Ropes

There a 2 main types of rope used in industry (as well as the sport market) dynamic and low stretch. Most low stretch ropes shrink about 5% once wet, but allow 10% for safety. Ropes can have sewn terminations and these are stronger than a knot. For example the strength of a sewn end gives approximately 90% of the rope's breaking load whereas a knot may be in the region of 60% -70%. Knots are very good at energy absorption, sewn terminations are not, so care must be taken when using the Petzl Jane lanyards for example in a situation where energy absorption is required (for example rope access workers cowstails).

All the following ropes have a sheath and core construction (kernmantle) Mountaineering ropes (dynamic) These conform to BS EN 892 (Mountaineering standard) These have a low peak impact force with a fall factor 2 (i.e. fall from above anchor). They can arrest a free fall while limiting shock load i.e. they stretch under load because each of the fibres has been specially treated. For example - Beal Apollo 11mm dynamic impact rating 7.4kN, Factor 2 Falls 16No, UIAA Lyon 11mm dynamic impact rating 8.4kN Factor 2 Falls 12No, UIAA Dynamic ropes must not be used to replace fall arrest lanyards (even though dynamic ropes absorb energy). Dynamic ropes are generally used as cowstails for rope access workers or when 'lead-climbing'. Lead climbing has been taken from the mountaineering world and requires great skill to undertake safely. Dynamic ropes aren't as durable as low stretch due to their thinner sheath and softer weave, however some ropes have been designed for climbing gyms and have a thicker sheath (Beal Wallmaster). Beware, when using long lengths of rope the stretch generated in a fall must be considered in relation to the clear distance below the worker. Low stretch rope (sometimes called static or semi-static) These conform to BS EN 1891 (Industry and Speleology) They are between 9 and 16mm in diameter and can be one of 2 classes. Lyon Equipment supply rope for industry from 10 mm to 13.5 mm in diameter.

Type A All uses for ascending, descending, work positioning , fall-arrest safety lines in conjunction with a mobile fall-arrestor. Type B Lower specification, NOT for work purposes, but can be used for rescue ropes. For example the Beal 10.4mm rescue rope has a lower strength, but does have a thicker sheath making it useful in rescue situations for abrasion resistance. Both types have a moderate stretch and do absorb some energy, but they have less treatment than the dynamic ropes and therefore do not stretch as much. They must never be used to arrest a fall greater than a fall factor 1 (a fall from level with or below the anchor). In this case dynamic ropes must be used. Ideally they must not exceed a fall-factor of 0.3 as above this would give an impact force greater than 6kN.

Vertical safety lines These must conform to EN353 either part 1 or part 2. These are often used on masts, towers, monopoles and vertical ladders. There are 2 types of vertical safety systems: Part 1 Guided type fall arresters including a rigid anchor line - for example Unistrut or Railock. Part 2 Guided type fall arresters including a flexible anchor line - for example Latchway Ladderlatch, Petzl ASAP. The flexible anchorage line can be either cable, synthetic large diameter 3 strand rope or a low stretch kernmantle rope to EN1891 type A. Check with the manufacturer the compatibility of the travelling device (mobile fall arrester) with the cable or rope it is to be used with. Ensure that the device is installed in the correct orientation. Normally rope based systems are for one person only, whereas fixed systems MAY allow for more than one user at a time - check with the manufacturer. In addition to the above ropes, there are static ropes/cords (accessory cords, canyon rope, wire rope) These have little or no stretch and therefore have no energy absorption, which could lead to big impact forces on the worker and the anchors leading to failure of both! They must never be used to hold a falling load. They are often used to attach tools etc to a worker. Accessory cords will be made from one of three materials

Canyon rope Beal canyon ropes are marked ( on the end marker tape They are CE Certified to Beal's own standard. Some float and are often used by fire brigades in water rescue situations. You must treat them as static i.e. have no stretch. It would feel like falling on a steel cable.

Rope Care Advice Ropes are an investment and should be looked after accordingly, they are designed and manufactured to a very high standard. Rope manufactures know how each of their ropes can be expected to perform and last under varying conditions. The advice listed will help you to maintain your ropes durability, performance, and reliability. Regular inspections should be carried out for all ropes to establish their condition and suitability for the tasks expected of them.

When carrying out rope inspections look for the following. If you are in any doubt about the true condition of the rope and its suitability for continued use, consult your nearest approved stockist of that particular rope. 1. Proper coiling and uncoiling of a rope is the first step to ensure a rope is not damaged, never allow the rope to become kinked or twisted this will impair its life and usability. Ideally rope should be stored in a 'Figure of 8' fashion to avoid inducing twist in a protective rope bag. 2. Sharp bends put extra strain on ropes; this is because only half of the rope's fibres will take the load, the remaining fibres will be rendered ineffective through compression.  3. Ropes wear excessively through chaffing and abrasion when worked in the same position for a length of time. Inspect rope load bearing areas 'hot spots' and alter their position on a regular basis.  4. Friction causes strands to melt externally and internally. As the melting point of most rope fibres is between 150 - 260C the risk of damage is slight. If a rope has been overloaded, open the strands to inspect for heat damage (fusion of strands). 5. A correctly spliced rope has between 90 - 95% of the strength of the unspliced rope. Regular inspection of splices and joins is important, if you are unsure about their condition consult your nearest approved stockist. Storing your rope correctly will help its life span. Below are some guidelines to keep your rope in good condition.  1. Ropes should be stored under a suitable cover. 2. They should be clean and dry, out of direct sunlight and away from extreme temperatures. 3. Never store ropes on concrete or dirty floors, as dirt and grit picked up by the ropes can work into the strands cutting the inside fibres, leading to damaged ropes and equipment. 4. Keep away from all chemicals. 5. Salt crystals are naturally abrasive and will affect the life and efficiency of ropes a wise precaution would be to soak them in fresh warm water. View our rope shop