Rheden, 9 February 2024


Cato Composites commissions new “Fast Forging” Manufacturing Cell  for structural TPC parts.


New TPC Manufacturing Solution for Doubling capacities of fast forged Carbon components with 50% weight reduction vs. forged aluminum.


Since 2022 Cato Composites has been manufacturing Forged Carbon Thermoplastic Composite tree climbing shanks for the German brand Distel using Cato’s Fast Forging technology. The benefits of this application and manufacturing process in short are;


  • 50% weight saving vs. forged aluminum parts using Carbon UD tapes.
  • Manufacturing complex net shaped parts avoiding trim losses and reducing cost.
  • Fast Forging in multiple cavity tooling reducing cycle time and cost.
  • Avoiding CNC trimming leading to in mould sealed edges achieving higher strength.


In close cooperation with the leading brand Distel, Cato Composites has now increased its capacity for the Carbon tree climbing shanks made out of Carbon/PC UD Tapes.


Press with double cavity tool


Cato has commissioned its new Fast Forging Manufacturing Cell including an energy efficient press and fast heating and cooling system using a multi cavity tool. This investment secures the supply of the shanks for the coming years and has increased the capacity.


Tree climbing shanks

Climbing trees with specialized equipment is a skilled and essential task performed by arborists or service engineers for tree maintenance. In this practice, the tree climbing gear's shank plays a crucial role in bearing the full dynamic loads of the climber. Traditionally, these shanks have been crafted from materials like steel, aluminum, or thermoset composites.


The innovative tree climbing shank, utilizing UD CFRTP (Uni-Directional Carbon Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastic), is designed with an anisotropic lay-up comprising over 50 layers of uni-directional Carbon/PC tapes. This tailored construction aims to maximize lightweight performance, resulting in a remarkable 50% reduction in weight compared to conventional forged aluminum solutions.

Tree climbers


Crucially, the tree climbing shank is a safety-oriented product, adhering to stringent ASTM standards. It can withstand minimumloads of 330 kg on one foot, showcasing robust durability even in the challenging environment of the forest. This advancement signifies a significant leap forward in both safety and efficiency for professionals engaged in tree climbing activities.


Cato’s Fast Forging process

Cato has been operating “Fast Forging” of Thermoplastic Composites since many years. The process is suited for in mould consolidation of complex and thick lay-ups in the intermediate volumes, like anti-ballistic products, furniture components and now also forged Carbon components. When volume demands increase Cato chooses to Manufacture TPC parts on its “Fast Thermoforming” lines with fast cycle time and high output. Innovation Manager Menno Hensbroek: “Fast Forging is a useful addition to Cato’s Manufacturing Solutions set-up” it enables efficient use of materials and is in some case more cost effective.

Distel Tree climbers