Service through knowledge – Ranger team prepare to offer Magnetic Rope Testing (MRT)
Service through knowledge - Ranger team prepare to offer Magnetic Rope Testing (MRT)
Training should lead diversification, not the other way around, says Ashley Thacker, general manager at Ranger Lifting, as a week of wire rope training concludes.
Diversifying often makes business sense. However, it’s important that expansion is preceded by proper training, particularly when dealing with safety critical products and related activity, such as inspection and maintenance.
The component centric and multifaceted nature of the lifting and rigging sector has long whet the appetites of entrepreneurs and finance professionals from inside the industry and elsewhere. It’s a fascinating marketplace because of the multitude of product and service markets broadly under one umbrella. But too many businesses try to run before they can walk—and customers fall down with them.
Take crane wire rope, for example.
Supported by intelligence we’ve gathered from industry and the existing skillsets of personnel, we’ve earmarked it as a potential area for significant growth at Ranger Lifting, chiefly through inspection and supply. We’re preparing to purchase a Magnetic Rope Testing (MRT) machine to conduct non-destructive testing (NDT) accordingly.
Much research, development, and investment has already gone into the initiative, but the hard work is only just beginning. We’re not entering the market by chance; crane rope services will be underscored with the same tagline as everything else we do—Service Through Knowledge.
Even if a company is operating in a completely different sector and works under another mantra, training should lead their diversification plans. Never assume expertise in one field equates to competency in another.
Competency is king
As I said in my previous commentary, we recently hosted steel wire rope specialist Barrie Mordue, director at Tensology, who we flew in from the UK to deliver training content largely aligned with ISO 4309:2017(en) Cranes — Wire ropes — Care and maintenance, inspection and discard.
It’s never worth cutting corners on training, particularly when exploring uncharted waters. We’re indebted to Barrie for making the journey and delivering five days of brilliant content in between 16,000-km trips.
We readily acknowledge that many of our staff remain at the outset of their journeys; what Barrie has given us is the theory, but we need to combine it with practical skills and experience before we can claim widespread competency.
It’s worth reminding ourselves what a competent professional is:
“A person who has acquired through training, education, and experience, or a combination of these, the knowledge and skills enabling that person to safely and effectively perform the task required”—Standards Australia
Buying an MRT machine and marketing crane rope testing as a service doesn’t equate to competence. That’s merely intent.
Crane ropes are a good way to demonstrate my point, as Barrie would agree. It’s an extremely complex subject area. As such, it was important not to approach training sessions with a one-size-fits-all mentality. Instead, we agreed on two courses, one for office-based staff and the other a more detailed session that served as a deeper drill into the subject for our workshop team and site professionals.
It wasn’t an exercise in seeing how many framed certificates we could mount on the wall. We identified 16 people that would benefit from the course to one extent or another. The fact that we received a 100% pass rate was testament, first, to Barrie’s expert tuition and, second, to the seriousness with which our staff approaches any relevant training opportunity. I know that many found it eye-opening just how challenging this new venture will be.
As we explored, a rope is originally fitted to a crane, dragline excavator, or other machine (note that ISO 4309:2017 isn’t about wire rope slings or rigging products) by an original equipment manufacturer (OEM). However, it’s a consumable item, meaning it wears and expires long before the apparatus upon which it is fitted.
The rate at which that happens is entirely dependent on the application and its duty cycle. A rope might only last a few months in a heavy-duty mining application versus many decades on a turbine hall crane in a power station that’s only used once a year.
Based on cost and logistics, the rope supply chain works as such that few end users source replacement ropes from OEMs. It’s also true that in most cases a closely matched alternative is used in the absence of a replica. That’s where Ranger hopes to come in. Understanding the different properties of each configuration of rope is essential when advising a client what type would suit their requirements. Similarly, we will employ the higher-level knowledge when carrying out inspections and looking at discard criteria.
(An interesting facet of Barrie’s content was references to European standards and norms, such as Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 [LOLER]).
When a call comes in for a replacement rope on a tower crane, for instance, we have personnel who understand the theory and can identify the viable options in our portfolio. It’s the same for a high capacity hoist, auxiliary hoist, winch, and so on. Barrie gave some examples of when he’s witnessed the wrong rope employed in certain applications and the resulting problems. Much of ourstaff have similar tales to tell.
To further highlight this, he outlined how one rope might need to be rotation-resistant and another crush-resistant. Think of a long rope on a multilayer drum and the forces imparted on the layers at the bottom under load, he said. Other ropes must resist torque so the load doesn’t spin. Consider the environment as well. A galvanised rope on a quayside will be subject to salt corrosion and may therefore benefit from being plastic impregnated.
I could go on…it took Barrie a week!
Might you have identified a new revenue stream without realising the opportunity through training and eventual competence?
Thank you for reading.
For more information contact us on 1300 SLINGS