Another workday begins. The sky is your office. The ground is your opposition.
Minutes into your shift, your toes are dangling hundreds of feet in the air, your body is suspended by rope no thicker than your index finger, but your mind is focused only on the task at hand when you put great trust in your equipment.
In fact, the last thing you want is a single worry about where you are and the things that could go wrong way up there. Anxiety can bring mistakes. Mistakes could be deadly.
“It’s a totally unnatural environment for the human mind,” says Dirk Dorenbos, a rope access professional who has spent years repairing and maintaining signage, lighting, fire sprinklers and more while perched high atop steep commercial structures.
“You’ve got to keep your wits about you. We call it having a head for heights. But that just means being comfortable and trusting your equipment,” Dorenbos adds. “With the equipment that I use, I am quite comfortable. Somedays, you feel like Superman and the views are fantastic.”
He has good reason. Dorenbos, founder of Ropes Edge in western Canada, invented a line of rope access equipment that safeguards both the ropes and his life while he & his team work suspended on rope.
Now, those products – created with HP 3D-printing solutions – are in use among hundreds of other rope access technicians around the world.
The Edge and the Vortex both protect a technician’s ropes that would otherwise become worn when stretched over sharp and abrasive surfaces, peaks, and crowns of soaring structures by workers performing repairs and installations. The Edge is designed for ropes and anchor slings that are rigged around steel plate like I-beams. The Vortex is designed for ropes that are rigged through walkway grating and grid mesh found both on and offshore industrial sites.