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Nylon Web Slings Spray Painting Guidance

I recently received a letter from a genteleman regarding nylon web slings and spray painting on the nylon web sling for marking purposes. My answer to the question is posted in my reply letter back to him. You can read my response below:

It was a pleasure meeting you at the EPRI conference.  It was an honor to have you attend our factory training sessions and thank you for your participation in asking a very important question.

The issue of spray painting nylon web slings is different than the issue of marking  nylon lifting slings or polyester roundslings with felt marker pens.

Felt marker pens have been used extensively for over forty years by the fabricators of nylon straps.  I had queried a group of  nylon sling and tie down fabricators at the 35th Annual Conference of the Web Sling and Tie Down Association, held in Newport, RI. There was 75 people representing at least 50 different fabricators and not one could recall any incident where the ink of a marker pen was the root cause for a synthetic rigging sling or web tie down failure. We have previously written articles and have information on our web site relative to the use of marker pens on synthetic slings.The use of spray paint on polyester and nylon slings is an entirely different matter.  A polyester or nylon sling is generally painted to indicate ownership or that a periodic inspection has been performed.  The chemical ingredients of the paint can be harmful to the synthetic rigging sling.  In addition to the chemical degradation, the paint can penetrate and solidify within the web sling fibers or inside the individual strands of the polyester round sling, impeding the designed performance of the lifting fibers used in the lifting slings by the crane and rigging industries.

We have inspected lifting slings that were used to handle freshly painted, microwave tower sections that were literally stiff as boards after the paint had hardened and dried.  While this is an extreme case, the solution was an easy one.  During my  sling safety presentation to the National Association of Tower Erectors, I suggested the use of fire hose to prevent the absorption of the paint by the nylon lifting slings.

There are much better ways to identify rigging sling ownership or to indicate that a sling inspection has been done.  Nylon sling fabricators can easily attach a color patch to many, if not all synthetic rigging products. At Lift-It Manufacturing, we generally mount the color patch near the sling identification tag.  In addition, we make custom sling tags which indicate company or crew ownership.  Heavy duty slings and cargo lifting nets can have custom sling tags attached boldly displaying, PROPERTY OF PEMEX or PROPERTY OF DEHYDRATION CREW 7.  These tags are sewn directly to the lifting sling or roundsling cover and are very difficult to remove.  The tag attachment is far superior to stenciling or marker pen which can easily be covered over.

Sling inspection can be easily identified by either a sling inspection tag which is attached directly to the web sling, round sling or tie down assembly. Sling inspection tags contain monthly, quarterly or annual information that the inspector  either marks on the sling tag or punches out to indicate that the sling is in an acceptable condition.

Another solution to visually indicate sling safety inspections is the use of a Lift-It Inspection Loop. A small piece of webbing is folded in half and inserted under the edge of the sling tag as the tag is attached to the lifting sling. The Inspection Loop provides an attachment point for colorized zip ties which indicate the month, quarter or year of the inspection. The above mentioned solutions can be found on our web site or by viewing page 54 of our Rigging Resource Guide and are far superior to painting, stenciling or using electrical tape of different colors.  Electrical tape when removed can damage the outer fibers of polyester lifting slings and nylon web slings.

The use of metal tags on synthetic  rigging slings can be dangerous as the tag could become hung up, resulting in sling damage as the aircraft cable used to attach the metal tag to the lifting sling cuts or abrades the nylon web or polyester sling fibers.  Damage to the synthetic lifting sling can also occur when aircraft cable is attached snuggly to the sling eye or the sling body.

We hope that you find this information useful in protecting the lives of those that use industrial lifting slings for any application.  Please consider attending the sling safety training we offer at the Lift-It Learning Center in Pomona, CA. We present rigger training, sling inspection training and also provide sling classes for NCCCO preparatory training.

Have a great weekend and know that we are ready to help you with solutions to problems, compliance issues and yes, we also sell rigging!

All the best, Mike View my Google+ Profile Here

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