The Beginning of Rope Access

Rope access has been around for many years now. In the 1930s, men were seated on a wooden plank called a Bosuns’ Chair and lowered down on the end of a rope.

Even the ancient Egyptians used to lower men on ropes made from reed fibres to suspend workers so they could perform tasks at height.

In the 1970s, workers learned techniques from climbing and caving to position themselves to access difficult-to-reach locations.

The industry quickly moved offshore to solve the problems with access in such a challenging environment.

In the late 1980s, several companies decided to form IRATA (Industrial Rope Access Trade Association). Their goal was to create a safe working environment for the industry.

IRATA is now recognised worldwide as the leading authority on industrial rope access, with over 570 member companies. They’ve trained over 130,000 rope access technicians around the World.


Instability on Ropes

Rope access is the number one way of carrying out work on difficult-to-access structures and locations and is the best system for completing work safely and quickly, often without disruption to other work being carried out nearby.

However, when performing work on some structures, such as wind turbines, ship hulls, and offshore structures, the rope access technician starts to have difficulty with stability. When performing tasks such as blasting and spraying, for example. The usual method of having to “tie in” to provide the necessary support is difficult and impractical in a lot of these cases.

Newton’s third law of motion states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. This is witnessed during rope access activities when a technician is suspended by ropes and attempting to perform work on a substrate. Tasks such as blasting, spraying, grinding, drilling, welding, and most other mechanical actions create force.

The force applied by the activity naturally pushes the technician away from the substrate being worked on, causing a problem of stability for the technician involved.

Cladding repair using rope access techniques

Solving the Stability Issue

To help solve this age-old problem, Abfad Limited has developed and patented a Magnetic Positioning Aid for use with rope access techniques.

The Magnet System allows the rope access technician to securely lock and anchor themselves into place on any ferrous structures thus counteracting the forces that would push them away. It gives the stability needed to carry out any work confidently and with precision.

Abfad’s Magnet System has been a success since it was developed and has been consistently improved upon; its current form is the best yet.

The system has been rigorously tested during its development, including by the TWI (The Welding Institute), who also tested the pull-off strength of the magnets.

Every Magnetic Positioning Aid that’s manufactured today is also tested on a 70mm thick steel plate to ensure its pull-off rating is at least 355kgs, giving them exceptional holding power.

Rope access coating on Wembley Arch

Work with Confidence

Using a Magnet System provides a clear advantage to productivity, increasing the speed work can be completed by stabilising the technician on any ferrous structure and allowing them to carry out any activity with greater precision and accuracy.

The Magnet System has been sold around the World and used in many projects both onshore and offshore.

Mechanical installation to offshore met mast using rope access

Our Magnetic Positioning Aid solves the problem with stability when working from ropes. Many companies around the World have now added this Magnet System as part of there kit. Make your next project easier, find out more information here on our website.