Light­en­ing the load with syn­thetic rope

New Zealand Logger - - Forest Talk -

SYN­THETIC ROPES HAVE BEEN AROUND FOR A WHILE, THOUGH only a small num­ber of con­trac­tors are ac­tu­ally us­ing them on yarders in ap­pli­ca­tions like straw­lines and guy­lines.

But a New Zealand sup­plier says there is a case for syn­thetic ropes to be more widely used, given the in­creased em­pha­sis on health and safety in the work­place.

“There’s a lot of weight in steel wire and it’s tough for the young guys try­ing to drag a straw­line over steep ground to reach the tail­hold – to the point that it is al­most a health and safety is­sue,” says Steve Mid­dle­ton, of To­tal Rope Worx NZ Ltd, which dis­trib­utes Dyneema syn­thetic ropes to var­i­ous in­dus­tries in this coun­try, in­clud­ing forestry.

“You re­ally feel for those young guys strug­gling with heavy ropes. And the thing is, it doesn’t have to be like that.

“Syn­thetic ropes are a frac­tion of the weight of wire ropes and while they cost more, they can be set up much quicker, so the yarder can get to work quickly and be earn­ing money, which can more-than make up for the price dif­fer­ence.”

Mr Mid­dle­ton says there is also a mis­con­cep­tion that syn­thetic ropes are dif­fi­cult to in­stall and may not last as long as wire ropes.

Prior to es­tab­lish­ing Top Rope Worx NZ, he was in­volved in the ma­rine in­dus­try for more than 29 years and has con­sid­er­able syn­thetic rope knowl­edge and ex­ten­sive syn­thetic rope splic­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and saw how well syn­thetic ropes per­formed as tow­lines on large tug boats.

“They’re strong al­right,” he says, adding that the 28mm Di­am­e­ter Ad­justable Guy­lines have a 57.69-tonne min­i­mum break­ing load. Dyneema size for size is eight-times lighter than steel wire and on a weight-for-weight ba­sis Dyneema is 15 times stronger than steel wire. Dyneema also has a Spe­cific Grav­ity of 0.97 which means it floats on wa­ter! Be­ing light, straw­lines can even be flown to the back­line by a suit­able drone.

Fur­ther­more, To­tal Rope Worx has ob­tained Ore­gon State Univer­sity doc­u­men­ta­tion of Dyneema forestry tri­als car­ried out in the Pa­cific North West to back up the prod­uct per­for­mance.

When Mr Mid­dle­ton left the ma­rine in­dus­try to set up To­tal Rope Worx NZ he es­tab­lished a re­la­tion­ship with lead­ing UK rope man­u­fac­turer, Mar­low Ropes, to be­come its sole dis­trib­u­tor of Dyneema in New Zealand, with forestry seen as one of the main in­dus­try tar­gets.

“We are very aware of the health and safety is­sues in the NZ For­est In­dus­try,” says Mr Mid­dle­ton. “So right from the start we worked with WorkSafe NZ to en­sure our Dyneema rope prod­ucts where up to code and ap­proved. We have a splic­ing ser­vice that has WorkSafe NZ ap­proved and cer­ti­fied Dyneema rope splicers.”

“We also of­fer a prod­uct back-up ser­vice on­site, in­duct­ing crews on how to use the Dyneema prod­ucts, and we teach two crew mem­bers in the crew how to splice.”

“All our prod­ucts are tagged with all the re­quired rope in­for­ma­tion (type of rope, ISO num­ber, MBL, who spliced it, and when, plus To­tal Rope Worx NZ con­tact de­tails). We also sup­ply a book­let with each prod­uct which pro­vides all the in­for­ma­tion needed about the Dyneema prod­ucts.”

Mr Mid­dle­ton says Dyneema is not only ideally suited to use as Straw­line and Guy­lines but can also be used in set­ting up tail and in­ter­me­di­ate spars, and his com­pany also sup­plies stump/ block strops, sky­line ex­ten­sions, bull­dozer/skid­der winch­lines, soft shack­les and log­ging truck tow ropes made from Dyneema.


Above: Spencer Hill stands by a 28mm Dyneema ad­justable guy­line.

Left: Ja­son Ho­gan, from Gibbs & Olsen Log­ging with a 10mm straw­line at­tached to the crew’s back­line dozer.

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