Folch Ropes cords are built to last. However, like any other work tool, they must be treated well to avoid premature deterioration.
These are some tips to extend the life of our strings:
Before its use:
- Always purchase the appropriate rope for the use you are going to give it. Read the technical sheet, make sure you understand all the information and, if you have doubts, let the experts advise you.
- Make a record of the rope with the year of manufacture, the date of purchase, the date of first use, and so on. Go writing down the uses you give it and complete it with photographs.
- Install the material correctly. Be it a pulley, a tie, a lifeline or a zip line, if you prepare the installation thoroughly you will avoid damaging the rope, as well as taking unnecessary risks.
- Check the ropes before and after each use, especially if the direct safety of the users depends on it.
- Alternate the ends. Ropes wear down more at the ends: if you alternate them, you will prevent the end that works the most from deteriorating more quickly.
- Watch for friction. A loaded rope should not suffer any abrasive action. If it is not possible to avoid it, or if the friction comes from elements such as descenders or blockers, try to minimize the friction by protecting the section of rope with a sleeve or other type of accessory. Always avoid rope rubbing against rope.
- Don't step on it. The rope suffers if you crush them. And although it is not visible to the naked eye, its internal filaments could notice it. In addition, in the sole of the footwear we have gravel, sand or tiny pieces of glass that can get stuck in the rope.
- Do not expose it to toxic components. Paints, solvents, motor oil, gasoline... Most of these products have a harmful effect on the health of the strings. If you cannot protect them from them due to the nature of the work, try to work with ropes suitable for this type of environment.
- Avoid prolonged exposures to the sun, as it accelerates aging. If, due to the use of the rope, that is not possible (for example, in rural or offshore work), remember that you must replace your rope beforehand.
- Wash the ropes from time to time. Always with warm water and mild soap. For ropes in the sea, rinse frequently with fresh water to remove salt and iodine.
- Do not wash the ropes in the washing machine. Spinning and rinsing in motion break down the fibers. If you ever have to wash your rope in the washing machine, do it with the rope tucked in a closed pillowcase and on a program for delicate clothes.
- Do not dry them in the sun or in direct heat sources, such as the dryer or the radiator. Changes in temperature weaken the fibers and eventually break them.
- Roll it in the right way, in wide curls, and tie it loosely. If you keep it in a specific bag, you don't need to roll it up.
A rope stored correctly shows very little the passage of time due to the storage action. Therefore, it is worth finding the perfect place to store it.
- The perfect place to store a rope is a dry space, clean of dust, without humidity and without direct sunlight.
- Do not leave the rope directly in the trunk when you move it, and do not put it in its bag if it is wet. The rope must be completely dried beforehand, in the shade and in a ventilated place, preferably outdoors.
- Use suitable bags, preferably synthetic ones.
When to dispose of a rope?
Ropes are not eternal. They were born to work and last for many years, but sooner or later we will have to replace them.
How do we know when the time has come for a rope? These are the main symptoms that a rope must be withdrawn (and when in doubt, better sooner than later):
- Discolored rope: Loss of color in a rope indicates that it has been exposed to UV rays for a long time. If it has lost color, it means that it has also lost flexibility and its fibers are close to breaking, so its removal is recommended.
- Flattened rope: A rope that has some flattened section or that has lost its cylindrical shape indicates that its internal filaments are broken or stuck, and is not optimal for use.
- Frayed rope: A rope in good condition shows a completely smooth surface. The presence of broken threads indicates that the rope must be removed.
- Rope with a lot of fluff: If the cover shows some hair, it is a sign that the rope is worn, but it does not have to be in bad condition. However, a very fluffy rope has aged too much and must be removed.
- Rope that shows the core: When the fraying of the cover is very deep, or when there is perforation, the rope shows the core, that is, its internal structure. It must be withdrawn immediately.
- Rope with more than 150 uses: It is a rope that has already worked a lot and we recommend its replacement.
- Rope that has completed 10 years: It is recommended to remove it, even if it has not been used!
How to check a rope?
To know when a rope has lost performance, or must be discarded, it is not always necessary to subject it to laboratory tests: we can carry out checks ourselves to verify that it has not suffered any damage that compromises its response capacity.
These are some of the tests that we can perform on our ropes:
- Review with the hands: The rope must be homogeneous to the touch when we grasp it or press it with the fingers. If we detect a softer area, it may be a symptom of the cover sliding over the core, or of internal fiber breaks. The rope in this case must be discarded. In the same way, if we detect any crushed section, as well as lumps, sags, excessive stretching, soft sections, the rope is no longer suitable for use.
- Checking the curve: In a braided rope, the curve is obtained by bending it at any point, without forcing. In doing so, the rope draws a completely round curve. If, instead of being rounded, it is lengthened or draws an irregular shape, the rope is in bad condition.
Always remember that, in activities that involve personal safety, such as climbing or vertical work, the rope must be checked before and after each use.