Rope is essential to high rise technicians and is frequently used by low rise cleaners for residential rooftop safety. Do you ever wonder how your rope is made? Hazen, abc’s business development manager, visited Teufelberger (New England Ropes) and got a tour from Rob Manson, who walked him through the whole process. Though we generally consider ourselves pretty knowledgeable about rope and safety equipment, seeing the process behind the scenes gave us a new appreciation for how much goes into making the gear.
Who is New England Rope
New England is a rope manufacturer founded in 1967 and based in Massachusetts. They were the first company to make Kernmantle rope in the America’s (that’s the type of rope that window cleaners most commonly use). Their parent company Teufelberger (pronounced Toy-Full-Burger), has been around since 1790 and acquired New England in 2007. Teufelberger is based in Austria and is family-run to this day. They are the world’s largest manufacturer of life safety rope, and that’s only 20% of their business! New England makes ropes for a wide variety of industries, including marine, arbor, equestrian, and of course, rope descent. They have factories all over the world. The US factory alone is 140,000 square feet and operates 24/7. All of that dedicated to making the highest quality rope in the world.
How It’s Made
“Rope starts with tiny strands of raw fiber, thinner than human hair,” Rob explained. “They come in package solution died to the final color that they need to be.” The strands go through a series of steps to weave them together into ever thicker cords. The raw fibers are twisted together into singles yarn. Half of the strands are twisted clockwise, and the other half is twisted counter-clockwise. “Twisting them in different directions is what keeps your rope from unwinding.”
From there, the singles yarn is twisted into plied yarns, then strands, and finally twisted or braided into the final rope. KMIII, the most popular rope in the window cleaning industry, is a kernmantle rope, so 32 strands of polyester are braided around a nylon core in an intricate pattern. The rope is pulled at an even rate and fed onto a spool.
Why New England Is The Window Cleaner’s Choice
We asked Rob what it is that makes New England the number one RDS rope for windows cleaners. “Quality! We have a 200% quality control process. Every millimeter of life safety rope is examined by a laser detector for defects and then hand examined by a real person.” New England takes safety and quality extremely seriously. “KMIII is also very low stretch and durable,” he said. High rise window washers are famously hard on their gear, so having durable rope is essential. And, KMIII has unique technology that minimizes sheath slippage when the rope is wet, another plus for cleaners that are constantly getting their rope wet. Sheath slippage can make it hard for your rope to go through your descenders and grabs and cause potential safety hazards.
Thanks to New England and Rob Manson for making great products and for giving us a behind the scenes look! We are more in love than ever with New England and all of its products. Have any questions about rope? Check out this post for more info or leave a question in the comments below. Ready to buy? Check out New England ropes and more safety products on our site.