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Press Release by CCH

Submitted By: John McNamee on Aug 30, 2006


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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

The Orange CCH Alien cam that was reportedly involved in the Paradise Forks incident, has turned out to be dated 10-05, rather than the highly publicized date of early 2004. This information has been verified the by the Coconino County Sheriffs Depart both verbally and in photographic form, with Dave Waggoner of CCH, during CCH’s own internal investigation. It is however still unknown if this unit was clearly dimpled.

The window of the recall was 11-04 to 12-05, thus any Alien cams date coded during this period should be tested, dimpled or not.

CCH will tensile test customers’ Aliens, of any manufacture date at no charge, to ensure that they will withstand a fall. Testing is done to 2/3 the rated tensile strength. After testing, all cams are currently being identified with a “Tensile Tested” stamp on the main swage above the loop. We will test and return cams to our customers within 1 week of receiving them.

Please attach your complete contact information to each unit being returned for testing, to facilitate a speedy turn-around.


Dave Waggoner

Colorado Custom Hardware Inc.
115 East Lyon Street
Laramie, WY 82072 USA
(307) 721-9385


Comments on Press Release by CCH Add Comment
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated May 16, 2007
By Ben Kiessel
Aug 30, 2006

I can't believe what a pain it must be dealing with these defects. But I can tell you that I still have full faith in my aliens and will continue to use and buy them for years to come. They are simply the best small camming units on the market.

By Jason Haas
From: Broomfield, CO
Aug 30, 2006

My wife just bought me a new blue alien for my birthday. There's no dimples on it, and the only number imprinted on this unit is 805 below the trigger. Does this stand for 8/05 (August, 2005)?

By John McNamee
Administrator
From: Littleton, CO
Aug 30, 2006

Jason,

Any chance I you could ask your wife to talk to my wife about birthday presents!

Cheers,

John

By brenta
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 30, 2006

Yes, my understanding is that the 805 below the trigger stands for August 2005. I have a red Alien marked 605; I'm going to send it to CCH to be tested.

By Jason Haas
From: Broomfield, CO
Aug 30, 2006

I'll do my best John, but no promises ;)

Thanks Brenta, I'll send mine in then

By Kevin Craig
Aug 31, 2006

Interesting. This is a subtle but important modification to the official CPSC recall on their website which only cited cams made between 11/04 and 12/05 WITH the dimple. Unfortunately, this subtle change (dimpled or not) adds about 6 cams to the stack I have set aside to send back to CCH. I'm still an Alien fan though.

By Buff Johnson
Aug 31, 2006

Clearly a concern to me also; the initial recall listed on the CCH site was very specific as to a cam having a dimple, not period of time: "The units with this issue are marked with a small center punch dimple (picture) at the base of the round ball where the axle goes through the cable eye. Although few failures have been reported, CCH recommends immediately discontinuing the use of any Alien cams with this mark. We are issuing a full recall of these cams."

Yes, the CPSC also issued a similar comment as to the dimple:

"These camming anchors or �Alien Cams� are devices used as both a precautionary measure to stop a climber in the event of falls, or it is used to actually support the climber. Climbers insert the device into cracks or crevasses in rock and it grips the sides of the crack. The recalled units are marked with a small center punch dimple at the base of the round ball where the axle goes through the cable eye. They have production dates, from November 2004 (written as 1104) through December 2005 (written as 1205), which can be found on the bottom of the handle puller."

BUT, One thing I noticed in the report from NW Laboratories, in one of their summary comments: "The subject and recall cams had been improperly brazed, thus leading to a premature failure of both."

Now, I can only guess there is more within the definition of the subject group than just a dimpled cam which is not given in the NW Laboratories' comments as they had been provided to us. I'm an Alien fan also, but after reviewing the full extent of this recall, I'm disappointed in the ambiguity of: look for a dimple & CCH will issue a full recall. It certainly was assumed by me that the dimple was the basis for which a cam could be considered for recall.

By Francis Baker (fran)
From: Las Vegas,NV
Aug 31, 2006

I just returned all six of the new ones I bought recently to the retailer. All in the date range and one which had the dimple. The store mgr told me there was only problems with the dimpled ones. They took them all back anyway...100% satisfaction overrides no returns on climbing gear.

Kevin Craig wrote:
Interesting. This is a subtle but important modification to the official CPSC recall on their website which only cited cams made between 11/04 and 12/05 WITH the dimple. Unfortunately, this subtle change (dimpled or not) adds about 6 cams to the stack I have set aside to send back to CCH. I'm still an Alien fan though.


The next bit is my educated guess.

I have always only been able to get aliens in small gear shops. They are a small co. with low production(units/year). This is all a good thing. In the last few years CCH wanted to fill large orders for bigger retailers. This meant a need to increase production. I think they outsourced production to increase units/year but as with most cases quality control was sacrificed.

Again...this is just what I THINK happened.

Troy D. wrote:
Its sad to see the brilliant design of Aliens under such scrutiny. If it was up to me, I would sell the design to another climbing manufacturer and wash my hands with the company. CCH has blown it, therefore they should capitalize on what is left...the design.


Maybe not a bad idea.

By Gary Olsen
Sep 1, 2006

John,
where did you get this press release? RC.com? ST?

I did not see it on their website.

I work at a place that has extreme hazards and many different systems to safeguard against potentially devastating accidents to the community. Incidents are fully investigated and disclosed. Corrective actions are implemented. As an engineer I tell my peers that I am a "show me" type engineer. Dont, tell me how good things are, dont tell me what I want to hear.

SHOW ME. Give me some hard facts.

While many of these things are difficult for a small manufacturer, until CCH discloses A LOT of information, we are in the dark as to their manufacturing process and their quality program.

The testing report quoted above was excerpted from only one page of the full report listed on the CCH web site. Did CCH skew the results by sending the testing company only one or two samples? How was it tested? They need to get their act together before someone dies. If something that bad happens it will be bad for the entire industry.

By John McNamee
Administrator
From: Littleton, CO
Sep 1, 2006

Gary,

I initially got the press release from a posting in the earlier news item titled New Alien failure?

A couple of days later I noticed a similiar thread on supertopo that has some fantastic photos of a broken alien.

Heres the link Supertopo

By Chris Owen
Administrator
From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake
Sep 1, 2006

I looked at the photos of the failed Alien - in particular photo number 2. You all know this; the brazed joint pulled out. Now I'm not sure how CCH rate their cams and if the brazed joint is the weak spot, brazing is usually very strong, although I'm not sure how you would visually inspect this kind of joint, because it's recessed into the cam-axle hub. I would say that this kind of design merits static testing of all joints to a reasonable % of the brazed joints design strength BEFORE full assembly of the cam - a loading fixure would be pretty straightforward to design - for personal protection equipment, it's the only way to go.

Sorry it's the engineer in me.

By Octavian Florescu
Jan 12, 2007

I had 13 out of my 16 aliens (offsets and regular ones) tensile tested by CCH sometime in Oct 06. They were very prompt testing and sending them back (it took about 10 days). My confidence in the cams is somewhat shaken by these incidents, but having them tested, I decided to keep them on my rack, as I have not personally found anything better yet.

By Ladd Raine
Administrator
From: Plymouth, NH
May 16, 2007

What happens if your alien breaks when they test it, are you S.O.L. or do they replace it?
I know I'm late on the ball however I JUST looked at my aliens and they are 12/05