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Continuous update of new tree climbing products, equipment and tools

Kiwi Klimbers debut on New Zealand market

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

The Harrison Rocket, designed and produced locally by Andy and Ali Harrison, proved to the world (and naysayers in NZ) that a quality New Zealand made tree climbing related product could succeed, and thrive, in the international marketplace.

Over the years Drew Bristow, under the DB Tree moniker, has also dabbled with tree climbing tools, but, outside of the Harrison Rocket, no other NZ tree-climber-designed product has managed to crack the international market.

That is, until now.

Kiwi Klimbers leading innovation

Following in the Harrison’s innovative footsteps, Dale Thomas’ Kiwi Klimbers look likely to find a ready international market with working tree climbers.

Dale is a contract climber, trainer and representative tree climber so he has plenty of practical experience to call on when it comes to designing a tree climbing product.

To help tend slack and manage the climbing line during tree removals, climbers have previously experimented with foot ascenders bolted to climbing stirrups. These homemade systems were always a bit ‘Mickey Mouse’ and prone to breakage.

No one had managed to take the next step, to perfect the design and bring a ready-to-use product to market - until Dale put his mind to it.

Size-adjustable carbon stirrups suit company use

Dale has designed three different products specifically for SRT or DbRT tree removal; the KK Carbon stirrups with the integrated Titanium KK Spikecender, the KK Carbons without gaffs (or Spikecender) and the milled aluminium KK Spikecender for retrofitting to the popular Gecko climbers.

Unlike the factory-sized Gecko Carbons the KK Carbons are ‘size adjustable’ which should make them very popular with arb companies where there are multiple users.

The KK Carbons are easily sized to individual requirements by removing a couple of stainless screws. The screws are tightened back into a threaded brass ferrule so the procedure can be carried out many times without fear of damaging the carbon fibre.

The NZ-made Titanium Spikecender on the KK Carbons has the gaff portion fully integrated into the foot ascender. The shape of the gaff is a cross between the American ‘Short’ pole gaff and Gecko Euro-style.

The KK Carbons are also available without the Titanium Spikecender.

The gaff attachment holes are identical to the Distel Gecko climbers so all three styles of the Gecko gaff will fit directly to the KK Carbons.

Aluminium KK Spikecender a winner

Perhaps the most exciting product in the range, due for worldwide release late November, is the milled aluminium KK Spikecender.

This ascending device is independent of the gaff and can be retrofitted to the KK Carbons or the Distel Geckos (Carbon or Classic) utilising the existing Gecko gaffs.

The aluminium KK Spikecender bolts directly to the shaft, beneath the existing gaff, and tucks well out of the way beside your heel.

The use of the KK Spikecender ensures smooth management of slack, while keeping your climbing line out of harms way when ascending SRT or DbRT.

Milled from aircraft grade aluminium and featuring a NZ-made Titanium ‘toothed’ cam, the KK Spikecender runs far smoother than any of the other foot ascender brands currently on the market.

Dale has lightly tensioned the Titanium cam which seems to resist the tendency to create a bight in the rope on ascent - this is a real bonus.

The aluminium KK Spikecender can only be used when attached to stirrups – KK Carbons or Distel Gecko.

Posted by Richard Tregoweth Google+

New winch-bollard from Stein

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Here's an interesting new rigging product designed by Reg Coates and manufactured and marketed worldwide by Stein - due for release early next year.

The video is delivered in typical Reg Coates fashion making for good entertainment in itself - check out Reg's hard hat.

Posted by Richard Tregoweth Google+

Certified? Fit-for-purpose? Or both? Who cares?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The last decade has seen quantum leaps and bounds in the development of arb specific work-at-height equipment.

In the early days, the 'company' acceptance of equipment in the New Zealand arb market was largely dependent on certification, mostly EN, ANSI and AS/NZ.

If a piece of equipment was ‘rated’, parlance for a ‘standard’ stamped onto the article in question, it was naturally considered good to go for tree work especially if the indicator included the magical 22kN figure.

The market acceptance of a ‘standard’ displayed on a piece of equipment produced all sorts of anomalies in the industry – not to mention confusion and ignorance.

Confusion and ignorance a deliberate strategy

In some cases confusion and ignorance was a deliberate strategy manufactured by the brand owners – having ‘certification’ for your product is expensive to attain but damn good for business, regardless the fact the standard in question is useless, or worse still downright dangerous in some applications.

Gear can tick all the boxes. It can be fully certified. But can it safely perform the job it was intended to do. Is it indeed fit-for-purpose?

And the vice versa is also true.

Some equipment, in particular configurations of equipment from multiple manufacturers, a common practice in tree work, is fit-for-purpose but lacks any form of suitable certification.

A management dilemma

Consequently, companies developing best practice guidelines for workers performing tasks at height on rope are required to achieve a high level of sophistication in identifying what is certified and what is not.

And, what equipment and configurations are fit-for-purpose, acceptable for company use, yet lacking internationally recognized certification.

To assist the management team in coming to the right decision on these matters, professional development company Pro Climb have invited Treemagineer Mark Bridge to New Zealand to conduct a series of workshops exploring the subject of certification and fit-for-purpose on rope.

Mark is recognized as a world authority on the subject.

The Mark Bridge Workshops will explore the limits of certification, or rather, different approaches to certification and how these limits and approaches relate to real world applications when workers are operating at height on rope.

Two workshops are planned; one in Christchurch on Friday October 10 and the other in Auckland on Tuesday October 14 – follow this link for more details.

Posted by Richard Tregoweth Google+

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