Tuesday, 28 May 2013
International LOLER Standard Level 1 Live Testing - Varese, IT
Daniel Zanzi ( Fito Consult) recently hosted the first Live tests of the ILS Operator Level 1 Standard. The main drive of the meeting in Varese was to see how the standard could be assessed and to examine the process of practical equipment inspections at an operator level.
During the 2 day meeting we also took the opportunity to visit KONG and speak with their technical experts and owner, Dr Bonaiti.
This blog post contains photographs from the event. Photos from the Kong factory can be seen here at the LOLER Project Kong Visit
Monday, 1 April 2013
Rope Splices: Use and inspection in Arboriculture
An increasing number of tree climbers are preferring to use spliced rope terminations rather than bulky termination knots. Most rope manufacturers that supply equipment to the arboriculture industry offer products with factory made splices in one or both ends of the rope. Other manufacturers offer sewn terminations or a combination of techniques known as a 'Slaice'. This is effectively part sewn, part spliced termination. For more information visit the Tuefelberger Slaice information page.
In more recent years some equipment retailers/wholesalers have been producing custom splices on request from end users. Each splice is handmade by an experienced person and depending on the retailer/wholesaler, samples of the splices are routinely sent for independent testing by the rope manufacturer. Some companies that produce custom rope splices with a declaration of conformity (CE) are: Freeworker, Germany and Honeybrothers, UK.
As part of the European LOLER project we are in the process of producing a qualification Standard for Equipment Inspectors at an operator level. One of the most contentious issues for us to address, particularly in the UK and Ireland is the use of non CE marked splices.
Many existing equipment inspectors will not pass a non-CE marked splice as to do so potentially contravenes European legislation. As does selling a non-CE marked piece of equipment. There are arguments for and against the use and inspection of non-CE marked splices but we need some feedback on this issue.
some of the arguments to consider (for and against):
- There is no evidence to backup the claim that non CE marked splices including home made splices are more dangerous
- There is no evidence of conformity without independent testing. the splice could be flawed or the splicer making the splice incorrectly
- No working at height industries apart from Arboriculture use self spliced or non certified splices.
- Factory made splices are readily available
- Factory made custom splicing is available
- CE marked custom splices and sewn terminations are readily available
- Evidence of training to splice may be sufficient to cover legislation but there is no Quality Assurance or mechanism for assessing ability apart from regular independent testing of self made splices by the rope manufacturer.
- to produce a valuable standard for equipment inspection, we need to cater for the needs of the industry on a European context. for the standard to be respected we must follow the lead of other professions such as those using IRATA standards. They do not use self made splices!
Comments can be made on this blog or contact us at the European LOLERproject
Friday, 18 January 2013
LOLER Project. This post may be of interest to anyone wishing to further their knowledge of equipment inspection and potential damage.
The 4th LOLER project meeting was hosted by CTFC in Solsona during October 2012.
The main aim of this meeting was to carry out live testing of advanced equipment and methods for the development of Level 2 inspection techniques.
Prototype Rope Inspection Apparatus
A prototype machine was unveiled by Pavel Nervkla from Mendlova University ( Brno):
This prototype tool is designed to accurately locate rope damage and record significant differences in rope diameter. The methodology behind the development of this and other non-destructive testing methods is to be able to produce objective results for equipment inspection. These methods may play an important role in identifying and quantifying defects.
The prototype machine uses lasers and other sensitive equipment to locate rope damage and produce a reliable visual representation on a computer screen. Areas of damage can then be identified by a competent operator and investigated further. The process of rope checking is automated in this case and the speed of checking for certain defects is greatly increased.
Previous prototype photos
Hardware Inspection Techniques
Research has been focused on identification of metal defects using Capillary Action technology. This techniques uses a penetrative spray and developer to aid in the identification of cracks and surface damage to metal components such as karabiners. More info here
metal crack after treatment with developer.