You know how back in the day if you wanted to "download" a song, you would have to turn on the radio function on your ghetto blaster, insert a blank cassette tape, and then press record when a good song came on? Well back in the day, Rope Techs used the Shunt as the go-to back up device. But then change happened when the Shunt was reviewed not only by the manufacturer (Petzl), but by the rope access trade association (IRATA), and the rope access community. And the result was that the Shunt was no longer suitable for rope access work. Mayhem ensued and to this day, older techs..I mean, "wiser" rope techs, still debate this issue over their after work craft beer sessions.
In this time of turmoil, while the Shunt was being reviewed; Safe Tec took matters into their own hands. They created the Safe Tec Duck-R rope access back up device and had it certified to a standard. This device soon became the "new Shunt" and is the go-to back up device for various situations.
An all too familiar design, especially for most of the older rope access technicians. And although the original design (Duck Mk1) was a direct copy of the Petzl Shunt (with single rope capability only, and minor tweaks); the second generation brings a more robust device with similar function.
So why the Duck-R?
There are many situations where a rope access backup device like the Duck-R may be more suitable for use. The Duck R is great as a small secondary backup device on your kit when using an ASAP as your primary backup (rope transfers, etc.); or when you need a form of fall restraint in various work locations. When assessing any piece of equipment for use, companies and personnel must ensure that it not only fits the purpose (ie: “it says its designed for industrial rope access use”), but that the equipment must also be suitable for the type of work and the work environment. For tighter work locations (where there are plenty of equipment/hazards underneath; such as pipe racks), we look at the fall clearance distances required and determine that backup devices like the Duck-R may be more suitable than backup devices such as the Petzl ASAP or ASAP lock.
To outline some of its' features, we've created another gear poster for your viewing pleasure!