New Dyneema brand for standing rigging
HEERLEN _ Once upon a time, rigging was made of rope. More recently, standing rigging became the domain of steel wire. Now Koninklijk DSM NV _ the company behind Dyneema ropes (photo left) _ has created Dyneema Max Technology DM20 for the offshore sector. You may not often tether an oil rig to the seabed, but how’s your standing rigging? “The world’s strongest fiber” just got a lot stronger, and 7 times lighter than steel.
In 2012, DSM introduced Dyneema Max Technology at the Houston Offshore Technology Conference and, a few months later, at Amsterdam’s Marine Equipment Trade Show. The technology bridges the gap between steel wire rope and current performance polymer fiber ropes. It’s lighter than steel, not as sensitive to weather, temperature and strain and very strong. Until now Dyneema was not suited for standing rigging because it showed too much ‘creep.’ If a backstay of Dyneema SK78 _ the best available until now _ would show creep of as much as 19% over 15 years, Dyneema Max Technology will cut that to only 2%.
DSM speaks of a revolution saying its new fiber makes for ropes of unrivalled strength, safety and durability. “Dyneema Max Technology moves the boundaries of what’s possible. Like its application in standing rigging,” Edwin Grootendorst, DSM Dyneema Global Segment Director, says in the current edition of Jachtbouw Nederland, a yachting sector trade magazine. “The Volvo Ocean Race yachts cover long legs on one tack. That is very taxing! That’s why our testing focused on sailing. From high-end applications in racing, we see Dyneema Max Technology trickling down to recreational sailing. We have seen that with other Dyneema products.”
Will DSM’s newest technology make it to this year’s 2013 America’s Cup? “We wait and see,” says Grootendorst. “In previous races, just about all entrants used Dyneema.” Grootendorst says the pricing of the new Dyneema product depends largely on rope makers and riggers. “It’s a premium product because of its excellent qualities. That exacts a price.” Dyneema Max Technology is 7 times lighter than steel. It even floats! Compared to polyester, it’s lighter by a factor of 1.4.
Will recreational sailors rush to Dyneema standing rigging? Carl Stahl Benelux B.V., a major marine wholesaler, says stainless steel will remain a popular rigging material. Danny Hol, the company’s managing director, tells the same issue of Jachtbouw Nederland: “Because it’s far cheaper than synthetic versions. We’ll always have steel. Carbon and other alternatives are of interest to only a small market segment.”