Perhaps the single most important task you have to manage when using ropes is picking out the right rope for the job at hand. There are countless different types of ropes manufactured today, so picking out the right one for your needs can be complicated. Shopping for rope often comes down to balancing performance with budget.

In this article, we talk about some of the most capable ropes available today – HMPE rope and UHMWPE rope. These ropes would be more than is needed for many applications, but they are an excellent pick when high performance is demanded. Sure, they are more expensive than something like basic nylon or polyester rope, but they back up that price tag with incredible performance. 

At SEACO, we carry ropes in this category from Yale Cordage like their ULTREX and MAXIBRAID models. If you would like to place an order for some of this great rope, or if you simply have some questions about what rope is right for you, get in touch today for assistance from our friendly team. 

Many Names for the Same Material

You are likely to see many different names and acronyms thrown around when talking about these types of ropes. HMPE and UHMWPE are two of those names, with HMPE standing for high modulus polyethylene and UHMWPE standing for ultra high molecular weight polyethylene. There are also plenty of brand names out there for these products, like those from Yale Cordage we mentioned above. All of these refer to the same basic material used to make ropes, so read between the lines to know what you are dealing with before placing any orders. 

What Makes HMPE & UHMWPE So Special?

You will notice quickly that ropes made from UHMWPE come at a premium over ropes of similar diameter and length that are made with different materials. So, what do you get for your money? There are significant performance advantages that make these ropes worth the investment, including the following –

  • ●      Modest weight. When an application calls for a rope that won’t add much weight to the overall system, UHMWPE is an excellent pick
  • Extremely strong. Considering its weight, the strength that this type of rope can deliver is incredible. In fact, despite what you might expect, this thermoplastic can actually deliver more strength than hardened steel, at only a fraction of the weight 
  • Tough against abrasion. For situations where the rope is consistently rubbed or scraped across a rough surface, tough and durable fibers are needed – and that’s what you’ll get out of UHMWPE
  • Great for wet conditions. A combination of characteristics makes this type of rope ideal for situations where water will be present. First, this fiber repels water and will never absorb it, meaning it doesn’t get heavier or lose its performance characteristics after being exposed to the water. Also, UHMWPE floats, so you don’t have to worry about losing track of it under the surface
  • Very little stretch. Even when dealing with significant loads, this type of rope will stretch only modestly. Whether that is a good or bad thing depends on the needs of your application for the rope

Many Types of Ropes Available

It’s better to think about UHMWPE – and HMPE – as a class or category of ropes rather than a single product. That’s because this fiber can be used in a variety of ways to create different types of ropes that have certain performance characteristics. In some cases, UHMWPE will be used to make the entire rope, while in other cases it will only be used to create one layer of a multi-layered rope that can deliver the ideal blend of capabilities for a specific task. For instance, the core of a double braid rope could be created with UHMWPE to deliver impressive strength without needing to make the entire rope out of this fiber. 

It’s always good to have HMPE or UHMWPE rope for all of your various tasks and projects, especially for when high strength and low weight are required. And, you always want to get your ropes from a reliable dealer who carries top brands, so be sure to shop at SEACO. We look forward to receiving your order!