The only chain that floats on water

  • UHMwPE replaces steel in industrial chains for handling heavy loads
  • Eight times lighter than regular steel link chains
  • Substantial interest in several markets

DSM Dyneema has formed a strategic partnership with Load Solutions AS in Bergen, Norway, for the development and manufacturing of industrial chains for handling heavy loads made for the first time from DSM’s ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene (UHMwPE) fiber, branded as Dyneema.

The chains, branded as TYCAN, are fabricated from webbings and have several economic, environmental and safety advantages over traditional chains that for centuries have been made in iron and steel. TYCAN is produced for Load Solutions AS by Industrias Murtra.S.A., a premium textile manufacturer based in Spain. The first products have already created substantial interest in several markets during the development phase. Certification and testing have been taken place during the last two years. The chains have already passed the first and second levels of certification by DNV GL, the international classification society. Full and final certification is expected in early 2015.

The only chain that floats on water

The chains are made with Dyneema DM20 fiber, based on Dyneema Max Technology, a platform for extremely low-creep solutions. The fiber makes the chains very efficient and safe to use, resistant to chemicals and seawater-proof. Because the material has a density of less than one, TYCAN is the only chain in the world that floats on water, and yet it can hold in place a wind turbine wing weighing six tonnes, a 60-tonne battle tank, or even a 600-tonne electrical mega power transformer.

The chains can be wrapped over the edges of cargo without suffering any damage. They also withstand the sorts of shock loads that may occur on ships sailing through very stormy weather, without any stretching that might cause the cargo to shift. Chains are also more flexible than ropes for holding heavy loads, and it is very easy to shorten link chains to the required length for any particular job, by doubling them back using hooks.

Eight times lighter than regular steel link chains

“The heavy steel chains that the cargo lashing market has relied on until now are difficult and noisy to use, they can rust, and they are tough on cargo, equipment and lashing crews,” says Kjell M. Veka, managing director at Load Solutions AS, “TYCAN chains are up to eight times lighter than regular steel link chains with the same strength.”

Because the chains are much lighter than steel versions, they can be handled with greater ease and put into position much faster. The fact that the chains make far less noise than steel chains when they are being handled is yet another important advantage, both for operatives and management. Operatives can communicate more easily, for example, which helps them work more safely.

Field tests on the road and at sea

Several sets of field trials have already been completed for different markets, and two partner companies have been acting as pioneers within each of those markets. Mammoet Europe B.V., in Schiedam, The Netherlands, evaluated the chains on their mega trucks and trailers while Nor Lines A/S, a shipping company in Stavanger, Norway, has been testing the chains for tying down loads on ships.

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