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Bullivants wins CICA Innovation Award with ADAPTA Sling

Bullivants team members stand in front of the ADAPTA Sling.

A highlight from the Lift of the Year Awards involved Bullivants taking out the coveted CICA Innovation Award for the ADAPTA Sling. 

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Bullivants ADAPTA is an innovative adjustable HMPE lifting sling revolutionising the way lifting is performed. A HMPE sling may look like a piece of rope, but it is not, it’s carbon fibre with the same strength as steel wire rope, diameter for diameter, and up to 90 per cent lighter than alloy chain slings of same working load limit.

With easily adjustable legs, this sling provides significant improvements in safety, productivity and reduces the risk of manual handling injuries. Developed and manufactured to AS18264 HMPE Lifting Slings and proof tested to NATA ISO 17025 by Bullivants, the ADAPTA Sling has less components, no metal parts and lightweight in comparison to other sling types, significantly reducing the time to assemble a load ready to lift. 

Andrew Taylor, Bullivants Technical Services and Training Manager, provides the background to the development and elaborates on the features and benefits of the ADAPTA Sling.

“Our team started working on the ADAPTA Sling project in 2019, just before COVID. Originally we started the development as a result of customers enquiring about 100 per cent synthetic slings, not just single legs slings. They were looking for multi-legs, and we ended up with specific applications that we designed 100 per cent multi-leg synthetic lifting slings,” said Andrew.

The original multi-leg sling was nicknamed a COW sling, and John Poolman, Bullivants Technical Trainer was working on the sling design with a government authority. The project was a multimillion-dollar communications computer system, and they couldn’t risk any steel components damaging it.

“We were tasked with building a specific 100 per cent multi-leg sling out of synthetic material for this particular application. We were using HMPE – AmSteel-blue and that was quite successful. Then during COVID we started to think about the different applications this type of sling would suit and we had customers saying, ‘It would be good if these could adjust as not every load is evenly distributed or balanced,’ said Andrew. 

“The design process evolved into testing different splice methods, and we were able to develop a fully adjustable, multi-leg, 100 per cent synthetic sling. The ADAPTA Sling as it became known, effectively gave you the benefits of an adjustable chain sling, but it was 10 per cent of the weight and had no potential to damage the load. That was, I guess, the initiator of the development, and it’s simply grown from there,” he said.

Andrew goes on to discuss the lifting capabilities of the ADAPTA Sling.

“With our standard range, we are capable of working load limits of up to 20t at 60 degrees. Now we have designed and engineered larger capacity slings which have working load limits in excess of 35t and we also design bespoke slings for special heavy lift applications. So we have developed our standard ADAPTA sling range as a direct equivalent to Grade 100 Alloy Chain Slings.

Andrew explains some of the key features and benefits of the ADAPTA Sling. 

“There are a number of key features and benefits. Starting from a safety point of view, the ADAPTA Sling will minimise the risk of manual handling injuries, because these slings are 90 per cent lighter than an alloy chain sling equivalent and 85 per cent lighter than wire rope slings of the same capacity and working load limit. The weight carried on a crane is important and these slings reduce the on-road weight of the crane, literally, you can take several hundred kilos off a crane. 

“Not only does this reduce fuel consumption and tyre wear but it improves the operating radius of the crane. Less weight off the hook means the crane can reach further, which increases productivity,” said Andrew.

“There are other benefits for riggers and crane drivers because the adjustments of these slings are made at ground level, unlike chain slings. With a chain sling, the shorteners are typically up the top of the rigging, so you either waste time lowering the crane to adjust the slings, or you require a ladder, scaffold or man box to make the adjustment,” said Andrew.

The ADAPTA Sling was initially launched at the CICA Conference and Exhibition in Adelaide in 2022 and was later displayed at the Perth event in 2023.

“The feedback from both events has been terrific. By setting up a ‘mock’ crane box with an out of balance load allowed attendees to be hands on and adjust the slings themselves. They couldn’t believe how simple it was to adjust and how quick it was to balance the load to lift it,” said Andrew. 

“Winning the CICA Innovation award is also a milestone achievement for Bullivants, and has reflected the positive response we’ve seen towards the ADAPTA,” Andrew adds. 

“The Bullivants organisation is very proud to have won the award and it’s fantastic to get the recognition,” he said. “This is especially so when you consider the Australian Standard AS18264 for these HMPE slings has only been out just over a year, even though this type of material has been used for over 20 years in various applications, including lifting, winching and recovery. 

“So yes, we are incredibly proud for the recognition, and we just hope that the ADAPTA Sling will help the market become safer and more productive and be able to operate with less injuries as a result of people trying to manhandle large steel slings, be they wire rope or alloy chain. There is now an award-winning alternative. 

“We know it is already a ‘Game Changer’. Laurie Patterson from Patterson Cranes has completed hundreds of lifts using these slings and as said in our submission for the Innovation Award, he had experienced up to 50 per cent productivity improvement for his business alone. If Bullivants can help people improve their business, their productivity, and work safely, that’s what it’s all about,” said Andrew. 


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