Prolyte Campus blog: Soft Steels - Use on Structural Beams
Since the late 90s the entertainment industry has been graced with a 'new' product. A type or round sling, but not filled with tens of thousands or polyester yarns instead of 2-3mm Ø wire rope going around for 25 to 30 times.
In the Netherlands we named them Soft Steel. In the USA another company, completely independent, developed the same type of product and it as Steel Flex .
The issue : Is this product - originally designed for high temperatures or lighting on the trusses - able to be used for other rigging purposes? Can you use it to wrap a basket or choke with it?
The answer : In French: " Mais oui, bien sur !", Meaning so much as "Oh my, yes most certainly!" (And that's French for today). There is nothing to be against slinging structural steel beams with soft steels. There is a couple of arguments that speak for the wider use of these sling types:
- The D / D ratio is better, so the cutting edge of a sharp edge is less.
- The distribution of the force is along a wider surface, so that local friction stress and better longevity or beam metal coating. Wooden beams will also be happy with these types of slings.
- No bulky terminations like a mechanical splice, flemish eye etc, that reduces the effective length of the sling body allowed to be bend.
One more happy feature is the ability to push or pull the soft steel through narrow slots on top of beams or narrow holes in walking grids as there are no unnecessary thimbles that are beef up the termination's eyes.
The verdict : Do use soft steels for slinging or structural beams. And if you want to be fast, efficient and safe buy them as 'basket soft steels' with a special sling hook already connected to it.
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