How Does Plasma® Rope’s Construction Work & How Does it Help the Lifting Industry?

By Christine Halvorsen • 01.11.22

As we discussed in our previous blog on the announcement of offering superior Plasma Slings and Ropes from Cortland - we explained what they are, how they’re safer than wire rope, and what they’re used for.

They’re lightweight and easy to handle, corrosion-resistant because of their fiber material, and require no maintenance meaning no lubrication is needed. Not only that, you get the strength and durability of wire rope slings, in addition to the weight-savings, cost savings, and load protection all in one product.

But you may wonder how Plasma Rope is constructed and how will it really help you in your job in the rigging and lifting industry. Continue reading as we explain the construction of Plasma Rope, its advantages, and how it can help you tackle the toughest lifting and transportation jobs.

What is Plasma Rope Constructed of?

US Cargo Control Plasma Eye Sling - Buried lock stitch

These synthetic fiber rope slings are made of UHMWPE rope. This type of material makes Plasma Slings and Ropes 85% lighter than steel wire rope at the same strength and creates a significant reduction in rigging time and manpower. Better yet, this rope is domestic made, so it’s 100% made in the USA.

Wait, what is UHMWPE Rope?

UHMWPE stands for Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene. Plasma synthetic rope is UHMWPE rope (or High Modulus Polyethylene) that has been enhanced by a recrystallization process.

This Cortland signature recrystallization makes this synthetic rope stronger by putting the rope through a heated, fluid-filled, pressurized vessel. This increases the strength of the fibers in the strand of rope to give it more capability. The rope then gets a polyurethane finish to improve its resistance to UV rays, water, and other environmental conditions.

Types of Plasma Slings and Ropes USCC Now Offers

US Cargo Control Plasma Rope - braided synthetic rope sling

At US Cargo Control, we offer Plasma 12 strand rope, Plasma 12x12 strand rope, and Fabricated Eye & Eye Slings from Cortland. Each lifting sling type is constructed differently but comes with many advantages.

Plasma 12 Strand

Plasma 12 strand is a braided rope made of 12 individual strands of UHMWPE, enhanced by a recrystallization process to increase its strength. During this process, a polyurethane coating is added to provide protection against application hazards such as abrasion or other types of damage.

This construction creates an extremely strong and highly flexible synthetic rope that is very lightweight for its strength. Plasma 12 strand comes with many benefits that works very well in many lifting and rigging applications such as high durability, being cut resistant, having great UV resistance, holding excellent bending flex fatigue, and confirming easily to surfaces.

Plasma 12 Strand's Advantages:

  • Torque-balanced – having no tendency to rotate under load
  • Easily spliced by hand - can even be done in field with minimal training
  • Easy to inspect inside and out
  • Compatible with both drum and traction winches

Plasma 12x12

Plasma 12x12 is braided rope, where there are 12 strands of braided rope and each of these strands is a 12-strand rope like Plasma 12 strand.

It features the standard polyurethane finish like Plasma 12 strand, but other coatings can be applied. This type of synthetic rope is a much larger rope that provides high strength and efficiency, while still being lighter in weight and extremely flexible than wire rope and other alternatives.

Plasma 12x12 Strand's Advantages:

  • Firmer, or “rounder” rope then the conventional 12x1 braided rope
  • Better internal abrasion resistance between strands
  • Greater dimensional stability
  • Easy to handle in many lifting and rigging applications, especially during splicing
  • Ability to make long, continuous lengths by splicing individual braided strands together to form a secure, locked connection

Plasma Eye & Eye Slings

We offer Plasma Rope, as well as fabricated Eye & Eye Slings with lengths varying from 6’-20’. There are two main types of ropes in these eye and eye slings: 12 strand or 12x12 strand. You can find different splicing methods for these Plasma eye & eye slings below, which is the process used to join two ends of a rope together (or to make an eye).

We offer two different versions that uses different splicing methods:

  • Lock Stitch Buried Eye Splice– This method of splicing is used on Plasma 12 strand rope. It only requires tools including scissors, adhesive tape, a knife, a large ruler, a marking pen, and a splicing fid.
  • Modified Tuck Splice– This type of splice can be used on Plasma 12 strand rope or 12x12 strand. It is used when the Moran 5-4-3 Tuck Splice is too long.

Plasma Rope’s Safety

US Cargo Control's Plasma Ropes and Slings are safer than wire rope

The most important benefit of Plasma Rope is how safe they are when performing lifting operations. The rope doesn’t store as much built-up energy as wire rope or steel rope does. If a break or failure occurs, there is no whipping or recoil motion of the rope. If a Plasma Rope breaks, the line will simply fall to the ground, whereas a steel rope or chain will violently break and can potentially injure nearby workers or damage equipment. Watch this rope break test recorded by Cortland to give an idea of what will happen should a Plasma Rope break:

An overlooked yet critical detail of this synthetic rope is that the fibers are soft, so you’ll never worry about broken wires, metal burns, or corrosion when handling the rope.

One last advantage of choosing Plasma Slings over other types is the ease of splicing and repairs. You can return any slings in question for free evaluation and repair estimates - continuing our promise of getting you what you want, when you need it.

Applications for Plasma Rope and Slings

US Cargo Control Plasma Slings work for many Lifting and Rigging Applications

Plasma rope and slings can be used in a variety of applications. They are used in heavy-duty lifting/rigging applications, as well as heavy-duty towing and hauling.

Some great applications for this type of rope can be offshore lifting applications, tug and salvage lines, as well as ship and barge mooring lines. These water-based applications are common uses for plasma rope because it’s water-resistant and can be created with different buoyancy to fit with different applications. Plasma rope can also be used as recovery and tow rope for large vehicles, and more.

Below is a list of common applications you can use Plasma Slings for:

  • Surface overhead crane lifting (below the hook)
  • Wind farm installation and towers
  • Power Turbines
  • Material movement or transfer
  • Truck winches
  • Heavy Lifting
  • Rig Moving
  • Buoy Mooring Systems
  • Offshore Working & Lifting Lines
  • Inland River Lines
  • Ship and Barge Mooring Lines
  • Mining Tow Lines

USCC is Proud to Partner with Cortland

USCC's Tim Sanders here to get you what you want, when you need it

We cherish partnerships where we can all help the industries we serve in become safer, more efficient, and be able to complete their jobs without any worries. US Cargo Control is proud to be an official supplier of Cortland’s intelligent line of Plasma slings, so you can take the weight off your shoulders and safety into the palms of your hands.

We have a team of lifting and rigging equipment experts that understand Plasma Slings. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to give our team a call at 866-444-9990 to get the answers you need.

About US Cargo Control

Founded in 2005, US Cargo Control is a trusted leader in the cargo control industry, specializing in professional rigging and lifting equipment, trucking and transportation tie downs, and moving supplies. With a superior online shopping experience, industry-experts available via phone, and a central Midwest location, USCC is dedicated to getting you what you want, when you need it. For more information, visit

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