    Once you laid down the rack and the rubber mats, then place the coil down onto the rack. Use a forklift, crane, or other equipment stable enough to handle the weight of the load. Set it down so it sits nicely on the mats and the rack.

    5. Secure the Coil to the Trailer

    Finally, secure the coil to the trailer using your tie down of choice. Transport chain may be the strongest option when used with binders, especially for those heavy-duty coils. Otherwise, you can use heavy-duty ratchet straps designed to handle and secure heavier loads.

    coil rack on semi truck flatbed trailer


    Coil Racks from US Cargo Control

    US Cargo Control offers two different sizes of coil racks for customers to choose from. Using the right size coil rack is crucial to ensure the security of the coil on your trailer, as well as the safety of yourself and others around you on the road. 

    • Light Duty Coil RackOur light duty option is constructed with 10-gauge steel and a black painted finish to withstand wear and tear from the weather. This option works using wood blocks to cradle the coil and keep it secured to your trailer.

    • Heavy Duty Coil RackHeavy duty racks are slightly longer and made with 0.275" sheet steel fabrication required for meeting ASTM A36 standard specifications for carbon structured steel. This means the material for this option creates greater strength and formability for the heavier coils.

      For any questions on our coil rack products, get in touch with our team of product experts to help get the answers you need.

      More Articles You May Like

      10 Hot Shot Trucking Supplies for Successful Deliveries

      Lever Binders & Ratchet Binders: What Are the Safety Benefits?

      Transport Chain & Load Binders 101

      What's the Difference Between Direct & Indirect Tiedowns?

      Working Load Limits of Chain

      Reach out to our product experts for any questions you have over any of our flatbed trailer products by calling (866) 444-9990 or emailing us today!

      Back to blog