Fédération Européenne de la Manutention (FEM) is working on a guidance paper for the safe use of synthetic fibre ropes in mobile cranes.

FEM product group Cranes and Lifting Equipment is working on the publication titled Safe Use of High Performance Synthetic Fibre Ropes on Mobile Cranes. Driving the move is a growing interest over the last couple of years in the use of synthetic fibre ropes for hoisting applications in mobile cranes.

For steel wire ropes there are decades of experience and international standards, for example, ISO 4309. There is no standard regarding design and discard criteria for high performance synthetic fibre rope used on mobile cranes, FEM said.

In October 2015 and March 2016, the FEM Product Group Cranes and Lifting Equipment hosted the first two workshops at VDMA in Frankfurt of a planned series. The technical committee of FEM Mobile Cranes brought together people from universities, mobile crane and rope manufacturers. Participants identified areas for special attention, including safety measures for design, environmental (UV-light, high temperatures) and external (cutting damage) influences. Discussions covered issues of fibre rope care and maintenance and inspection and replacement.

Commenting on the development, Klaus Meissner, FEM mobile crane president, said, “Modern fibre ropes offer very attractive technical properties for mobile cranes, nevertheless, there are a number of points which crane operators need to consider when switching from wire to fibre ropes. At the FEM workshops on fibre ropes we made great progress in identifying the necessary steps to promote safe use of fibre ropes in mobile crane. From ancient Egypt until today – in the words of the 20 year old movie title – it could soon be ‘Back to the Future’ for fibre ropes used in mobile cranes.”

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