Rope for the best

Gleistein Ropes manufactures and distributes high quality ropes that are used throughout a variety of industries. Over the course of its 186 year history, the company has earned an enviable reputation through continual innovation and a firm focus on customer service, thereby gaining rewarding contracts with major companies such as Puma and Royal Caribbean International, to name but a few. Well-known brands like DynaOne are part of its extensive product portfolio and extreme, forward-looking applications including the large vessel’s kitepropulsion project, SkySails, are testimony to its innovative power.

A fully family-operated company since 1824, Gleistein Ropes has constantly produced ropes that have been at the cutting edge of their time. Today Thomas Schlätzer and his cousin Klaus Walther manage the company – the eighth generation of the family to do so – owning manufacturing facilities in Bremen, Germany, and Trencin, Slovakia. Further sales outlets are located in France, Germany, Great Britain, Sweden and the US.

The company has a broad portfolio comprising 5500 different products for virtually all types of applications from the weekend dinghy to the world’s largest and most expensive super yachts, mooring lines for cruise liners to anchor lines for offshore oil rigs, as well as for all types of landbased industrial uses from climbing ropes to roller lappings. Among Gleistein’s most renowned products is the ultra-light, high break load and low elongation sythetic fibre DynaOne range. Thomas Schlätzer, managing director, discusses this range further: “This is an impressive product that has a lifetime of up to 15 to 20 times longer than standard steel wire ropes. It has been designed to focus on heavy-duty applications and can lift weights up to 700 metric tonnes.” This makes the rope an ideal choice for use in situations such as tanker winches and super yacht davit cranes.

The longstanding success of Gleistein Ropes can be attributed to a variety of factors including a focus on staying at the forefront of technology, its dedication to customers and of course the high quality of its products. Rather than making mass-produced, standardised items, the company prefers to work with clients to produce solutions tailored exactly to the needs and demands of their specific environment. One such example is SkySails, a German company that has designed an innovative kite-based propulsion system for use by large ocean-going vessels. These chutes offer ships a source of wind power and can reduce fuel consumption by between ten and 35 per cent. As its technology partner, Gleistein Ropes has specially-created a unique towing rope made of ultra-strong Dyneema fibres that is capable of handling between 16 and 32 tonnes of pulling force.

Several challenges need to be tackled when developing new products, and these often depend on the function they will serve. For example, when designing tugboat towing ropes, the company’s synthetic fibre ropes have one immediate advantage in being around one seventh the weight of steel wire counterparts. However, the challenge comes in making these same lines resistant against abrasion and cutting. Another challenging example is to achieve the necessary compaction and cross-section stability for safe use in winch systems.

Gleistein Ropes runs a dedicated research and development laboratory to overcome such difficulties. Ongoing investments for updating the technology have ensured the facility is among the most advanced of its kind in the world. Schlätzer explains the lab in greater detail: “We are able to test the strength of ropes up to 300 metric tonnes. That’s something that is very uncommon in other labs particularly because you need to have a long bench to test elongating lines. Besides that, we carry out full load cycling tests, which predict the behaviour and performance of ropes over their lifetime. The lab has a dedicated staff of about eight full time equivalents to develop these products and carry out quality assurance.”

The reliability of Gleistein Ropes’ products has seen them gain contracts with some incredibly high profile clients. Apart from the previously mentioned SkySails, the company supplied Puma Ocean Racing with a number of items from its GeoYacht range, as well as further items, during the team’s entry into the Volvo Ocean Race of 2008 to 2009. A similar appointment has seen the company working with Team Origin in its America’s Cup bid. Mooring lines for the world’s two largest ocean liners – MS Oasis of the Seas and MS Allure of the Seas – have been engineered by Gleistein to be lightweight and better to handle, whilst their high strength means each ship needs only 24 lines.

These and other contracts have ensured a steady stream of business even through the financial crisis. Though it was impacted during 2009 by decreased business, this year has seen business regenerate to nearly pre-crisis levels. Thomas Schlätzer comments on his hopes for the future of the industry: “I hope to see operational managers really open their eyes to new solutions that might be a little more expensive in the short term but much cheaper in the long-term. For example, synthetic fibre ropes are more flexible and easier to handle than steel wire ropes and that means they are time saving and even cost saving. Besides that, they are also a lot safer.

“We are on a very good track in terms of developing new products and ensuring the quality of our existing portfolio, and of course we will always focus on the needs of our customers. There are always two sides, on one is the external market, which you cannot always rely on to be good to you, and on the other is our own responsibility to create prospects. The future is something we must take responsibility for.”

Manufactures leading quality industrial-grade ropes

Numerous high profile clients

Almost 200 years of industry experience