0
mcordell

Vortex Product Service Bulletin

Recommended Posts

RiggerLee

As to whether it is fixable... Remember when Booth had a hard wear problem. His answer was the bolt in ring. It would be a pain to replace them. It's almost a rebuild on the whole harness and unless they authorize some one else to do it, it will be a long way to ship the rig. Depending on how the rig is configured you might as well replace all the webbing rather then sewing through it again. If they gear up and pre make some of the parts they could do it pretty easy. But Booth bit the bullet and made a new ring rather then deal with it.

Hay, you could upgrade to large rings!

On another note. I've got mixed feelings about some of these over seas companies. It's cool that their are more players and that the industry is growing. What bothers me is that it's not growing here. How many people are their left in the US that make hard ware? Borden. Who makes webbing other then Bally? Who makes fabric other then Performance and they just got bought by some one. It seems to be working but... What does it say about industry here in the US. Do you realize what it's like trying to hire a seamstress. You'd better be ready to train her your self. The only one I could find that had any experience was 70. And forget finding a good mechanic.

What I'm saying is that the industry it self is not really healthy. To be clear, I'm not saying that their are any problems in it. The guys at Borden are awesome. Louis that sell me my webbing at Bally is a god send. And Performance was easy to deal with. But manufacturing in this country is in decline and it's hurting us. Their isn't a sewing industry any more. And it's hard for us to exist in a vacuum.

So think about things like this ring the next time some one tries to seduce you into buying webbing out of china or hard wear from Korea. It may be a little more expensive but it may be worth it to deal with the company that's been doing this forever. And support your local suppliers otherwise you really wont have them some day. And any time you take a deal on some thing cheep from the other side of the world think about what it could cost you. I wonder how many harnesses they will have to rebuild? Could be just this one. Or it could bankrupt them.

I learned a long time ago not to fuck around. Buy the best shit you can, right from the source. That's why I get my webbing from Bally, not on Ebay.

End of rant.

Lee



Well you are wrong.

Parachute systems just invested a great deal to move their manufacturing facilities to the US from South Africa and cordura fabric for Vortex containers comes from Brookwood which is based out of New York. The Vortex is the least expensive TSOd container, not the cheapest. That title is held by another US produced rig.
www.facebook.com/FlintHillsRigging

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RiggerLee

As to whether it is fixable... Remember when Booth had a hard wear problem. His answer was the bolt in ring. It would be a pain to replace them. It's almost a rebuild on the whole harness and unless they authorize some one else to do it, it will be a long way to ship the rig. Depending on how the rig is configured you might as well replace all the webbing rather then sewing through it again. If they gear up and pre make some of the parts they could do it pretty easy. But Booth bit the bullet and made a new ring rather then deal with it.



Is the below what you refer to?

http://www.unitedparachutetechnologies.com/PDF/Support/Product%20Service%20Bulletins/09207.pdf

Ash

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That's it. It was a pretty big problem even then. To the point that he did the math and it mad since to drop the bucks to make a new ring. That's actually a lot of money to set up the tools for the forging. The industry has grown a lot since then. I wonder how many rigs will ultimately be affected by this. It might be time to dust off those old dies. But if they are using those rings else where in the harness Like the hip rings then it's even more interesting. It could mean building whole new harnesses. It's actually easier to start from scratch then trying to salvage the main lift web and leg webbing.

Keep in mind we really don't know any thing yet. I don't think they know any thing yet. If this really goes south it could sink them. It will be interesting to see what they do. Will they man up and face it or pull the cutaway handle and declare bankruptcy? Time to learn about their real character.

Lee
Lee
lee@velocitysportswear.com
www.velocitysportswear.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, watching with interest. Thing is, these rings have allegedly been in use for a while (at least since 2013) without incident.

I can confirm the DSF hardware is also used for the hip and chest rings on my container.

Wonder when they'll have an update, would be nice to know where we stand. I'm already looking at a contingency plan / alternate container. Yes it's cold, but the skies are calling...

Ash

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi Lee,

Quote

drop the bucks to make a new ring.



I had some rigs with the 'bad' rings; including my personal rig.

The costs for the new, repolacement rings was entirely on Forgecraft as they were the mfrs/suppliers to made the mistake in the mfg processes.

Each rig mfr who had the 'bad' rings, dealt with them as you mentioned.

Jerry Baumchen

PS) A little trivia about Forgecraft. At the '93 Symposium a number of people from Forgecraft gave a seminar on hardware. In the Q & A that followed, I asked them a question about the elongation of parachute hardware. Not one of them had a clue as to what I was talking about. I was dumbfounded. :o

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jerry, we had the elongation problem but wasn't catastrophic. This one broke! Not quite sure why it didn't fully straighten except that load reduced fast enough to pop it but not straighten. Have ever heard of a piece of hardware break before? I can't remember one. Other than maybe a speed link that had the end come off. But I don't remember a proprerly assembled piece breaking.

I guess capewell rc pins could be included but other than that any load bearing hardware? If this is new this is a completely new worry. "Is my hardware going.to break?"

QC has to be an issue. If it's a one off anomalous piece do they do 100% proof testing? If it's a batch problem how wasn't it caught even with sample testing? I don't recall the testing spec for hardware. Is it 100% testing or sample testing?
I'm old for my age.
Terry Urban
D-8631
FAA DPRE

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JerryBaumchen

I asked them a question about the elongation of parachute hardware. Not one of them had a clue as to what I was talking about. I was dumbfounded. :o



Well, that problem goes back to, what, the early or mid 80's. 30 years ago. Most of the people that were around then, are now retired and no longer skydiving. It was too long ago for the new kids to remember it.

For the new kids, here's the story... In manufacturing, the steel is heated to soften it in order to forge the hardware into shape, and then they're put through a 2nd heating process to harden it again. A batch of large rings in the 3-ring system somehow missed that re-hardening step in the process. They got installed on rigs. And then a few people had hard openings which stretched those rings out into an oval shape. Some of them enough so that there was no longer sufficient diameter for the middle ring to pass through. So you were left with a non-functional cut-away system. It affected many hundreds of rigs. I had to send mine in to have a "Rockwell hardness test" done on it, whereby they push a diamond tip probe against the steel under a certain amount of pressure, and then measure the depth of the indentation made by the diamond - just a tiny almost imperceptible dimple. That tells you how hard the steel is. Mine passed, but I always had to carry that little piece of paper around with the rig for its remaining service life, to prove to every rigger that worked on it that it was safe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi Terry,

Quote

we had the elongation problem but wasn't catastrophic.



1. Who is this 'we' you are referring to?

2. What elongation problem are you referring to?

I was making a general comment about a company in the metal forming industry not knowing a basic tenet of that industry.

Quote

This one broke!



I know that, it is easily seen from the photos. I have heard that someone with a metalurgy background has inspected this particular part and has seen discoloration. This would suggest a crack existed after production of the part.

Quote

If this is new this is a completely new worry. "Is my hardware going.to break?"



If a piece of hardware is brittle ( very little ductility ) it will break with little distortion ( elongation ). I consider this a 'worst case' situation.

Quote

If it's a one off anomalous piece do they do 100% proof testing?



Based upon what I have read many years ago, and the seminar that Forgecraft gave in '93, it is my understanding that all parachute hardware is 100% proof tested to its rated load(s). I do not know about this particular part.

I would love to be involved in the investigation of this particular problem. It is the old engineer in me.

Jerry Baumchen

PS) About 30 yrs ago I was in Southern California on a project. We were testing some forged parts and the values were not coming as statistically acceptable. It was about 6:30 in the evening and we really could not understand why because this was a company with a great track record. We had myself, the company president who had a PhD in Mech Engr, the company chief engineer who had a degree in Mech Engr & the QA Mgr, all trying to figure out what the H*** was wrong. I said to the company president that dealing with these types of failure analyses was when I really enjoyed my job. He looked me right in the eye and said, 'That depends upon if you are buying or selling.' :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We is the sport and industry. The elongation is the Booth SB above. Even though some of the rings were soft and elongated I don't remember any breaking. I had mine cut off by the local fire dept.

Again I don't remember any load bearing skydiving hardware breaking before. Of course stainless hardware is neither mil or pia spec (last I looked) and manuf. must rely on hardware company's specs. and QC.
I'm old for my age.
Terry Urban
D-8631
FAA DPRE

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We were doing a bunch of pull testing when we were trying to build a heavy single point release. Interestingly we found a peace of bad hardware. It was a RW-9 ring. Think big fat heavy base three ring. Tandem ring on steroids. They were pulling consistently to over 17,000 lb. But this one we found broke, snapped, at... trying to remember, but it was like 6,000 lb. I want to say that it was about a third of the normal breaking point. Actually I take that back. I may be confusing it with another failure. That peace may have failed even lower at like 3,500 lb. It was interesting you could see a clear discoloration on the fracture face implying an internal fracture. It was a FC forge craft peace. I was talking to the guys at Borden at PIA about it. They actually took the time to come up to my room to look at it. When they took over the contract to forge that part they through out all the old tooling as too worn and started again. They were able to instantly diagnose it as a manufacturing flaw. We talked about what could be done to detect some thing like this and what they told me is that after it was plated their wasn't really any way to detect such a flaw. You just have to build it right in the first place. In the end we just proof tested all the hardware. The failure point of this peace was way below a "healthy" peace so proof loading them was not a problem.

Lee
Lee
lee@velocitysportswear.com
www.velocitysportswear.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi Lee,

Quote

We talked about what could be done to detect some thing like this and what they told me is that after it was plated their wasn't really any way to detect such a flaw.



A mag particle inspection can be performed before or after coating. It will work quite well after coating due to the cad plating on parachute hardware being so thin. It is best to perform it before though.

I have witnessed 100's of these tests back when I was still a working engineer. It is a non-destructive test.

Jerry Baumchen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote


A mag particle inspection can be performed before or after coating. It will work quite well after coating due to the cad plating on parachute hardware being so thin. It is best to perform it before though.



A MT will only detect cracks that are considered "near surface".
Also, if the lines of flux (electromagnetic generated) are not perpendicular to the crack, the crack can be missed.

The absolute best way to test these are with Digital RT and I believe it can be done on the harness without a problem.


MEL
Skyworks Parachute Service, LLC
www.Skyworksparachuteservice.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
councilman24

We is the sport and industry. The elongation is the Booth SB above. Even though some of the rings were soft and elongated I don't remember any breaking. I had mine cut off by the local fire dept.

Again I don't remember any load bearing skydiving hardware breaking before. Of course stainless hardware is neither mil or pia spec (last I looked) and manuf. must rely on hardware company's specs. and QC.



The elongation problem has led to at least one impossible cutaway followed by main-reserve entanglement. I don't see how that is "not catastrophic" or better than it breaking. The affected part has completely failed to perform its critical function. That is a catastrophic failure if you ask me. What new things exactly does hardware breaking under load introduce that weren't present before in manufacturing and testing? Sure it's a new *instance* that hasn't been seen precisely in that form before, but it is of the same class as previous ones.
"Skydivers are highly emotional people. They get all excited about their magical black box full of mysterious life saving forces."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My brand new Vortex which i received mid 2014 had the DSF rings on them. Been working with all kinda metals for past 13 years and the rings immediatly caught my eye for not having the stainless "look". Did a magnet test on them and the magnet holded on to them quite strongly. Only hardware where the magnet not holded on to was the buckles where chest and legstraps tighten. They did had a stainless look.

I questioned the dealer who i ordered it and he said no it is stainless rings. Got rid of the rig coz of this issue and another one which is not related to this post. Now im much happier after ordering a rig with good track record and made in USA.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jerry,
If it were an austenitic stainless steel that was fully annealed, then you would be correct.

On the other hand,I believe these to be either ferritic stainless steel or martensitic stainless steel which both are ferromagnetic and can be tested by MPT.

If the rings were off of the harnesses and I was to do the testing, this would be my preferred method of testing due to cost,etc.But since the rings are on the harnesses, I think they would need to go the extra mile on cost and do Digital RT.


MEL
Skyworks Parachute Service, LLC
www.Skyworksparachuteservice.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
woppyvac

I've been reading this topic with interest. Any update as to what the initial issue is that is being investigated? Looks like most of what has been written is speculation. Regardless, talk about a blow to PS... :/



I have an update and will post it once it is made public and I am allowed to release it. Should be here in a very short time.
www.facebook.com/FlintHillsRigging

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
UPDATE:

All affected Vortex rigs which were subject to this service bulletin will be replaced with brand new harness/container systems at no cost. The manufacturer of the rings was unable to guarantee this was an isolated incident and as such, the most viable option to address the safety concern is for the company to replace the harness/container assemblies.

Additional production lines have been added at the factory to handle these replacements in a timely manner and production time for orders currently in production as well as future orders will not be impacted. All current and future orders are built with alternate hardware and are not subject to this recall. Please see the attached updated service bulletin as well as the form necessary to have the harness/container replaced.
www.facebook.com/FlintHillsRigging

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The replacement process is not a disassembly and rebuild of your existing container system. This is a completely new container being built and shipped at no charge to the consumer. As such, this is an opportunity for you to change your color scheme at no additional charge if you would like, however please note that changes to the container sizing will carry a fee of $150 as this will also require additional components to be manufactured that are not subject to the recall (i.e. deployment bag/pc assembly). You can also add rsl, skyhook, and custom embroidery for a fee.

Shipping will be done per the service bulletin instructions. I am willing to assist any Parachute Systems customer in making this process as smooth as possible, even if you did not originally purchase your container system from Flint Hills Rigging. If you need assistance, you can contact me via email at FlintHillsRigging@gmail.com, on facebook at Facebook.com/FlintHillsRigging, or via PM.
www.facebook.com/FlintHillsRigging

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Parachute Systems has today posted the update to its Service Bulletin 2016-01 which was posted on January 4th, 2016, and resulted in the grounding of its Vortex harness containers which were manufactured with stainless steel hardware stamped “DSF”. (These are the ONLY Vortex harness containers that are involved)

After a week of investigation, research, meetings and consideration, it has been decided that rather than risk even one possible failure on a ring in use, to recall and replace all the Vortex harness containers that are affected. This means that all Vortex containers in use with "DSF" stamped stainless steel hardware are PERMANENTLY GROUNDED.

This has not been an easy decision to make especially given that there is no clear indication, in the absence of a quick and efficient means to test all the rings in use, whether this is an isolated incident. All the stainless steel rings were passed in terms of the AQL 0.65 Special Inspection Levels S-4 prior to delivery to us. The expert opinions in this field have stated this could be an isolated possibility, however neither Parachute Systems nor Daesung Forge, the stainless steel ring manufacturers (represented by their Managing Director, Mr Seong Uk Kwon), are willing to allow any potential risk to the safety of any skydivers with this hardware.

This decision, which we believe is historic and a first in the skydiving industry, reiterates our commitment to our customers that our Company has taken the ‘highest of the high roads’ when it comes to the their safety. Our mission statement to provide ‘safe, high quality and competitively priced’ products means what it says, even in the face of difficult, expensive and hard choices.

All means to produce the replacement harness containers are immediately being put into place, including increased production lines, additional staff, and the set up of administrative procedures to facilitate the return of each item that is to be replaced. We assure our customers that turn around times and replacements will be done in as fast a manner possible while maintaining a very high standard of quality.

Daesung Forge, the hardware manufacturers, have stood behind their part of the replacement procedure and acted with the highest integrity and honor in this collaboration to replace these harness containers that are affected and we are very grateful to them for their major part in assuming responsibility for the replacement of these affected products and the shipping to and from the factory to replace these harness containers.

While there will, undoubtedly, be customers who are frustrated and upset by the grounding of their gear and the wait to receive their replacements, we believe, unequivocally, that we would rather have all of our customers safe with a new product that does not have any possibility of failure on its hardware than risk keeping everyone happy with a less safe, more popular decision and the continued use of the products as they now are.

No Vortex harness containers with the stainless steel hardware stamped “DSF” are excluded from this decision to permanently ground them and they all need to be returned in order to receive the replacement which will give customers the new updated ‘skyhook ready’ design and magnetic riser covers, which are now standard. Claims for replacements must be received by December 31st, 2016 and follow the procedures outlined on the Service Bulletin. Any size changes or extras are set out on the replacement form and will attract the additional charges as laid out. Any color changes, provided they are the standard available colors (camo is not considered the standard range) will not attract an additional charge.

We apologize again to our customers for the inconvenience and we understand that it has been frustrating waiting for us to determine the facts and consider the options. We are very sure, however, that we have, in collaboration with the hardware manufacturers, made the best decision and are doing the ‘right’ thing and that in so doing we are able to show our customers what ‘our best attention at all times’ means and will mean in the future.

The updated service bulletin is available on our website (http://tinyurl.com/hnak23q) and under downloads you will find the ‘Vortex Replacement Program’ claim form (http://tinyurl.com/z434ffa). All queries in regards to this recall should be addressed to vortexrecall@parachutesystems.com.

We thank you all for your patience and hope that as we value your safety and are committed to serving you as our customers, you will continue to support us and our products through this process and in the future.

We assure you of our best attention at all times and Blue Skies!

Parachute Systems Team


www.facebook.com/FlintHillsRigging

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
samlee

It's a pretty crappy situation for all but that's quite exception customer service, kudos!!



Now THAT is the answer the other guy needed in the thread about customer service. It would have been much cheaper to take apart the rigs and do just the harness work but they are not pursuing that option because it's not what is best for the customer.
www.facebook.com/FlintHillsRigging

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

0