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Steel is the backbone of the global economy, enabling everything from skyscrapers to railroads to wind turbines. But the sheer weight of this essential material makes transporting it safely and cost effectively a challenge.

Cargo ships play a key role in moving steel coils from A to B – but first, the coils have to be hoisted onto the ships. Traditionally, steel wire slings have been used to load and unload all types of bulk cargo, including coils and other steel products. However, the use of steel-based slings has some serious drawbacks: in particular, their massive weight makes ergonomic handling difficult and poses risks to workers as well as vital cargos.

A dynamic Dyneema® decision

As Europe's second-largest steel producer, Corus is no stranger to lifting heavy loads. Around the world, the company works with port operators to lift heavy steel coils from the dock to the ship – an intensive and repetitive task that puts significant strain on stevedoring crews.

Fortunately for Corus and its partners, the company had begun working with Unitex, a specialist manufacturer of synthetic slings for lifting and lashing applications, to develop a new round sling to meet its exact needs.

Made from Dyneema® fiber, Ultralift™ slings are an excellent alternative to steel wire, chain, or polyester slings – because they’re just as strong as traditional solutions, while weighing significantly less. In fact, the Ultralift™ slings used by Corus weigh only 13 kg, compared to the approximate 100-kg weight of a standard steel wire sling.

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Lifting the load

The discovery of the Ultralift™ sling was a pivotal moment for Corus, and it couldn't have come at a better time. The heavy lifting equipment Corus had been using to load and unload cargo was creating significant challenges, explains Jos Molenaar, Manager of Services, Harbor Logistics and Transport at Corus. “The lifting equipment was cumbersome and heavy,” he says. “It often took two workers to maneuver each sling, and even then, the process regularly caused back problems for the operators.”

Switching to Ultralift™ was the efficiency breakthrough Corus needed. “Suddenly we were able to handle more than 1,000 rolls of steel wire per sling,” adds Molenaar. “Up until then, we’d been handling 300–350 rolls per steel wire sling. That's a huge difference.”

What’s more, the improved handling meant fewer problems during loading and unloading. With significantly less damage and denting of the load, the customer’s waste quickly came to a halt.

The end result: A lower cost per lift

The superior strength and durability of Dyneema® offers significant advantages, not least in terms of cut and abrasion resistance. But the unique design of the Ultralift™ coil sling has also unlocked further cost efficiencies for Corus. The solution consists of two parts: a round sling with a light-duty sleeve and a heavy-duty sleeve over both legs. This innovative structure allows Corus to easily replace just part of the round sling instead of the entire product.

A final word from Molenaar perfectly sums up the benefits: “When you add up all the savings on health and safety, increased loading speed, productivity, and material costs, it's significantly cheaper per lift to use Ultralift™ round slings made with Dyneema®!”

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