Accordion Style Cable Tarp Systems
My first “real” exposure to the dump truck and dump trailer tarping industry was to install an accordion style, cable tarp system, specifically the Merlot Panel Tarp system. I was sold! What a great way to cover a dump truck or trailer full of sand, gravel, dirt, trash, construction debris or any material that is not heaped over the top of the side walls. Since that time I have installed, upgraded, customized, converted and repaired hundreds of cable tarp systems, also referred to as accordion style tarp systems. I love the hands-on work and challenge of installing these systems on dump trucks and trailers with different configurations. Every install is different and challenging! Always a great deal of fun once the system is installed and the end user gets to experience the ease and functionality of a cable style tarp system.
So what is a sliding bow style cable tarp or accordion tarping system? Well, basically (and this is very basic) it is a tarp system that consists of pulleys, cables, bows, and a tarp. These components are installed on a trailer or dump truck in a fashion that will allow the end user to turn a hand crank or flip a switch that will drive the tarp forward or backward in order to open or close the tarp system. Click here to open a basic installation manual for Mountain Tarp, Tarp-N-Go Cable System.
Several manufacturers offer accordion style tarping systems, also referred to as sliding tarp systems, including; Aero, Merlot, Mountain Tarp, Pulltarps and Shur-Co. I’m going to offer a quick overview of each system below…
Aero, Crank-n-Go II and Crank-n-Go III: The Aero Crank-n-Go II and Crank-n-Go III are obviously the second and third revision of the original Crank-n-Go cable tarp system. Currently, only the mesh version of the Crank-n-Go II is available under that revision. The Crank-n-Go III is available with both a Mesh and Solid tarp. The CNGIII is completely customizable to fit virtually every tarping application. With 6” or 12” rise bows, mesh or asphalt tarp and electric or manual operation the CNGIII is easily configured to your specific needs. The system comes standard with heavy duty fully adjustable rear pulleys, anti-shift bow ends on every bow, a reinforced double bow at the rear and an attractive aluminum front assembly. The Crank-n-Go III is an over-the-side system, meaning the tarp extends over the side of the dump box for improve load containment and better heat retention when hauling asphalt. Stock sizes range from 16’ to 42’ and 96” or 102” wide. Check out the Aero Crank-n-Go here.
Merlot Panel Tarp
The Merlot Panel Tarp’s panelized design differentiates this accordion style cable tarp system from any other cable tarp system available on the market today. Functionally, every cable tarp system is virtually the same. Comparing the functional operation of a Mountain Tarp Tarp-N-Go to the Aero Crank-N-Go to the Cramaro Slide-N-Go to the Pulltarps Top Slider to the Merlot Panel Tarp will prove futile as all of the systems operate on the same premise. That is they utilize a series of cables, pulleys and support bows to slide the tarp back and forth along the length of the dump body or trailer. However, only the Merlot Panel Tarps patented “Panel” tarp design allows for quick and easy replacement of tarp panels in the event of damage or wear. All other systems require the entire tarp be replaced at a much higher cost and time commitment. The Panel tarp comes standard with strong extruded aluminum bows, two-piece nylon bow ends and ground level hand crank. An electric drive can be added for additional convenience. For more information on the Merlot Panel Tarp , click here.
Merlot now offers an over-the-side system with the new Smart Tarp, cable style tarp system, utilizing the same patented panel design as the original Panel Tarp System. For more information on the Smart Tarp, click here.
Mountain Tarp, Tarp-n-Go
Mountain Tarp has developed an exceptionally well built Sliding Bow Tarp System at a very affordable price. The Tarp-N-Go is available in three Accordion Style Cable Tarp Systems Anti-Pollution Mesh (tarp extends to the inside edge of the box), Anti-Pollution Vinyl (tarp extends to the inside edge of the box) or Semi-Waterproof Vinyl (tarp extends to the outside edge of the box). All three systems come standard with Stainless Steel Cable, K-Bar Front Shaft Support, Pre-Assembled Components and Memory Strip Tarp Inserts to make installation and operation easy and efficient. Galvanized tarp bows have four different height options (flat, 6″, 12″ or 18″) and two different bow end options (EZ Bow end or plastic molded ends). Finally, the Tarp-N-Go is driven by an easy to turn hand crank or a high torque tarp motor. Want more info? Click here.
Pulltarps, Top Slider, and Super Slider
Pulltarps has developed a three distinct systems; The Twin Cable Top Slider, Single Cable Top Slider, and Single Cable Super Slider. All three systems are built rugged and reliable with galvanized bows and UHMW bow sliders. Choose the standard hand crank or optional direct drive tarp motor operation.
The Twin Cable Top Slider Systems; the Twin Cable System uses a conventional tarp design that covers the top of the opening and the typical twin cable drive system. Pulltarps has improved the design with such upgrades as rear facing pulleys for easy tensioning adjustment.
The Single Cable Top Slider Cable System uses the jam free single cable drive design with a tarp that covers the top of the opening. The UHMW sliders and single cable design make this the most dependable Top Slider Cable System available. You can tension the entire system with the turn of just one bolt at ground level. At the rear is a welded double drive bow to provide double the strength and a more stable base to prevent rocking.
The Single Cable Super Slider Cable System uses the Single Cable drive design for a smooth and jam free operation. The bows are all attached to the same cable making it impossible for the bows to become misaligned. The Super Slider features a unique tarp design that brings 5” of fabric down over the top rail for better coverage
Check out the Pulltarps Top Slider and Super Slider here.
Shur-Co, Shur-Trak II Accordion Style Cable Tarp System
Shur-Trak II’s exclusive Twist-Lok™ bow shanks, constructed of low-friction/high-strength polymer, twist off without removing the cable. The shanks are available in standard and Short-Stop™ styles and let you replace damaged bows faster, with less effort. Choose between a manual hand crank, a Durabuilt™ motor for systems under 25′ or a heavy-duty motor for systems over 24′. Electric systems are now available with the SMARTransmitter® remote control. An improved cable tensioner is equipped with a thrust washer to make adjustment easy. A sight gauge shows if more tension is needed, a correction you can make with a few twists of your wrist. A rear bow stabilizer prevents the rear bow from rocking. This reduces stress on tarp, cable and bow shanks and lessens tarp wear at point of attachment. In addition, it helps keep the tarp from sagging and wearing between the last two bows. More information on the Shur-Co, Shur-Trak II, click here.
With such a wide range of manufacturers and system options, you head may be spinning trying to determine which system is best for your specific application. For more information about Accordion Style, Cable Tarp Systems give me a call at 757-615-4379 and we can discuss which Sliding Tarp System will be the best tarping solution for needs.