Unirope Becomes First AWRF Accredited Member


Unirope Limited was the first rigging shop to become an Associated Wire Rope Fabricators (AWRF) Accredited Member.

Mississauga, Ontario-based Unirope completed a successful in-person audit, conducted by AWRF’s third-party auditors, the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA).

The AWRF Accreditation Program is a voluntary opportunity for all member companies and their affiliated branches. Using the current revision of AWRF RP&G, Recommended Practice for the Operation of Sling Shops, as a basis for evaluation, LEEA works with interested members to ensure compliance. In other words, the audit was developed by LEEA according to requirements set out by AWRF.

Unirope—it is also a LEEA member—is a specialist in the manufacture, distribution, testing, certification, and inspection of high-performance wire rope and rigging products. It has additional facilities in Quebec and Alberta; the three sites combine to deliver a service nationwide and to select customers in the U.S. and Europe.

Justin Brown, president at Unirope, said: “There is a sense of pride that comes with being first across any line or to be the first to achieve a goal. That said, we undertook this as a project to support AWRF, our industry, and all the end users of rigging products that will in the future be looking for a way to distinguish quality rigging fabricators from the rest.

Unirope technicians perform a final length verification on custom wire rope assemblies.

“In three to five years, this program will be the benchmark in our industry. End users of rigging products will demand that they are produced by an AWRF Accredited Member and there will be a clear quality benchmark between those that can comply and those that cannot.”

Having completed the audit, Unirope can now market itself as an AWRF Accredited Member, which includes the use of a logo that has recently been developed. The goals of the program are to ensure safer sling shop operation; to drive more business to member companies; and to help member companies win more market share—ultimately adding value to being a member.

Brown said: “The third-party audit and accreditation is significant beyond AWRF membership—and it is important to know the difference. Membership alone brings a lot of benefits but simply being a member of a trade association doesn’t prove that you abide by its recommended best practices. It’s the difference between talking the talk and walking the walk.”

Rallying call

Interestingly, 25% of AWRF membership is from outside of the U.S. Half of the international contingent is based in Canada, and nearly all Canadian members are rigging shops. The AWRF Accreditation Program is not the same as being a LEEA accredited member. As Unirope proved, LEEA members must still proceed via the same processes as non-LEEA members—and Brown has urged all AWRF members, LEEA members and not, to join the program.

A Unirope technician verifies the thread dimension on a custom manufactured threaded stud that will be used to make a custom wire rope assembly.

He said: “Everything we do at Unirope starts with one basic idea that guides every decision. And that is the basic right that everyone that uses or comes into contact with our products gets to go home after their shift; we extend that idea to the entire industry, which is why we will absolutely encourage every rigging shop to gain accreditation. The more AWRF members that get on board, the safer our industry will become. Companies will find things during their audits that need to be changed or improved and implement those changes as part of this process.

“The marketing power you gain by being accredited will prove invaluable. Accreditation demonstrates and sets a quality benchmark, exhibits accountability to the market, reduces risk, and increases efficiency. There are endless ways to cut corners in our industry, which is counter to the needs of such a high-risk sector. For example, things like die maintenance and verification of after swage dimensions, are convenient to bypass or ignore, but critical to the performance of the final product.”

The accreditation is valid for three years, with annual visits and check-ups. An audit must be completed for each individual location.

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