1. Home
  2. News Releases
  3. Back Issues
  4. December FY2018
  5. New Japan-Oriented International Standards Issued for Assessment of Performance of Fiber Ropes Used for Large Oil Tankers, Electronic Equipment and Others

New Japan-Oriented International Standards Issued for Assessment of Performance of Fiber Ropes Used for Large Oil Tankers, Electronic Equipment and Others

December 20, 2018

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO)* approved a method for determining the electrostatic charging propensity of fiber ropes by measuring surface potential and issued the method as new ISO international standards. These new standards are based on the proposal filed to the ISO by Japan, an effort in response to the proposal submitted to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) by Takagi Kogyo Co., Ltd. and Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation, taking advantage of the Standardization System for Cultivating New Markets, a project commissioned by METI. The new standards stipulate a method for measuring withstand voltages and changes thereof using electrostatic charge generated by applying continuous friction to the surfaces of fiber ropes. The new standards will allow objective assessment of the performance of fiber ropes that enable curbing of electrostatic charge and they are expected to contribute to further promotion of fair trade of fiber ropes worldwide.

*Note: Japan is a secretariat of the ISO Technical Committee 38: Textiles, a committee that has examined Japan’s proposal for the standards.

1. Background

As development and dissemination of sophisticated fibers with a variety of characteristics, such as light weight and ultrahigh intensity, are advancing, industries inside and outside Japan have been cultivating new use and markets of sophisticated fiber ropes as alternatives for ropes made of metal raw materials.

Meanwhile, many industries have been requesting development of objective methods for assessing the newly developed materials, i.e., fiber ropes, to meet social demand. In response, Japan submitted a proposal for developing new standards for a method for assessing electrostatic charging propensity, and the new standards were successfully issued by the ISO as one of such objective methods mentioned above. When industries use fiber ropes as alternatives for ropes made of metal raw materials in some environments, e.g., on large oil tankers and in electronic equipment, where electrostatic charge should be avoided, they are required to assess the electrostatic charging propensity of such fiber ropes to prevent accidents that may be caused by spark discharge. Nevertheless, no methods have been stipulated for objective assessment of electrostatic charging propensity before.

2. Outline of the new standard

Various types of fibers, which are materials of fiber ropes, have characteristics of taking charge if they receive friction (see Figure).

The new standards aim to measure the surface potential of fiber ropes caused by electrostatic charge that is generated by tribocharging, the method of which is conducted through the following steps:

  1. Twist the ends of a fiber rope and form a loop;
  2. Mount the looped rope on a unit that drives the rope, apply friction to the rope by the unit and charge it; and
  3. Measure the surface potential of the rope using a contact-less electrostatic voltmeter.


(Figure: Electrostatic charge generated by friction between fiber ropes)

3. Expected effects

This measuring method will allow industries to measure and compare electrostatic charging propensity generated by friction on fiber ropes made of any raw materials and the method is expected to be applied to assessment of electrostatic charging propensity according to use conditions of products.

International popularization of this measuring method under the ISO will contribute to harmonization of methods for assessing materials with performance for curbing electrostatic charge on ropes and other materials and this is expected to encourage fair trade of fiber ropes and improve users’ trust in such ropes.

ISO code Name of the standards Summary of the standards
ISO 20615 Fiber ropes - Electrostatic surface potential measuring method The standards stipulate a method for measuring surface potential of fiber ropes generated by tribocharging.

Division in Charge

International Standardization Division, Industrial Science and Technology Policy and Environment Bureau