Update on the safety problem with deflection chain
New information from the manufacturer Fixe
Already in the summer of 2015, the DAV safety research was sent a torn FIXE chain link to a FIXE equalization anchorage. At that time, the manufacturer reviewed the problem and published the recommendation that the problem could be solved cost-effectively and without much time by backing up the top link with a Maillon Rapide. The found cracks in chains of the manufacturer were based on the phenomenon of stress corrosion cracking. In order to be able to connect to the hook flap, according to FIXE, the top chain link must be separated and rewelded manually. This handmade weld is susceptible to stress corrosion cracking. We informed about it on our homepage .
Now there is another cracked FIXE chain in DAV safety research, in which apart from the first, hand-welded, also the second, mechanically welded chain link is broken. As in the previously known cases, this chain broke on an artificial outdoor climbing facility.
The upper links of this FIXE leveling anchorage were backed up with the help of a Maillon Rapide, as recommended by the manufacturer. But since the second chain link broke, the deflection was only on one side in the wall. Two of the three fragments could be found with a metal detector.
Which deflection chains are affected?
Fortunately, FIXE has been able to tell us how to identify the affected chain links: they are all marked with the label “INOX”. This mark is on the hook flap for all A2 steel products. Only products with this mark are affected by the warning and should be replaced.
Due to the problems described, DAV safety research recommends that all previously installed FIXE chains with “INOX” marking be replaced immediately. The highest priority is the baffles of the design type “Ausgleichsverankerung”.
Deflection chains of the company FIXE with the marking “PLX” can continue to be used according to information of the manufacturer! FIXE continues to attribute the problem to stress corrosion cracking and says that the problem does not exist in climbing gyms that are not in the immediate vicinity of sources of influence such as swimming pools, industry, busy roads, agriculture, etc.
As a precautionary measure , affected chains can be temporarily secured with an express sling that is suspended in the drill hook and in the ring parallel to a chain strand
Further background information
Already in 2015, the UIAA warned that stress corrosion cracking can be a problem for mountain sports equipment such as deflection chains or bolts. The much used A2 steel was then only recommended for indoor applications. Even then, FIXE recommended as well as the UIAA, to replace all A2 deflections in the outdoor area for more suitable Matereial.
After 2015, the standards of UIAA and CEN revised the drill hook standard. It will be published in spring 2019. In it, for the first time, minimum requirements for so-called “stand anchorages” (like the affected deflectors) have been defined.