Below is a statement from MSA, the manufacture of the Auto Belay Descenders. The BRC staff is sorry for any inconvenience this has caused and thank you for your continued patience. We'll keep you updated as we find out more.
Redpoint® & Auto-Belay Descenders
Stop-Use Notice Update
November 3, 2009
As you are already aware, MSA issued a Stop Use Notice on Redpoint and Auto-Belay Descenders on October 14, 2009. The Stop Use Notice was emailed and mailed to all Redpoint and affected Auto-Belay purchasers that MSA has on record. In addition, this notice has been circulated via the Internet through climbing wall organizations and social networking sites, and it has been posted on the MSA website. We have made every effort to ensure that all users of the Redpoint and Auto-Belay Descenders have been notified of this situation.
We understand the difficulties and challenges that our Stop Use Notice creates for owners of climbing walls and/or climbing gyms, and we regret any inconvenience that users may experience as a result of this equipment being out of service. However, user safety is our primary concern.
Both units involved in the reported accelerated descents, specified in the recent Stop Use notice, have been returned to us for evaluation. Our review discovered no evidence of any physical damage that would have affected the rate of descent. Over the past two weeks, we have conducted a thorough investigation and several key performance tests in attempt to pinpoint the root cause of the reported accelerated descents. We have dimensionally checked the brakes, induced stresses on the brakes and one-way bearing in several ways, and conducted a dimensional and chemical analysis of the bearing; however, to date, our testing has not produced an accelerated descent. Bearings have been sent to the bearing manufacturer for further independent analysis, and we are currently awaiting a report. We are also conducting additional tests to determine the effect of vibration on the performance of the bearing. We expect to have the results of these tests in approximately one week. It is important that the Stop Use remain in effect. Please do not use any Redpoint Descender or affected Auto-Belay Descender until advised by MSA. As a reminder, the Stop Use Notice applies to the following descender units:
• All Redpoint Descenders (part numbers 10024873, 10027646, and 10027798)
regardless of the date the unit was manufactured or last serviced,
• Auto-Belay Descenders (part number 10021806) manufactured or last serviced on
or after June 30, 2000.
Rest assured we are making every effort to complete our investigation as quickly as possible and, more importantly, provide you with an effective and safe resolution to this matter.
As additional information becomes available, we will be sure to communicate it to you in a timely fashion. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to provide you with the answers you need.
If you have any questions, please contact MSA Customer Service in North America at 1-800-MSA-2222 or your nearest MSA affiliate listed at www.MSAnet.com.
Very truly yours,
Charles J. Seibel, Jr.
Manager of Product Safety