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Rope Holding with Ceramic Technology

6 May 2022

Ceramic coatings on components within Spinlock rope holding devices are suited to hybrid rope coverings containing Vectran, Technora, Kevlar, or PBO.  The material properties of these fibres make them harder to grip, as they are effectively more “slippery”, which can compromise the load holding that can be achieved using the standard anodised surface finish.  To reach the max working load of the Spinlock jammer or clutch, with a hybrid covered rope, ceramic coated components which have a rougher surface texture providing better grip should be used.

The ceramic coating is more aggressive with the rope covering, but these exotic fibres are much more resistant to damage and therefore suitably matched for use with the ceramic coating.  The ceramic parts are not suitable for use with pure polyester covers which may be susceptible to damage at load limits.  Spinlock jammers or clutches built with hard-anodised jaws or cams are capable of achieving the max working loads when paired with 100% polyester covered ropes.  Both hard anodised and ceramic versions of components are made from the same raw components which then go through either the hard-anodising process or the ceramic coating process. 

The ceramic coating is also more resistant to wear and heat, making them ideal for high speed/high load lines, and they also grip the loaded line sooner when tension is transferred from the winch to the jammer or clutch.  This reduced ‘take up’ characteristic of the ceramic coating offers a significant benefit in performance. By minimising take up losses, the load left on the line after transfer is higher with ceramic components than with the anodised components. For the sailor who is seeking to find performance gains by upgrading sails, spars and to high tech ropes, upgrading rope holding equipment should be considered.

Although we do not market ceramic technology as having any increase in maximum load holding over the anodised, typically we do see an increase of 5 -20 %, depending on the rope being used.  Max load holding is very sensitive to different materials, diameters and rope manufacturers and Spinlock choose the MWL to represent an achievable level of performance across the spectrum ropes available on the market, rather than the absolute maximum level achieved in testing on the best performing rope.

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