Chains so heavy they float

Doleco has introduced two products that are expected to take equipment transport two giant steps forward: a unique compact load binder and a textile chain that’s stronger than steel yet so light it floats on water.

“Fabric technology has improved over the year, leaps forward, making this possible. If you can do it with chain, you can do it with Dyneema (fabric chain material),” said Ralph Abato of Doleco in Connecticut.

“We see fabric chain as a real game changer for farms and industrial use. Tying down machinery to trailers and any other uses where steel chain is used, the fabric will work better,” he said.

Doleco’s DoNova fabric chain is made of Dyneema fibre. This ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) is 15 times stronger than steel chain by weight, and up to 85 percent lighter.

The weight factor makes a huge difference for people who have to lug multiple heavy chains around to secure a load.

“Farmers and truck drivers are getting older and more of them doing the work are women. For anyone, not having to handle the weight of steel chain makes sense,” said Abato about the chain, which is used in the fishing industry to secure nets because of its weight, ability to float and withstand weathering.

DoNova has extremely low moisture absorption, is resistant to corrosive chemicals, and is 15 percent more resistant to abrasion than steel. It’s available with a working load limit up to 22,000 pounds, which is more than that of half-inch steel chains. It’s also just shy of the 22,600-lb. load limit of five-eighths-inch steel chain. In comparison, the highest working load limit for conventional textile load securement strap is 6,670 lb.

“And, at working (tension) it stretches less than steel. Binders don’t need to be repositioned as often,” he said.

Doleco is also offering its new DoRa ratcheting load binder, which is three-quarters the length of a standard load binder when contracted, but extends to reach twice as far as conventional load binders. The compact size and extra length save time because drivers don’t have to detach and reattach chains when re-tensioning cargo.

“And it fits into those tighter spaces under equipment on a trailer deck,” he said.

Conventional load securement binders slacken as cargo shifts. Drivers hauling implements into the United States are required to inspect cargo and securement before moving and again after travelling 50 miles from where the cargo is loaded. Periodic inspections are also mandatory.

Regular re-tensioning of securement chains is crucial to keeping loads safely anchored. But re-tensioning can become far more cumbersome when a load binder becomes completely retracted. Unable to take up slack, the user must fully loosen the binder in order to disconnect the chain, extend the spindles for more tensioning distance and then reconnect to a new link in the chain.

Removing the chain from a load binder’s clevis hook for tensioning can also present safety concerns, because at those moments, cargo is no longer fully secure and can become unstable.

The key to DoRa’s compact size and unique tensioning length is the patented spindle-in-a-spindle configuration. The design allows the ratchet housing to be significantly shorter, enabling one threaded spindle to retract by screwing inside the other. When extended, the longer spindle length gives users twice the tensioning distance of other load binders, allowing users to start out with a tighter chain and to perform multiple re-tensionings without disengaging clevis hooks from its chains. Longer spindles also mean more reserve length is available for periodic chain re-tensioning.

Since most cargo securement applications still involve steel chains, the DoRa comes standard with clevis hooks. However, the DoRa ratcheting load binder is designed to work in harmony with DoNova PowerLash textile lashing chain. For those applications it can be ordered with a slip hook and keeper on both ends of its spindles.

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