A crane, like all machines, is the sum of its parts. Each element plays an important role and below the hook components are key to safe and efficient lifting. The below the hook sector is diverse; for this feature we’ve made it even more varied by expanding our remit to include ropes (hence the ‘below the boom’ tagline), as it would be erroneous to omit this link in the chain – particularly given the number of interesting developments in this sector. Plus, of course, there are multiple below the hook applications for ropes, too.

The vibrancy of the rope sector is reflected by Ontario, Canadaheadquartered wire rope and rigging product manufacturer Unirope who, in response to demand, has added 50,000 square feet of manufacturing space to its headquarters. It says this will improve lead times by up to 400%.

Unirope has additional facilities in Quebec and Alberta; the three sites combine to deliver a service covering Canada and select customers in the USA and Europe.


The company says that the majority of its work is on customised rigging products; 90% of all chain slings it manufactured in 2023 were unique – either in size, length, or configuration.

“We have built a diversified customer base over the last 68 years and continue to build on that strategy,” says Justin Brown, president at Unirope. “Our customers, without exception, are looking for professional and attentive service.

“They want our input and expertise; they are not looking for the cheapest and untested; they want reliability and quality.”

On the other side of the North Atlantic Ocean the Bridon-Bekaert Ropes Group division of Belgium headquartered steel wire specialist Bekaert has launched a new ten-strand high performance steel rope for hoisting and luffing applications.

The Dyform DSC10 PI has a compacted parallel laid rope construction with all the strands within the rope being spun/twisted together in one operation. It is used in applications where both ends of the rope are fixed and the load is prevented from rotating.

Ruben Maes, global segment director oil & gas and crane & industrial, says, “Complementing our product offering with this ten-strand rope is a logical step forward to ensure our leading position in the cranes segment. This ten-strand rope with advanced plastic covered core ensures maximum lifetime in a wide variety of applications where generalpurpose ropes simply are not up for the job. The first ten strand rope with plastic core will be the basis for a further group of products, pushing the envelope in performance and lifetime.”

Dyform DSC10 PI has very high breaking strength, says Bekaert, and provides good crush resistance, an accurate rope diameter, and tight tolerance. Dyform DSC10 is designed to offer corrosion resistance with an internal plastic layer inhibiting moisture penetration to the core.


When it comes to offshore subsea applications, rope manufacturer Teufelberger-Redaelli has achieved a new Guinness World Record for making world's heaviest steel rope. Its Flexpack steel rope weighs 495.9162 tonnes and has a diameter of 160mm. Its minimum breaking load is 2166mT and the rope is over four kilometres long.

The rope was made at Teufelberger-Redaelli’s facility in Trieste. The manufacturing process spanned seven months and involved over 50 resources in design, procurement, processing, and deployment.

The steel rope’s new design is designed for applications including offshore abandonment/recovery and pipe laying operations The new design optimises all axial and transverse forces to which the rope is subjected, the company claims.

Specifically, this new rope will be used for abandonment and recovery missions on winches with a Safety Working Load of 750/1000 tonnes in subsea operations conducted in ultra-deep waters.


As you can read in our energy sector report (on page 32 of this issue), the offshore wind power sector is proving to be a key driver of lifting and transport work and for product innovation. This applies to the ‘below the boom’ sector, too, including ropes.

In 2023, the UK division of steel wire and fibre rope products and services provider Hendrik Veder Group saw its highest earnings since 2019. This, it says, was thanks to the completion of several large-scale projects in the UK. As a result the Aberdeen branch of Hendrik Veder Group UK (it also has a branch in Sheffield) made significant internal investment and it is now looking to expand its output within renewable-based projects. One of its latest contracts is to provide lashing materials for the transport of windmill towers for in an upcoming wind farm off the coast of Scotland.

Commenting on its recent growth UK managing director Bertwin Zonneveld said: “2023 was a successful year. Through our sales efforts, excellent customer service, and sustainability-focused product line, we reached new highs not experienced since the market disruption caused by the pandemic. This is a positive sign of shifting market trends and opportunities for those in the supply chain, particularly within renewables. Sustainability is at the core of what we do as a group. Our entry into the renewables market perfectly aligns with our established aims.”

Not all offshore renewables work involving below the hook products necessarily takes place at sea, though. Danish offshore windfarm installer Cadeler, for example, is a key supplier in the offshore renewables sector. To install offshore wind turbines it has a fleet of specialist jack up vessels. The leg cranes on two of these vessels are currently being removed and replaced with new GustoMSC high-capacity ones.

This is being done by Netherlands-headquartered heavy lift specialist Mammoet using its 3,200 tonne capacity PTC210-DS ring crane at its Schiedam yard, Rotterdam (see our special ring crane report in next month’s issue).

What has this to do with below the hook? Well, Danish engineering services and turnkey solutions provider for the renewables sector, Enabl, says it has bought its wind industry expertise to lifting operations by installing its Tagline Master System on the PTC210-DS.

The Tagline Master System securely attaches to the ring crane, eliminating the need for dependence on the surroundings and allowing the taglines to seamlessly follow the movements of the ring crane.

This advancement, says Enabl, leads to significantly improved and better-controlled lifting operations, reduced downtime, lower costs (with only one operator compared to a bigger team), and enhanced safety – even at high wind speeds.

Enabl and Mammoet worked together regarding the use of the Tagline Master System. Enabl provided system specifications advice on its ideal placement while Mammoet designed and produced the interface for the placement of the Tagline Master System. Enabl’s technicians and supervisors handled the commissioning and operator training, including theoretical and practical training.

Mammoet was also provided with a Tagline Master System for rental, allowing it to test the system on the ring crane before making an investment.

Mammoet’s project manager Rutger Beelen says: “The system enables us to safely control loads whilst having a minimum impact on the project site itself. Due to its small footprint, it can be installed on the crane itself. It is a user-friendly system, and the remote control gives the possibility of operating the system at height during removal and installation.”

Load control device manufacturers are also enjoying a boost from the continuing development of onshore windfarms. One such company is Memmingerberg, Germany-based machine and gripping technology specialist Ematec which has been developing hoisting equipment for manufacturers and operators of wind turbines and windfarm facilities for a number of years now. It is another company that has had to expand its production facilities to keep up with demand.

Its most recent load control product, launched in September 2023, is the RBC-D50.1 yoke which is designed for assembling and disassembling all makes of rotor blades up to a weight of 50 tonnes and a length of between 45 and 110 metres.

The new model is 700 kg lighter than Ematec’s previous yoke and there is now only one central hydraulic tank for the units, which makes it more service-friendly. The radio remote control also has a new 5.5-inch colour display.

The yoke offers automatic stabilisation of the complete unit up to a tilt angle of ±30 degrees. This, Ematec says, means the rotor blades can always be held securely, even if not 100% attached to the centre of gravity.

A double version of the RBC-D is available, too, equipped with adaptive grippers at the bottom and at the top to hold the rotor blades firmly in the clamp grip even at inclinations of up to ±30 degrees so that they cannot slip.

The device works via two counterweights on the two truss wings which automatically adjust to the centre of gravity – with and without the rotor blade. This means that even when the blade is detached from the hub there are no uncontrolled movements that could damage the blade or disrupt the handling process. Due to the round arch on the crossbar the RBC-D always remains in the centre of gravity, explains Ematec.

"With our yokes we are talking about a service life of 20 years or longer,” claims Julian Eberhard, design manager at Ematec. “Because the RBC-D yokes are not limited to certain blade types, new generations of rotor blades can be mounted at any time without retrofitting or even replacing the crossbeam. This investment security is unique."


Companies from the spreader and lifting beam sector are also expanding into the renewables sector. UK manufacturer Modulift, for example, says the rise in renewable energy sources has accelerated demand for its spreader beams to aid lift turbines, towers and monopiles at onshore and offshore windfarms worldwide.

An interesting example of this comes from global ship operator G2 Ocean which deployed a Modulift spreader beam to Colombia for the lift of a 63mt Nordex wind tower.

Colombia provides good conditions for wind power generation, with wind forces of around 9m/s. G2 Ocean assembled a MOD 250 Spreader Beam on-site in the north of Colombia, the location of most wind farms in the country due to the position off the Caribbean coast. The cylindrical Nordex TS105 wind tower sections were successfully lifted from the Star Lysefjord vessel to Puerto Brisa, a small cargo terminal in the north.

“Conditions at the port were challenging,” said Richard Stannard, senior equipment manager at G2 Ocean “The remote location and lack of infrastructure at the port raised concerns about how we could safely lift and unload the tower sections. We were also working to a tight deadline, so time was of the essence.

“The nearest port was Santa Marta but, due to issues with road transport from the port to the project site – largely clearance issues under bridges, we had to rethink how to get the tower sections to the site. Puerto Brisa was the next option but as it is a coal loading facility there were no cranes available at the terminal.”

To overcome this, the cranes on-board the ship were used to carry out the lift.

The cylindrical Nordex TS105 tower sections measured 36 metres in length, with a 4.3m diameter and weight of approximately 63t.

Stannard said, “The heavier sections were loaded further forward on the deck and unloaded using the ship’s cranes in tandem. However, the upper sections could only be reached with one crane, which was achieved using a single 75t crane.”

An additional challenge was low headroom, so the rigging had to be as short as possible. Stannard continued, “There were limitations on the allowable sling angle at the load. We needed a 45-degree angle on the slings above the spreader beam.”

Taking this into account, the MOD250 was rigged at 18 metres, with a SWL of 91mt and 45-degree sling angle. Using a modular spreader beam also sped up the turnaround time – with the longest strut at only six metres and total component weight of 4t, G2 Ocean were able to airfreight the beam to Colombia, transport it by road and easily assemble it on-site.

Modulift has also just launched a revamped version of its range of trunnion spreader beams with an even lighter design which, it says, provides cost savings for users.

Modulift originally launched its trunnion spreader beam line in 2015 and it has been used in lifting applications for a wide range of industries including, of course, renewables.

The beam's latest iteration is lighter thanks to the use of advanced finite element analysis. “The geometrically non-linear trunnions undergo validation through leading technical engineering software, ensuring a robust and effective design,” explains Harshal Kulkarni, engineering manager at Modulift.

The new design is DNV approved and adheres to Eurocode 3, DNV-CG-0127, DNV-RU-SHIP Pt.3 Ch.7, and DNV-RP-C208 industry standards.

The trunnion requires no shackles or drop links and is available in multiple sizes. It is compatible with Modulift’s existing MOD Spreader Beam range, and the trunnion end unit is interchangeable with struts from the MOD 110 up to the MOD 600/1000 product lines.

UK-based lifting and spreader beam manufacturer Multisec also supplies the renewables sector with lifting beams. In February 2024 it launched a monopile beam with a working load limit of 1600 tonnes. The beam offers a lifting centre of 32 metres and comprises two two-metre end units with drop links and a combination of three eight-metre struts and one fourmetre strut. According to Multisec, despite being turned around rapidly the project represents its most ambitious achievement to date in terms of both length and lifting capacity. Wan Djawad, technical director at Multisec, said, “The 1600 tonne monopile beam showcases our commitment to offshore wind, increased loadings, and our approach to continually push boundaries.”

A video of the beam can be seen here: www.youtube.com/ watch?v=KItAIhYv1Y8

In conclusion, the below the hook sector is witnessing robust growth, fuelled by a range of factors including the demand for custom products, subsea applications, and the flourishing offshore and onshore renewables industries. The expansion of manufacturing facilities and the introduction of innovative products demonstrate the sector's adaptability and commitment to meeting evolving industry needs.

As the demand for lifting solutions continues to rise, companies are expanding their offerings and entering new markets, particularly the renewable energy sector. With advancements in technology and ongoing investments and R&D, the below the hook industry is set for further growth and innovation.


Cham, Zug-headquartered crane manufacturer Wolffkran has now made its High-Speed- Positioning-System (HiSPS), which was first seen at Bauma 2022, available for order, together with Wolffkran's latest addition: the WOLFF 6523 Clear tower crane.

According to Wolffkran, the HiSPS enables loads on the crane hook to be moved virtually sway-free and positioned with millimetre precision.

Wolffkran says that from the start of 2024 newly manufactured Wolff trolley jib models will be equipped with the option of HiSPS and existing Wolff cranes can also be retro-fitted.

“HiSPS significantly reduces the risk of accidents and damage due to swinging loads or hooks,” says Viktor Mosolf. “Furthermore, the anti-collision system is optimised since not only the crane but also the load in the working range limitation is automatically stopped.”

Wolffkran says it is also looking to make the high-speed positioning available for its luffing jib cranes, too.


Rockford, Illinois, USA-based The Caldwell Group has added remotely operated vehicle (ROV) hooks from German hook manufacturer RUD to its in-stock programme.

The hooks, available in 10t and 25t capacity, are supplied through Caldwell’s dealer network and are used primarily for underwater applications in the Gulf Coast region. Caldwell and the RUD Group have united their sales and marketing activities in North America and claim to stock more ROV hooks there than ever before.

Access to ROV hooks is important to major subsea and oil and gas contractors to handle valuable loads in hazardous environments, often many miles offshore and up to water depths of 10,000 ft, says Caldwell.

The RUD ROV hooks can be operated by all commonly used ROV manipulators. The hook eliminates the risk of snagging and accidental rigging; the outer profile is smooth with no protruding hook nose. The outwardly opening safety latch, which can be operated by a single manipulator, automatically closes when the ROV releases the triggers, and it is securely locked in closed position. Overall hook design minimises the time the ROV takes to carry out the attachment / detachment operation.