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Polyester vs Nylon for Lifting Slings

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More and more webbing manufacturers are using nylon rather than polyester. We’ll discuss why and how to make the switch if you’re considering it.

Historically in the sling industry, the US market has been 80 to 90 percent nylon, using polyester where it was essential for UV or chemical resistance. The European market is the exact opposite—they have historically used upward of 90% polyester webbing for slings.

Polyester and Nylon Prices Headed in Opposite Directions

The price for polyester chip (the base component for extruded fiber) has been declining, while nylon pricing has been rising. Why? The price of the chemicals used to produce nylon have gone up. Plus, there is more available capacity for polyester chips for extruding base fiber. Lower-priced polyester is getting a lot of attention.

Material Changes Mean Engineering & Design Changes

If you’re changing materials, you’ll need to make some engineering and design changes. Look at the difference in tensile strength. Polyester thread can have 8% less tensile than nylon, so consider this in designing to maintain a 5:1 capacity ratio if needed. Sling makers can compensate for this by going to a larger thread size such as a 554 size thread, from a 415 size. Or, if a 554 size is being used, you can implement an increase in stitches per inch or a revised stitch pattern.

A good resource for making these changes is the WSTDA website. This association offers guidelines for addressing these standards for polyester and nylon webbing and suggests sewing patterns and minimum tensile requirements for sling threads.

What About You?

If any of you have transitioned to polyester (or vice versa), will you share your experience in the comments section?

If you are considering a change in webbing, sewing thread size or have any questions regarding material for sling manufacturing,


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