Samson Launches New Towline Product

Samson has launched the Saturn-12. Developed for the tug industry, Saturn-12 is a 12-strand single braid construction made of Dyneema with a unique proprietary coating that reduces internal abrasion and increases the rope's residual strength by as much as 20%.

Samson's flagship product AmSteel®-Blue has been the tug industry's towline of choice for many years because of its easy handling, high strength, and light weight, in addtion to the already abrasion resistant nature of Dyneema®, a high modulus polyethylene (HMPE) fiber. However, due to the extreme conditions that a towline is exposed to, the Samson team endeavored to take it to the next level of resistance to abrasion. The result is a line that is unlike any other HMPE line offered to the tug industry.

"Two years ago, we started looking into ways that would increase the abrasion resistance of AmSteel®-Blue," explained Samson Commercial Marine North American Sales Director Terry Crump. "We came up with a new coating that significantly reduces internal abrasion." Internal abrasion is caused by the relative movement of internal and external yarns. While external abrasion is obvious, any compromise of the rope’s strength due to internal abrasion may go unnoticed.

Samthane, Samson's family of abrasion-resistant coatings, is specifically formulated to match end-user requirements and specific rope constructions. The newest coating, Samthane Type E, is a natural progression of Samson coating technology and is what makes Saturn-12 unlike any other HMPE line in the business.

"The specially formulated coating lubricates the fibers' surfaces to enhance their abrasion resistance," said Samson's Vice President of Reseach and Development Dr. Rafael Chou. "Full penetration of the coating into the fibers provides better protection of each individual strand, both externally and internally."

Extensive lab and field-simulation work was dedicated to the development of the coating, as well as excellent process control to ensure consistent quality of the product. "As a result of the efforts made by Samson R&D, we’re seeing an increase of 15–20% in the rope's residual strength," Crump explained.

The initial field trials for Saturn-12 have been impressive. "We are in the testing phase of Saturn-12 and are exceptionally pleased with its improved abrasion resistance," said Captain Steve Huttman, Director of Marine Operations for G & H Towing. "We've been using AmSteel®-Blue on our tractor tugs since 2000. We have worked closely with Samson since the roll out of Saturn-12, and based on the initial test results to date, we are planning to convert our existing tractor fleet to Saturn-12. Plus, we see Saturn-12 as the next generation line that will go with our next generation 'Z-Tech' tractor tugs."

A complement to Samson's other working lines made with Dyneema®, Saturn-12 can be used either as a pendant or as a main line. It maintains the light weight, high strength, and low stretch of AmSteel®-Blue, while providing the same efficient connections and controlled response.


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