The question asked by tree climbers planning to use the NOTCH RopeRunner Pro at work or in the Tree Climbing Competitions: is there a difference between the non-CE and CE marked RopeRunner Pro devices?
The answer: No difference, apart from the marking itself.
Of course, the 'no difference' answer oversimplifies the situation somewhat.
The Conformité Européenne (CE) certification mark on the device shows the equipment meets standards for distribution and use in Europe by arborists and others who work at height.
The comprehensive certification process makes the CE mark tough to achieve. Along with successful physical testing against a specific standard (EN 12841 in the case of the RopeRunner Pro), getting certified also includes a review of the manufacturing and quality control processes.
Among the 1%: Notch Rope Runner Pro.
According to NOTCH, the certification process was complicated for the RopeRunner Pro (RRP). Why? When NOTCH started the process, the RRP was outside the scope of any current European Standard (EN) for personal protective equipment (PPE). In addition, there are currently no standards in the EU specifically for arboriculture. That meant the specification needed to be written and approved, and then VVUU, the certifying organization, could use those performance requirements to gauge whether to grant the CE mark. As it happens, this particular certification path happens to only 1% of all PPE certified for the EU market.
"The real difficulty comes from the popular single rope technique," says Travis Shipman, Quality Manager at Notch Equipment. "The closest applicable standard is EN 12841, but it requires a backup line and safety device separate from the working line." That unique use case demonstrates why the new specification was necessary.
What kind of testing did the RRP need to undergo? Shipman shared these examples:
- Static testing to ensure that it can hold a specific amount of weight for a particular amount of time
- Heat dissipation testing to ensure the end-user can continuously operate the device without burning their hands
- Descent velocity testing to ensure the end-user can maintain a reasonable descent rate
Notch Rope RunnerPro approved for the ITCC.
So yes, the CE mark is essential, but there is no difference between the two devices currently on the market. The CE marked RopeRunner Pro is identical to the non-CE marked device, apart from the laser etching.
The NOTCH RopeRunner Pro is on the approved mechanical and stationary rope work positioning device list for the ITCC, effective 2 December 2021. However, it is necessary to use the CE marked RopeRunner Pro version in Europe (much like the ISC/Singing Tree Rope Wrench).
Now that the NOTCH RopeRunner Pro is finally CE marked, Treetools will only stock this model in the future (on depletion of the current stock). In addition, the CE-marked, limited edition 'Green' RopeRunner Pro is also on the way.