SP Loadshackle Supports Research at Tree Climbing Championship
A 6.5t capacity wireless loadshackle from Straightpoint (SP) was used to measure loads during competitors’ ascents at this year’s International Tree Climbing Championship (ITCC), which took place 28-30 July at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C.
More than 60 of the world’s best male and female professional tree climbers representing 13 countries competed for the title of world champion. The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) provides training and education on safe work practices for tree care providers; especially for those working aloft. Organized by ISA and presented by The Davey Tree Expert Company, the event was free and open to the public.
The SP Wireless Loadshackle was used in the Ascent Event, which tests a competitor’s ability to efficiently and safely use their selected and approved ascent system. The event assesses competitors’ efficiency in attaching the ascent system to the ascent line(s), ascending to the bell, and transferring into a descent system. The actual descent is not part of the event. Points are earned for speed as well as for meeting predetermined safety objectives.
Dr. Brian Kane, Professor of Arboriculture in the Department of Environmental Conservation at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, explained that the loadshackle was installed between the haul rope and the rigging hub. The ascent lines are attached to an attachment point, controlled by a ground technician using the haul line. Additionally, an overhead belay system is in place and competitors are on belay at all times while aloft.
Kane, who’s university position was endowed by the Massachusetts Arborists Association, was collecting data as part of an ongoing research project supported by the TREE Fund, which works to sustain the world’s urban forests by providing funding for scientific research, education programs, and scholarships related to arboriculture and urban forestry. He said: “This was a convenient event [to gather the data]. I have volunteered at the championships in the past. This was the first time we have used loadshackles in such a way but we will do so again.”
The ITCC showcased arborists in action and helped to educate consumers about professional tree work, and the training and expertise it requires to be carried out safely.
SP’s Wireless Loadshackle provides a solution to limited headroom applications. Each loadshackle is proof tested, then equipped with a hard anodized aluminum electronics enclosure. Kane used the loadshackle with the SW-MWLC software package allowing him to perform load tests at a safe distance, reading data on a laptop.
SP’s Impact Block, which measures the shock load and weight of branches as they are cut during felling or maintenance, is another product targeted at the arborist sector. The load cell is manufactured in partnership with tree safety equipment pioneer DMM. The aesthetic curves of the Impact Block combine with strength and durability to ensure a rope-friendly surface. Utilizing wireless dynamic load monitoring electronics and strain gauge technology, real time data can be displayed on a handheld controller, tablet or laptop. It eliminates the estimation work that often goes into arborist applications.