85 years Dolezych – An interview with Udo & Tim Dolezych (Owner family of Dolezych Group)
You both took over the management of the company from your fathers. Was that a matter of course for you or did you originally plan something else?
Udo Dolezych: That was already clear during my school days. That’s why I studied business administration in order to be prepared for my future role in the company. If I had known at that time how much technology was connected with our products, I would have added a technical degree. I then learned this through practical experience. But I envy Tim a little for his engineer… (laughs)
Tim Dolezych: With me it was similar to my father. When I studied economics at the latest, it was clear to me that I too wanted to join the company.
In your opinion, what were the decisive milestones in Dolezych’s this year 85-year history?
the introduction of textile products at the end of the 1970s, which made us a
full-range supplier of lifting and lashing equipment – since the mid-1980s also
including service offers such as testing service, maintenance and seminars.
Another important step was the opening of our Polish branch in Katowice in
1992, which heralded the internationalization of Dolezych. Of course, it was
always challenging and decisive to develop our company technically, for example
by further developing IT or by converting to automated production processes.
the most exciting project at Dolezych that you were able to accompany?
company foundations in Poland, China and Chile That was an extremely
interesting and exciting time in which I learned a lot.
addition to founding the company in the USA, I am particularly fascinated by
the current projects related to digitization because I know that we are
actively setting the course for our future here.
You have recently reformulated the company’s philosophy (see our website www.dolezych.de). How does the current version differ from the old one?
Dolezych: We have
been working hard recently to formulate our brand core and corporate identity.
The newly formulated philosophy reflects both aspects much more precisely. In
addition, in line with our mission and vision, it emphasizes that customer
benefit is the focus of our daily activities – this focus was particularly
important to us.
the characteristic „family business“ express itself concretely in
employees see that we as a family stand behind them and the company. The
decision-making paths are short, our doors are always open and there is a lot
of freedom to make decisions. All in all, things here are very personal – in
contrast to a corporate group, where the individual tends to remain anonymous.
This trust is returned to us by the employees, who in turn stand loyally behind
competition on the market has become fiercer, especially in recent years. Even
products of inferior quality are irritating the industry. At the end of 2018,
for example, the Fachverband Seile und Anschlagmittel e. V. (Association of
Ropes and Slings) discovered serious defects in lashing belts – even in belts
with the GS mark. What strategies are you using to counter these developments?
Dolezych: Yes, it
is indeed a great challenge. Unfortunately, the low-priced products are often
of inferior quality.
addition, fraudulent labelling sometimes leads to healthy apples being confused
with rotten apples – to put it quite metaphorically. The poor quality is often
not apparent to the customer because the products‘ quality characteristics such
as breaking strength, load-bearing capacity, abrasion resistance, etc. and thus
their functional reliability are not apparent. They can only be determined with
the help of complex tests and QA measures. We have to inform regularly about
the effort we put into this and thus strengthen the confidence in our quality
addition, from our point of view it remains important to be an innovation
driver – in other words, to do what companies with less technical expertise
cannot do. To do this, we also need highly trained personnel to offer our
customers the greatest possible benefit.
challenges await Dolezych in the coming years?
Dolezych: I think
the continuous task remains to manoeuvre the company through times of an
unsettled global economy. The customs dispute between the USA and China or the
corona virus are just two examples of current developments to which we must
find the right answers for our business. Such challenges are unlikely to
diminish in the coming years.
Dolezych: I think
it will also be about dealing with digital progress and creating new
opportunities for us. We will all have to educate ourselves in completely new
areas like AI. Intelligent products, for example for autonomous driving, offer
exciting tasks. It will be important to approach any topic openly,
solution-oriented and with energy.
complete supplier of lifting and load securing solutions, Dolezych has a very
broad target group. Where do you see further potential and in which areas do
you want to grow even more in the future?
Dolezych: We would
like to continue to strengthen the retail trade in the future, for example
through innovations. And large industrial end users also need a high-quality
production and consulting program. This is where we are in demand as a
specialist to make the customer’s work safer and easier.
closing. Thank you very much for your time!
Remember? In the last issue of Dolezych Aktuell (German customer magazine, autumn 2019) we introduced Winfried Röhn. The 51-year-old engineer works in the test laboratory of our German parent company Dolezych as a member of the quality assurance team and in 2017 (almost unnoticed by his colleagues) completed a part-time mechanical engineering degree.
Now we were allowed to accompany his colleague Halina Kampa during the serial testing of a lashing strap. Her professional career is also exciting, as her path led her from being a bank clerk and physiotherapist to Dolezych in 2015 as a prospective industrial mechanic.
Extensive test preparations
Before we can start with the actual test procedures, the test conditions must be recorded in detail in special test software on the computer. The date, the product description, the name of the tester, the temperature – everything is documented in detail. Once this preparatory work is done, the „real“ work can begin.
It keeps its promises – and more
„Part of a series test for a lashing strap according to EN 12195-2 are a load test, a webbing test and a tensile test. Our quality assurance system has a binding specification as to how many straps per batch size are randomly selected and tested“, Halina Kampa explains. We start with a load test in which the lashing strap inserted in the testing machine is tensioned with 1.25 times its LC (lashing capacity) and held for one minute. If the lashing belt shows no or only slight deformations or faults (as defined in the standard), the test is passed. Today’s (not surprising) result: passed with flying colors! A tensile test is then carried out to check whether the belt system, including hook and ratchet, reaches the required minimum breaking force. Here too, our tested lashing strap delivers what its label promises. Between the individual tests Halina Kampa runs to the computer again and again to enter the test parameters and the subsequent results. The last thing she has to do is successfully complete the webbing test, which consists of a tensile test (here the webbing is loaded with 3 times the LC of the lashing strap) and an elongation test (according to the standard max. 7%, Dolezych guarantees even max. 5%). The lashing strap tested by Halina Kampa also passes both tests without any problems.
Safety beyond the norm
All in all,
our visit – and therefore the testing process for just one lashing strap –
takes about half an hour (usually a random sample of three lashing straps is
even tested). Contrary to what one would expect, however, the inspection
process itself takes up the least amount of time. „The test pre- and
-postprocessing is what is very time-consuming, because all the values and
settings have to be precisely documented,“ explains Halina Kampa.
„But however complex the whole thing may be – in the final analysis, it is
not just a question of acting in accordance with the standard as a
manufacturer, but of supplying our customers with high-quality and safe
products. This is worth the effort“.
For those who want to know exactly
series inspection of a random sample of three lashing belts takes about 1 ½
hour, and an overall inspection (e.g. for initial samples) even takes a whole
day. Binding test components are specified in the standard DIN EN 12195-2:
Series testing: load test, webbing test, tensile test
Overall test: load test, webbing test, tensile test, hand lever test, cycle & pretension test
Moving freight around the country is hard enough, but just imagine your load takes four trucks with four drivers to manage.
“[We had] a demethanizer that was transported 653 miles, traversed steep grades through harsh winter conditions in the Rocky Mountains, weighed 1,192,000 pounds gross (a 270-ton payload), had a 186-foot vessel length, and measured 430 feet truck-to-truck from front to back,” says Ace Carter, and engineer for Northwest Logistics Heavy Haul, which is part of Northwest Companies, a family of companies in Oklahoma that has specialized in moving components of heavy industry since 1968.
As a heavy hauler, Northwest’s fleet faces obstacles that other carriers do not, including a lack of state harmonization regarding permit restrictions, traffic control, access to proper parking, expensive specialized and often very custom equipment, specialized equipment maintenance expenses, additional fuel expenses, and a limited driver pool, since extensive experience is required to haul some of the monstrous loads that the fleet handles. This includes jobsite and/or customer-specific safety orientation and training; specialized trailer features, i.e., hydraulic, pneumatic, or electrical systems; fall protection; and oversize/overweight load securement.
It takes more than just a few straps to secure these loads to Northwest’s trailers, which is why they started looking for an alternative to the process they had in place.
Using materials such as carpet, rubber, fire hose, and other liners for the required chains was necessary to keep everything in place while protecting the load, as well as requiring more time to apply. The liners reduced any chance of the steel chains scratching the painted finish on some of the tanks the company transports.
The process involved was also cumbersome. It would take two men to set the 30-foot chains in position, depending on the tank. After one worker threw a guide rope over the tank, the employee on the opposite side of the trailer would then pull the chain up and over the vessel as the first person helped feed it.
“The act of simply securing the tanks was time-consuming and physically demanding,” Carter says.
The process has since been improved by using Doleco’s DoNova® PowerLash Textile Lashing Chain and Tie-down System, which uses fiber links instead of steel and comes in the same 30-foot lengths. The fiber chains weigh 85% less and have a 22,000-pound working load limit, compared to the 15,000 WWL of the half-inch steel chains they replaced. “So now we only needed 10 tie-downs to do the job of 14 steel chains,” Carter says.
The new equipment not only saves time, it also saves the crew from straining themselves just carrying the tiedowns to the trailer. Carrying the fiber chains from their storage location on the truck or support vehicle to each securement point on the trailer has reduced fatigue and the potential for injuries, according to Carter.
Securing a load on an open-deck trailer presents a unique set of challenges, with no walls to contain cargo. Those who secure the payload to the trailer’s structure (most often the driver) have to be knowledgeable about federal regulations, understand some basic laws of physics, and be familiar with the characteristics of the trailer they are hauling. If they don’t, it can result in the accumulation of CSA points, an out-of-service citation, or a catastrophic cargo securement failure.
Cargo types can vary significantly, with materials such as lumber, metal coils, pipe, crushed vehicles, boulders, and everything in between. Heavy-haul drop deck and lowboy trailers may carry large, articulating equipment to and from off-highway worksites. Or oversize loads, like a 56-ton wind turbine nacelle, might be on the bill of lading.
Some fleets and drivers specialize in hauling a particular type of cargo and can become quite proficient at the process of securing it. Many others deal with significant variability, which can lead to trouble.
Know the Regulations
There is no substitute for a thorough understanding of federal regulations. In North America, the official regulations are governed by two key entities. In the United States, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration establishes the regulations. In Canada, the regulations are set forth by the National Safety Code Standard 10 — Cargo Securement (NSC 10).
(Canada’s NSC-10 lumps 7, 8 and 9 into a “Vehicles” category.)
FMCSA regulations are informed by standards published by The Web Sling and Tie Down Association (WSTDA) regarding recommended standard specification for load securement devices, including synthetic web tie-downs, winches used with web tie-downs, and load binders used with chain tie-downs. The WSTDA standards detail definitions, construction, testing procedures, and operating practices for tie-downs, winches, and load binders. The National Association of Chain Manufacturers writes the standards for steel chain used for load securement.
Do the Math
When moving, an open-deck trailer is a dynamic environment that exerts physical forces on the cargo it bears. As soon as a trailer begins to roll, the mechanical action and movement of the trailer is transferred to its cargo. In order to secure cargo to the deck of a trailer successfully, one must understand the basic forces at hand and how they can cause a payload to shift, tip, slide and otherwise become unstable.
The gravitational force equivalent, most commonly referred to as “g-force,” is the most important part of the equation, and it is represented as simply “g.” One g is basically equal to something’s weight here on earth. Knowing the weight of the cargo is necessary to understand performance criteria for the breaking strength and related working load limit (WLL) of tie-down assemblies (including chains, wire rope, steel strapping, synthetic webbing and cordage) and other attachments or fastening devices used to secure articles of cargo. All such devices are manufactured to include clearly marked information on WLL — and these must remain legible for tie-down assemblies to remain in service.
According to FMCSA regulations for performance criteria, cargo securement devices and systems must be capable of withstanding the following three forces, applied separately:
0.8 g (or 80% of the weight of the cargo) deceleration in the forward direction;
0.5 g (or 50% of the weight of the cargo) acceleration in the rearward direction; and
0.5 g (or 50% of the weight of the cargo) acceleration in a lateral direction.
Securement systems must provide a downward force equivalent to at least 20% of the weight of the article of cargo if the article is not fully contained within the structure of a vehicle.
WSTDA has established the design factor of tie-down straps as 3:1, or a WLL of 1/3 of the tie-down strap’s breaking strength. For chains, the design factor is 4:1 or a WLL of 1/4 of the chain’s breaking strength.
The combined ratings of all the straps or chains must equal at least half the load’s total weight. If the load is 40,000 pounds, the aggregate WLL of all the tie-downs together must equal at least 20,000 pounds.
Along with FMCSA guidelines, ensure that these four critical conditions are met:
cargo should be fully contained and supported by the flatbed structure and should be restrained from any horizontal or vertical movement;
cargo should be fully restrained from shifting or tipping over by the truck’s structure and blocking implements of adequate strength, and
cargo should be completely immobilized by appropriately applied tie-downs so it can withstand the required g-forces in all directions.
Consideration should be given to the angle from the horizontal tie-down to its anchor point on the trailer, as this affects the downward pressure. The lower the angle, the less pressure and friction against the load. This may result in the need for additional tie-downs.
Often overlooked, the angle of a tie-down assembly can significantly decrease the amount of downward pressure exerted on a load, reducing friction between tiers of stacked cargo, and ultimately, against the deck. As an example, at a 30-degree angle, a tie-down may only be able to exert 50% of its effective downward pressure, which under certain circumstances may allow some cargo, including sheeted materials, to slide or become unstable.
The noted angle factors assume equal tension on all parts of the tie-down assembly, but in reality, tie-down tension varies from side-to-side due to friction on the cargo. So the effective downward pressure impact on actual load securement is compounded.
In all cases, chains and straps face limits on cuts, breaks and other defects as defined in a Defect Classification Table in the CVSA guidelines. Inspectors use the Out Of Service Guideline when examining a vehicle’s cargo securement. It’s wise to make chain and strap inspection a part of any cargo securement process.
Size Things Up
Load securement requires some planning and an assessment of the vehicle, the tie-down appropriate for a particular load, and the load itself. Good securement starts with a clean, safe and structurally sound trailer. It is also important to inspect and verify that the critical components of the vehicle involved in the securement are in good condition and are not weakened or corroded. Of particular importance are the deck structure and the anchor points for the tie-down.
The system or systems one chooses should depend on the characteristics of the load. Is it configured as one piece or as constituent pieces? Will it be prone to sliding? Does it have sharp corners that could cut through webbing? Does it have engineered anchor points that allow for “direct” securement attaching to the article, or nothing to attach to, requiring “indirect” securement that passes through, over or around the article? The cargo itself must also be strong enough to withstand the pressure of securement without becoming damaged.
In addition to traditional cargo securement and fastening devices such as binders, winches and hooks, there are a variety of tools that can be employed to enhance cargo securement effectiveness. Wood or rubber chocks may be added to promote stability. Corner protectors can be used to cover sharp edges that could cut webbing and to distribute downward force, avoiding edge-crushing damage to cargo such as shingles. Netting can be applied to unitize otherwise unstable cargo. Anti-slip mats can increase the coefficient of friction between the load and the load-bearing surface.
It’s Not Over Till It’s Over
Even if cargo is expertly secured at the outset, once it and the trailer are on the move, things can and will change. Per FMCSA 392.9, Inspection of Cargo, Cargo Securement Devices and Systems, drivers are required to inspect cargo before driving the vehicle and no more than 49.7 miles (80 kilometers) from where the cargo is loaded.
Periodic inspection of cargo securement devices and systems is mandatory when:
There is a change of duty status for the driver, or
The vehicle has been driven more than three hours, or
The vehicle has been driven for 149.129 miles (240 kilometers).
Ralph Abato has been an active member of the Web Sling and Tie Down Association for more than 30 years. He has served as vice president, as technical chairman of both tie-down and sling committees, and currently serves on WSTDA’s board of directors. Abato is also president/managing director, Doleco USA. This article was authored and edited according to HDT editorial standards and style to provide useful information to our readers.
Patented new Do-Ra Ratcheting securement delivers twice the length, making chain retensioning easier
Doleco USA, a manufacturer of lifting, sling and load-securing technologies, including the DoNova® PowerLash Textile Lashing Chain, recently introduced a patented DoRa Ratcheting Load Binder.
The new DoRa, which is 20% shorter than a standard load binder, fits into tighter spaces but expands to enable users to reach twice as far as any other. The compact size and extra length of the DoRa save users time and trouble, because they don’t have to detach and reattach chains when periodically retensioning cargo, Doleco said.
Load securement devices commonly slacken as cargo shifts during vehicle movement. Drivers are required to inspect their cargo and its securement before driving their vehicle and after traveling 49.7 miles (80 kilometers) from where the cargo is loaded. Periodic inspections also are mandatory when there is a change in duty status for the driver, the vehicle has been driven more than three hours or the vehicle has been driven for 149.127 miles (240 kilometers).
Regular retensioning of cargo securement chains is a repetitive task for drivers but is crucial to keeping loads safely anchored to their vehicle platforms. But the job of retensioning can become far more cumbersome when a load binder becomes completely retracted. Unable to take up more slack, the user must fully loosen the binder in order to disconnect the chain, extend the spindles for more tensioning distance and then reconnect to a new link in the chain.
Removing the chain from a load binder’s clevis hook for tensioning also can present safety concerns, because at those moments, cargo is no longer fully secure and can become unstable. Cargo instability is of particular concern with loads of logs, pipe and materials with similar characteristics.
“With double the tensioning length, our patented DoRa Ratcheting Load Binder virtually eliminates the time and effort needed to disengage cargo securement chains for retensioning,” said Ralph Abato, president and managing director of Doleco USA. “And by engineering the DoRa to be 20% shorter than standard load binders, it can fit in spaces others simply can’t.”
The key to the DoRa Ratcheting Load Binder’s compact size and tensioning length is its patented spindle-in-a-spindle ratchet configuration, the company maintained. The design allows the ratchet housing to be significantly shorter by enabling one threaded spindle to retract by screwing inside the other. When extended, the DoRa’s longer spindle length gives users twice the tensioning distance of other load binders, allowing users to start out with a tighter chain and perform multiple retensionings without the need to disengage the binder’s clevis hooks from its chains.
“The DoRa’s longer spindles enable drivers to reach farther, so less exertion is required to remove slack from chains during initial tensioning,” Abato said. “The longer spindles also mean more reserve length is available for periodic chain retensioning.”
Since the majority of cargo securement applications will involve steel chains, the DoRa comes standard with clevis hooks. However, the DoRa Ratcheting Load Binder also is designed to work as a system with Doleco’s DoNova® PowerLash Textile Lashing Chain, and for those applications can be ordered with a slip hook and keeper on both ends of its spindles.
Doleco’s fabric chain is made of high-performance Dyneema® fiber. Dyneema®’s high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) material is 15 times stronger than steel chain by weight, and up to 85% lighter—so lightweight it floats on water, Doleco claimed. The DoNova® PowerLash Textile Lashing Chain has low moisture absorption, is self-lubricating, highly resistant to corrosive chemicals, and 15% more resistant to abrasion than carbon steel. The textile chain is available with a working load limit (WLL) as high as 22,000 pounds, more than that of half-inch steel chains and just under the 22,600-pound WLL of 5/8-inch steel chain.
It was at the crack of dawn on a crisp and foggy February day, when a 6-strong team of Dolezych and DSM Dyneema® employees set off, accompanied by a film director and cameraman. The target destination was the Bauhof Neckarsteinach of the Wasserstraßen- und Schifffahrtsamt (WSA, Water and Shipping Authority) Heidelberg (Germany), which on this particular occasion was to be the shooting location for the latest DoNova® PowerLift demonstration video.
In its function as the local authority of the water and shipping administration of the federal government, the WSA Heidelberg is responsible for the supervision of about 112 km of waterways of the Neckar River (from Mannheim to Heilbronn-Horkheim, Germany). The aim is to keep the water level of the Neckar constant to enable shipping. The weirs enable the accumulation of the water in order to guarantee a sufficient depth of the shipping channel. If the flow rate is too high, the weirs are opened to enable the water to flow more quickly into the Rhine. To ensure the proper function of this system, the WSA Heidelberg operates and maintains 12 (partly very old) weir systems and 25 lock chambers.
For this, the Bauhof Neckarsteinach relies on the textile chain DoNova® PowerLift. The robust textile chains consist of the high-performance fiber Dyneema® from the Dutch corporation DSM; the Dortmund-based company Dolezych GmbH & Co. KG used these fibers as a basis to develop the Dekra-certified lifting and lashing chains for easy and safe working. DoNova® PowerLift lifting chains are ideal for the transportation of the sensitive drive cylinders, which have to be regularly overhauled and replaced to ensure smooth operation of the locks. The heavy cylinders, weighing more than 2 tons, are kept on transport frames and lifted for inspection in the workshop and on the maintenance ship, which is equipped with a crane, by means of four-leg DoNova® PowerLift lifting chains. It is from there that the installation of the drive cylinders at the locks is performed.
„We have purchased the PowerLift mainly because of the low weight and excellent handling. The ergonomic benefits are certainly a tremendous relief in the light of so many lifting procedures“, declares Rüdiger Böhme, Head of the Bauhof Neckarsteinach. And Sidney Beutler, apprentice inland sailor and user of the DoNova® PowerLift, adds: „When working with steel chains we used to frequently hurt ourselves. That is now no problem thanks to the soft textile chain.“ Another advantage of the abrasion-resistant textile chain with a working load limit of up to 23,148 lbs. is the protection of the drive cylinders against damage, which can quickly occur when working with steel chains, and which would then provide potential sites for corrosion. At the same time, the DoNova® PowerLift excels in comparison with round slings and lifting slings with the decisive asset that individual chain legs can be quickly and flexibly shortened.
The DoNova® PowerLift (www.donova.info) is exclusively available from the manufacturer Dolezych and includes expert advice – on-site, too. The video demonstrating the use of the textile chain can be found under the search term „DoNova® PowerLift with Dyneema® at WSA Heidelberg“ on YouTube or here: