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Fiber-based slings support heavy nuclear turbines

Advanced Textiles | March 1, 2009 | By:

How do you replace a huge rotor at the Susquehanna Nuclear Power Plant in Pennsylvania without risking accidents or down time? SlingMax Rigging Solutions, Aston, Pa., pioneered synthetic slings in the mid-1980s, and handled the rotor replacement using Twin-Path® slings with K-Spec® cores that include Kuraray America Inc.’s liquid crystal polymer Vectran® fibers. Traditional wire rope slings can weigh 90 percent more than fiber-based Twin-Path slings, which have hoisted nuclear turbines weighing as much as 250 tons.

Shutting down nuclear plants for maintenance is a $1 million per day loss, so “nuclear turbine lifts have to be done with surgical precision,” says Dennis St. Germain, CEO of SlingMax. The benefits of the super-strong synthetic slings are ease of deployment, light weight (a single worker can carry a sling), abrasion resistance to protect against machinery damage, easier storage and less heavy equipment required in the lift. The most important advantage, however, is efficiency; by getting the equipment in place rapidly, the plant is on line sooner, workers are less exposed to radiation, and inspection is easier to accomplish. National Geographic’s series, “The World’s Toughest Fixes,” featured the Twin-Path slings in November lifting the Susquehanna Nuclear Power Plant rotor and getting power going again to a million homes. For more information, visit

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