Load-sensing Impact Blocks

Normally I would not use this blog to promote a product, but in this case I will make an exception – and that for good reasons.

I firmly believe that it is essential that we gain a better understanding of the forces we generate in climbing and especially in rigging. This is true of training as well as in everyday work situations and is one of the reasons I am so excited about load sensing devices becoming more affordable and readily available for our line of work. I am convinced that in a couple of year it will be a standard operating procedure to log the forces encountered during a day on a laptop or other mobile device and to include the data thus accumulated in the debrief.

The big plus of course, apart from immediate safety aspects, is that we stand to gain a more thorough understanding of the peak forces we generate, and consequently of course can define safety factors that are based on fact, rather than mere speculation. These tools will allow us to work in a more precise and accurate fashion.

The first of  a couple of projects we have been working on in conjunction with Straightpoint and DMM, the load-sensing Impact Blocks, are now available to purchase.

These units boast all the beefiness of a normal large Impact Block, such as a MBS of 300kN, a WLL of 60kN or the hollow spindle. The bodies are CNC’d from a solid block, sharing all the rope-friendly characteristics with the rest of the hot-forged Impact Block family. The upper sheave opens via a threaded locking axle for added security, the block attaches directly into textile rigging slings, removing the need for any connectors.

Added into this package are wireless dynamic load monitoring electronics and strain gauge technology, offering a highly durable and robust means to measure loads right where they are occurring – at the anchor point. The sampling rate can be set up to 200Hz, i.e. 200 measurements per second, this data can then be transmitted wirelessly via a radio link either to a handheld readout which allows you to keep track of peak forces, or to a USB dongle on a laptop which will allow you to plot out graphs of the forces being generated.

For further spec and for price quotes, get in touch directly with Straightpoint, read more about their rationale regarding this product here. Obvious takers for this device in my opinion might be training organizations, large companies – or arborists who are simply interested in quantifying forces to see how accurate their guesstimates have been during all those years.

All very well and good, you say, but how tough can electronics really be?

Fair point, we were also interested to find out, so we took a couple of the blocks up into the highlands a few years back and gave them a thorough pounding, leaving nary a trace! The blocks featured in the video below are still in service today.