Steel versus the world’s strongest fibre a test of strength in securing loads
PowerLash chain with Dyneema® sets new standards
What happens if parts of a tried-and-tested tensioning lashing chain are combined with high-performance textile fibres? Dolezych, the renowned manufacturer of ropes, lifting and load securing equipment, to present the result at this year’s IAA-Nutzfahrzeuge commercial vehicle trade fair in Hanover. The PowerLash with Dyneema® textile lashing chain with an LC of 5000 daN is the result of intensive cooperation between DSM Dyneema and Dolezych.
DSM Dyneema is the inventor and manufacturer of the UHMWPE fiber (Ultra High Molecular Weight PolyEthylene), which is marketed under the brand name Dyneema®, the world’s strongest fiber™. Dyneema® offers maximum strength combined with minimum weight. For the same weight it is 15 times stronger than quality steel and up to 40% stronger than aramid fibres. The Dyneema® fibre floats on water and has an extremely high resistance to abrasion and cutting as well as being resistant to moisture, UV light and chemicals.
The fibres are processed by Dolezych GmbH & Co. KG, one of the world’s leading companies for load securing. The multinational family-owned company headquartered in Dortmund has recognized experience in the development and manufacture of lashing products and owns numerous patents in this field.
The principle of the presented PowerLash with Dyneema® is both simple and clever: The PowerLash chain is manufactured completely from webbing made of Dyneema®. Several layers of the fabric are wound and sewn to form chain links. These are combined into textile chains that can be produced in any length with specially developed chain hooks, high-strength shackles and special tensioner elements. The result is easily comparable with the breaking load and durability of chains made of high-strength steel, but is up to 85 % lighter and much more flexible in use.
The new load securing systems were put through their paces by users in a test phase lasting six months and proved to be outstanding under real operating conditions. Products with the widest variety of chain lengths, hooks and tensioner elements were used. Even short lashing chains were found to offer enormous weight and handling advantages. Above all, the particularly long lashing chains with a usable length of 6 m or more showed that the extremely light and cut-resistant Dyneema® fibre is simply unbeatable for some applications. Even with chain lengths of 20 m and more it was possible for just one person to secure the load quickly and effortlessly! The opinion of our tester was clear: “Working with lashing chains was never so easy!”
A typical feature of chains is also the possibility to shorten the system. Just attach the hook to the chain link at the desired length – done. A high-strength shackle of an appropriate strength can also be used as a shortening element. And if the load is sensitive, the soft lashing chain can even be pulled over the load with no further protective measures (e.g. against scratches).
The tensioner element of the system is also innovative. A special and easy to use lashing strap system replaces the ratchet load binder normally used with lashing chains. That results in a significantly longer tensioning distance and additionally contributes to a reduction in weight.
Even without additional fittings or tensioner elements, the chain can be used resourcefully as a load securing aid: As a head sling, the textile chain can be guided flexibly around voluminous loads, for example, and tensioned diagonally with lashing straps simply hooked into the chain links. It can thus function as a headboard substitute and secure loads that can’t be placed against the actual headboard of the vehicle on account of the load distribution plan.
The PowerLash with Dyneema® lashing chain is offered as a modular system. This allows it to be configured flexibly for the respective purpose of use. The customer selects the chain length (strands in lengths of 4 and 8 m are standard), the number of hooks and tensioner elements required and, if necessary, additional shackles for the connection or shortening of chain strands.
The system is available exclusively from the manufacturer Dolezych, and includes expert advice – on-site, too.