Sling Tech Inc.: An Industry Leader in Synthetic Slings

Sling Tech Inc. (Sling Tech) was founded in 1990 in Concord, Ontario, when operations consisted of just one type of sling and two employees. Doug Barrett, founder and president of Sling Tech, had been employed previously in Alberta at another sling manufacturer until it went out of business. “It’s kind of like being a hockey player,” says Barrett of his work. “Once you’re in this industry you don’t leave.” And Barrett’s efforts in the industry have resulted in ongoing success for Sling Tech.

“We’ve steadily increased in size,” recalls Mandy Rij, head of sales and marketing at Sling Tech. “We’ve changed locations five times over the last 20 years to accommodate our growth.” The business moved to its current location in Barrie, Ontario, in 2005. Sling Tech’s new location afforded the company more space and more reliable employees, which Rij says was hard to find in the company’s former location.

The team has grown to 45 employees, all of whom are capable of performing complete manufacturing of synthetic and metal slings in-house. “We have a great team,” beams Rij. “The majority of the employees we started with here in Barrie still work with us today.”

Setting New Standards

Metal slings made of chain or wire rope are still popular in many industries, but synthetic slings are replacing them in many applications across North America. “Most of the time it’s not a matter of people using one or the other,” explains Rij. “It’s more that there’s a transition happening from metal to synthetic.”

“There are companies dealing with concrete slabs or steel coils where synthetics can become damaged or cut,” says Rij. “Even for those tough environments we now have synthetic products that can do the job.” Rij believes that many companies distrust the capacity of synthetic slings.

“Some people are hesitant,” she says. “They’ve always used chain or wire rope for their needs. They don’t think a synthetic option could be that strong, but we’re showing them a background, history and test reports.”

Synthetic slings are actually stronger, lighter in weight and easier to use than wire rope or chains. Rij compares Sling Tech’s Super Slinger round sling to a metal sling of the same capacity. “You can use a synthetic sling that weighs 100 pounds, or you can use a metal sling that weighs 1,500 pounds,” she explains.

With the introduction of high-performance fibers, synthetics not only reduce the time spent placing the rigging in position for the lift, but also reduce the amount of back and shoulder injuries sustained on jobsites resulting from dragging heavy chains or wire rope. Sling Tech’s synthetic products also come in handy when moving sensitive material because metal slings can damage loads. In businesses that have precious cargo – granite counter tops – or companies moving valuable or easily damaged products, synthetic slings can move loads without leaving a trace.

Now For Some Sling Completely Different

Sling Tech is Canadian-owned and -operated, and every effort is made to source domestically. However, Rij says some materials in recent years are imported to keep down costs. “We were lucky enough to retain growth throughout the recession,” she explains. “It definitely affected us, but overall it wasn’t too bad.”

Sling Tech distributes through industrial supply stores, which is fairly unusual in this industry as many of the company’s competitors manufacture and sell direct. Rij has noticed a change in the distributor’s buying patterns. “They weren’t carrying inventory, weren’t keeping a large stock,” she says. Fortunately, the company managed to absorb the demand dip by landing some new accounts.

Sustained growth is in the future for Sling Tech, and Barrett has his eyes on expanded distribution. “In this business you have to centralize manufacturing to stay competitive,” he explains. On that note there are no plans to open additional Sling Tech locations, however, new product lines are in development and the team has just introduced slings made of material with extreme resistance to abrasion and cuts.

“We’re working with a HMPE material,” Rij discloses. “It’s an incredibly strong fiber that’s been in use in the war. It’s in helmets and bulletproof vests. We’re putting that material over the top of the slings.” The new material promises to increase the work life of synthetic slings and protect the products better from wear and tear.

Sling Tech gets the job done with responsive service, providing quality products with an experienced staff. The company has strong relationships with clients and distributors and retains over 99 percent of its customers annually. A leading manufacturer of lifting slings, tie-downs and load-securing products, Sling Tech also offers consultation in proper product selection, safe use, care and inspection of its quality industrial products.

In-house production capabilities ensure that the company is ready to meet varying specifications and excels at customizing sling types and sizes. Producing products available all over Canada through a solid network of distributors and suppliers, Sling Tech Inc. has the industry experience to secure safety and success.