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What is a Rope Sling?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 28 September 2016
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Also known as safety slings, rope slings are devices that are designed to lift and move heavy loads from one location to another. This type of conveyance equipment is often used at construction sites as well as in manufacturing plants where there is a need to move huge quantities of supplies or finished goods quickly and easily. In times past, a rope sling was often constructed using a good quality fiber rope. Today, many brands are constructed with heavy-duty wire, which helps to increase the efficiency while reducing wear and tear on the sling.

The design of a basic rope sling is simple. The device has a loop at each end, with a length of rope connecting the two ends. The loops are usually made of the same materials as the length or body of rope, and are strong enough to allow the sling to be wrapped around the object and secured in place by attaching a hitch to the two loops. More complex designs of the rope sling follow the same basic pattern, but may use a series of lengths of roping or multiple splicing to create designs that are capable of distributing the weight of objects with greater efficiency. The length of the roping, as well as the dimensions of the loops, will depend on the type of tasks that the particular sling is designed to perform.

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Safety regulations that are enforced by governmental agencies require that any rope sling used in a factory or at a construction site must be inspected regularly. The inspection often focuses on the condition of the roping. Any frayed areas or sections where the wiring seems to have weakened will usually require that the sling be replaced or at least reconditioned so that the device can continue to manage the same weight load as in the past. This is important, since the failure of a rope sling could result in not only significant damage to the goods being moved, but also to any individuals who are in the immediate area when the failure takes place.

Manufacturers of different rope sling designs sometimes offer the option of custom designing a sling for a specific purpose. This usually requires that representatives of the supplier meet with the client and identify the intended purpose for the device. From there, it is possible to develop a design that will meet the customer’s expectations and also comply with current safety regulations. As is true with most customized equipment, a specially designed rope sling will be more expensive than other designs that are mass-produced.

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