The brainchild of a team of engineers with a shared background in designing rescue hoists and winches for helicopters, the Ronin Lift is a game-changer in the tower industry. It allows climbers to ascend to height quickly and safely, and it’s affordable enough to be in the hands of every at-height worker.
Ronin CEO Bryant Bertrand said his team “decided to embark on an adventure” in 2016 when they started to design an ascender available to every climber, regardless of skill level, and inclusive of all at height industries.
Released in 2018, the Ronin Lift is easy to use, lightweight (at less than 25 pounds), and can support a working load of 400 pounds. Features like powered reverse, a variable lift speed of up to two feet per second, a hands-free brake, and a hot-swappable battery pack make it ideal for tower climbers, arborists, utility workers, and other at-height professionals. The product was developed to the relevant ANSI standards in the U.S. and is certified to European standards. Watch how it works here.
Bertrand described how the Ronin Lift helps prevent accidents by fighting the root cause:
“In at height industries, climbers are required to strap on a ton of fall protection equipment. Then they are asked to manually haul this equipment in addition to their own body weight up towers daily. This is physically tiring and increases worker fatigue. Studies have shown fatigue is the primary driver of mistakes and injuries. We’re looking at protection before the accident,
and that is very different from the way the industry is currently operating with available PPE.”
As Bertrand sees it, since it helps prevent injuries, the Ronin Lift can improve career longevity and satisfaction for workers as they meet unprecedented demand – and build out the world’s wireless infrastructure one tower at a time.
To accomplish that goal, the Ronin team wants to get its lift into as many hands as possible – and with a price point of less than $2,000, the product is affordable for companies of all sizes. According to Ronin, that is a fraction of the price of their nearest competition.
“Our price level is close to traditional fall protection equipment,” he said. “So that when you kit out your worker with a harness, helmet, and other manual climbing equipment, the Ronin Lift can be part of that kit. And that can’t be accomplished if it’s priced too high.”
The Ronin team wants companies to look at powered ascenders as essential equipment – and not a niche item that stays in a box with limited access by crews.
“We want to see guys using this daily,” Bertrand said. “If you’re climbing a 200-foot, 300-foot tower, you should be using one of these. There’s no reason not to be. I always say, ‘what’s the point of making access equipment that nobody has access to?’”
Ronin’s first customers were smaller and mid-sized businesses – a core the company continues to serve. After the launch period, the team has also found success with larger firms, such as SoCal Edison and Davey Tree. Ronin products have also been delivered to 24 countries around the world. Bertrand said it’s crucial to bring Ronin Lift technology to a wide range of clientele and to markets that previously didn’t consider powered ascenders a viable technology for their workforce.
“We’re getting a lot of attention,” he noted. “The larger companies are now saying ‘why aren’t we doing that?’…Our customers know this is a technology that has a future, and they’ve invested the time to train their people on it.”
Ronin recognizes training is essential for powered ascenders to be widely adopted by the at height industry. For this reason, they’ve partnered with SPRAT training houses, such as Safety One, to provide certificated programs that incorporate the Ronin technology into industry specific applications.
Ronin continues to innovate new features and accessories to provide more flexibility, increased safety, and industry specific solutions. “We’ve taken customer feedback that will help guide us to produce a suite of products,” Bertrand said. “We’re developing additional products to fit niche industries.”
Ronin plans to release a complete kit, designed especially for climbers in the wireless industry – the company is anticipating release of the kit before the end of the year. The new products will be featured on the company’s website as soon as they become available.
Ronin sells the Ronin Lift through a network of distributors that keep stock on hand for quick delivery. Here is a list of distributors, or you can email Ronin directly. To stay up to date on Ronin’s offerings, subscribe to the Ronin email list. For more information you can also visit their website.