Extreme load securing: DoNova® PowerLash protects life and load
A user report on the textile chain from Mali
During its short life the DoNova® PowerLash textile lashing chain has already mastered several examinations. Over the course of the product development and DEKRA certification the system was subjected to numerous tests. It has already proven its capabilities in daily use in thousands of logistic applications. However, the challenges with which the DoNova® PowerLash was confronted in Mali were extreme and virtually impossible to simulate with the usual testing facilities.
The test period extended over seven months (February to August 2018). Within the scope of its logistic tasks in the West African country, the ITO FRANKFURT subsidiary ITO Mali SARL tested the DoNova® Powerlash 25/8 made of 100% Dyneema® with clevis hooks on both ends. The textile chain with an LC of 10,000 daN was developed on the basis of EN 12195-2/3 and is approved for use only with the connections and end fittings approved by the load securing equipment manufacturer Dolezych GmbH & Co. KG. The subjects of the test were the chain with its end fittings as well as the specially developed high-strength ratchet load binder with widened hook radius and Dyneema® lashing straps with gear pull ratchet, which can each be used to tension or shorten the DoNova® PowerLash.
ITO Mali SARL essentially transports trucks and trailers for military purposes, containers and non-standard loads. Tractor units with semitrailers and trucks with low-bed trailers are used, depending on the goods being transported. The structures and conditions of the vehicles differ. Some attachment points were unusable due to deformation, so that the experienced drivers had to make use of fixed parts of the structure to secure the loads.
The drivers and convoy attendants were given theoretical and practical instruction on the structure and use of the DoNova® PowerLash. On completion of each convoy the drivers reported their experiences with the load securing to the convoy attendant. The parallel use of conventional steel chains and lashing straps alongside the textile chains enabled a comparative assessment of the load securing to be carried out.
During the test period a total distance of 13,340 km was driven inside Mali as well as during land transports between Senegal, Niger and Mali. The roads in the operating region are in extremely poor condition: extended potholes, completely disintegrated road surfaces and road sections that have been eroded or completely torn away dominate the picture of the roads, which have not been repaired in decades. Added to that extreme climatic conditions, in which months of heavy rain alternate with periods of drought and heat. Temperature peaks of 50 °C are no rarity in Mali.
The latent threat of terrorism also has to be considered when organising the transport. Stopping the convoy to rest, to check the load securing or to repair damage represents a big danger to the safety of the drivers and the load. On sections where there is a high threat the vehicles often have to maintain high speeds despite road damage in order to minimise the risk of attack. This leads to high-frequency and dynamic stresses for the transported material and the load securing equipment used.
Despite extreme stresses, no failures, defects or relevant wear were found at any time – neither on the DoNova® PowerLash, nor on the tested connecting parts and fittings. In principle, both tensioning systems were accepted without restrictions by the drivers and evaluated as very good in use. Retensioning of the lashing chains was necessary only in a few cases and then only by a few centimetres, so that stops that are dangerous due to the threat could be avoided. DoNova® PowerLash thus not only improved the security of the load, but also protected the lives of the convoy members. The drivers were also satisfied with the low weight, which makes it much easier to attach the lashing chains to the vehicle and load. Apart from that they also praised the flexibility of the system as a whole, which can easily be placed over the vehicle and load without causing damage. According to ITO Mali SARL, special mention should be given to the high reliability of the Dyneema® material, which is achieved through the unique combination of strength and flexibility. The report on the testing of the textile chain in Mali ends with the conclusion that the DoNova® PowerLash has proven itself without reservation even under the challenging boundary conditions in Africa. ITO Mali SARL: “The textile chain can be recommended without restriction for load securing in tough conditions and/or for the securing of sensitive and operationally important materials.”
Image source: ITO Mali SARl
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