Fixe PLX HCR - "New"? Metal as alt to Titanium?


Original Post
mattm · · TX · Joined Jun 2006 · Points: 550

Just stumbled across this:

http://techrock.es/en/news/plx-hcr-anchors-2016

Never even heard of it but MEC.ca already lists some items such as their normal 10mm hanger for $3CAD which is damn good.

Anyone know what this material is? Just rebranded known metal?

Fixe PLX HCR Flyer Page 1

Fixe PLX HCR Info


Greg Kuchyt · · Richmond, VT · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 785

Yes, likely just a re-branded known alloy. Apparently no one wants to be left out of the market once the UIAA finalizes the material specs.

Petzl also has an HCR version of the Coeur bolt/hanger.

https://www.petzl.com/US/en/Sport/Anchors/COEUR-BOLT-HCR#.V9BhF5MrKL4

It's 904 stainless steel according to the tech sheet and I imagine Fixe is somewhere in that same camp. I think the likely candidate alloys were discussed in the "End Game" thread (paraphrasing the title). Basically it was 9xx series from my memory.


Bill Shubert · · Lexington, MA · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 50

My first thought: Somebody should tell that copywriter that "high corrosion resistance," "stress corrosion cracking," "stainless steel," etc., are not proper nouns.

But hey, if it's got characteristics similar to titanium for prices similar to steel, that's got to be a good thing, right?


Greg Kuchyt · · Richmond, VT · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 785

I'm not one to trust marketing and would have to do the leg work to learn more about those alloys compared to titanium. Maybe someone here is more knowledgable and can comment on whether they are truly a panacea or if they have caveats that make them still secondary to titanium in areas like Thailand where stress corrosion cracking is at its worse?


patto · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 0

Its a high end stainless steel. Not exactly new stuff from what I can see. But high end stainless steel should perform well in most aspects except for weight in which titanium is always going to have an edge.


20 kN · · Hawaii · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,128

HCR is not a specific type of metal but rather more like a class. I dont know what the exact standard is, but I suspect pretty much any metal with a pitting resistance equivalent number value of 32 or higher could be called HCR. Grade 304 has around 18 and 316 has around 24. Maybe Jim knows the exact standard and can comment further.

Anyway, my guess would be they make it out 904L or 2205. Probably 2205 or some other duplex steel. Until they make a bolt to match this hanger though, it's fairly useless. Pairing an HCR hanger with an inadequate bolt does not solve anything. Regardless, I would still stick with titanium as it's superior to 904L and 2205 in corrosion resistance.


20 kN · · Hawaii · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,128
Greg Kuchyt wrote:Yes, likely just a re-branded known alloy. Apparently no one wants to be left out of the market once the UIAA finalizes the material specs. Petzl also has an HCR version of the Coeur bolt/hanger. petzl.com/US/en/Sport/Ancho... It's 904 stainless steel according to the tech sheet and I imagine Fixe is somewhere in that same camp. I think the likely candidate alloys were discussed in the "End Game" thread (paraphrasing the title). Basically it was 9xx series from my memory.
Wow, only $797 too!

good deal

Greg Kuchyt · · Richmond, VT · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 785
20 kN wrote: Wow, only $797 too!
Not that it really matters for me because I wouldn't use them, but it's unclear if that is for a pack of 20 or not. I was hoping even if $40 that it wasn't an accurate final price, but I mean that could be great for Titan Climbing if titanium became the cheapest option. I have to imagine that Fixe and Petzl would get a more competitive price point. Then again, the Collinox and Bat'inox are both exceedingly expensive as well. That's due to them being forged?

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 0
patto wrote:Its a high end stainless steel. Not exactly new stuff from what I can see. But high end stainless steel should perform well in most aspects except for weight in which titanium is always going to have an edge.
Hmm, if it is a high end stainless steel then "material and production costs are comarable to those of conventional austenitic stainless steels..." is debateable, a Duplex like 1.4462 cost three times as much as 316L at the moment and everything else like 904 is much, much more. The production costs are also higher as tool wear is considerably increased.
That there is a material out there that combines the characteristics Fixe claim is interesting, even my stockholder hasn´t heard of it.
I´ve an idea what it could be but we´ll wait for someone to do an anylaysis on it or Fixe to actually say what it is.
Incidentally it´s reported to be strongly attracted by a magnet which eliminates a fair few possibilities.

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 0
20 kN wrote:HCR is not a specific type of metal but rather more like a class. I dont know what the exact standard is, but I suspect pretty much any metal with a pitting resistance equivalent number value of 32 or higher could be called HCR. Grade 304 has around 18 and 316 has around 24. Maybe Jim knows the exact standard and can comment further. Anyway, my guess would be they make it out 904L or 2205. Probably 2205 or some other duplex steel. Until they make a bolt to match this hanger though, it's fairly useless. Pairing an HCR hanger with an inadequate bolt does not solve anything. Regardless, I would still stick with titanium as it's superior to 904L and 2205 in corrosion resistance.
As far as I know there is no strict definition, not from the standards organisations anyway. Hilti talk about PREN´s in the mid 40´s but the PREN isn´t the whole story when it comes to corrosion.
HCR wedge bolts (normally 1.4529 stainless) are available from most European manufacturers at a price!

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,017
Greg Kuchyt wrote: Not that it really matters for me because I wouldn't use them, but it's unclear if that is for a pack of 20 or not. I was hoping even if $40 that it wasn't an accurate final price, but I mean that could be great for Titan Climbing if titanium became the cheapest option. I have to imagine that Fixe and Petzl would get a more competitive price point. Then again, the Collinox and Bat'inox are both exceedingly expensive as well. That's due to them being forged?
Actually, it's not unclear, if you go to the petzl website and scroll dewn below the screenshot posted by 20 kN to the description it clearly states that it's a 20 bolt package, so yeah, $40 per bolt, but as you mentioned, the Collinox is $20 and the Bat'inox is $36, so comparing them to those prices $40 doesn't sound so bad. Personally I don't see any reason to use these over the titanium bolts which are a fraction of the cost and have known corrosion resistance properties.

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 0
kennoyce wrote: Actually, it's not unclear, if you go to the petzl website and scroll dewn below the screenshot posted by 20 kN to the description it clearly states that it's a 20 bolt package, so yeah, $40 per bolt, but as you mentioned, the Collinox is $20 and the Bat'inox is $36, so comparing them to those prices $40 doesn't sound so bad. Personally I don't see any reason to use these over the titanium bolts which are a fraction of the cost and have known corrosion resistance properties.
€31.95 ($30.19 to you guys with Euro sales tax removed)for the bolt/hanger here in Europe or €25.00 ($23.60) from a well known Spanish discounter.
The price (and the price I pay for my stainless) is why I don´t think PLX is 904 or anything remotely similar.

Greg Kuchyt · · Richmond, VT · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 785
kennoyce wrote: Actually, it's not unclear, if you go to the petzl website and scroll dewn below the screenshot posted by 20 kN to the description it clearly states that it's a 20 bolt package, so yeah, $40 per bolt, but as you mentioned, the Collinox is $20 and the Bat'inox is $36, so comparing them to those prices $40 doesn't sound so bad. Personally I don't see any reason to use these over the titanium bolts which are a fraction of the cost and have known corrosion resistance properties.
I only say that it was unclear because if you look at the Bat'inox page...

https://www.petzl.com/US/en/Sport/Anchors/BAT-INOX#.V9Fzm5MrKL8

It lists what I remember as the unit price ($36.95) for the pack of 10. Unless everyone that sells it is marking it up 10x? Sane logic suggests it's $797 for 20 though.

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,017
Greg Kuchyt wrote: I only say that it was unclear because if you look at the Bat'inox page... petzl.com/US/en/Sport/Ancho... It lists what I remember as the unit price ($36.95) for the pack of 10. Unless everyone that sells it is marking it up 10x? Sane logic suggests it's $797 for 20 though.
Nice, I might need to buy some petzl glue-ins if that price is for 10!

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,017
Jim Titt wrote: €31.95 ($30.19 to you guys with Euro sales tax removed)for the bolt/hanger here in Europe or €25.00 ($23.60) from a well known Spanish discounter. The price (and the price I pay for my stainless) is why I don´t think PLX is 904 or anything remotely similar.
Good to know Jim, Now if we could just figure out what they are made of!

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 0

Well you could just ask them direct!
Alternatively if you are a real conspiracy theorist and internet sleuth you search for who owns the trademark PLX in the steel industry using something like euipo.europa.eu/eSearch/#ba... and then have a look at SSAB´s product range.
Or whatever:-)


John Byrnes · · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 251

Thought I'd weigh-in here.

Not to let the cat out of the bag too much, but "long-term" corrosion tests have been going on at several remote sites in Thailand.

Bolts made of just about every candidate steel considered to be High Corrosion Resistant (HCR) were placed in real rock in seaside locations, with Ti bolts placed as a control. After only one year, EVERY steel bolt (904, 2205, etc.) was showing signs of corrosion (discoloration, pitting, etc.). The only material NOT showing any corrosion was the Ti bolts.

In addition, Prosek showed that both 904 & 2205 showed pitting (table 3, pg 108) in only 10 weeks when exposed to CaCl2 and MgCl2 at 40C. Pitting is very often the starting point for SCC cracks... if Prosek had run the tests longer...

So they will certainly last longer than 304/316, but no one knows just how long in a real-world application. They are clearly not appropriate for Class 1 (Thailand, Cayman Brac, Cuba, most sea cliffs, etc.).

I have criticized the UIAA's standard for even defining "Class 2" because there are no known/identified Class 2 areas on the planet (Hawaii might be) and there are no proven cost-effective materials that will withstand it.

For the U.S. the rule-of-thumb, endorsed by the Access Fund, is: Use 304/316 stainless steel but if it corrodes in any way (discoloration, pitting, rusty) then use to Ti.


20 kN · · Hawaii · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,128

On the topic of titanium, I have always been curious to see what it would take to create pitting or some other form of serious corrosion in titanium. Every test I've seen regarding climbing shows titanium as immune to all forms of corrosion, but I suspect that's not entirely true. There are metals that have higher corrosion resistance than grade two titanium, so it appears there are applications where titanium isint good enough.


Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 0
20 kN wrote:On the topic of titanium, I have always been curious to see what it would take to create pitting or some other form of serious corrosion in titanium. Every test I've seen regarding climbing shows titanium as immune to all forms of corrosion, but I suspect that's not entirely true. There are metals that have higher corrosion resistance than grade two titanium, so it appears there are applications where titanium isint good enough.
SCC in titanium has been studied since the 50´s, it occurs even in sea water with some grades. The proposed UIAA tests use a specific test for SCC in stainless steel, not a test for titanium, not suprisingly the stainless fails and the titanium passes.

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 0
John Byrnes wrote:Thought I'd weigh-in here. Not to let the cat out of the bag too much, but "long-term" corrosion tests have been going on at several remote sites in Thailand. Bolts made of just about every candidate steel considered to be High Corrosion Resistant (HCR) were placed in real rock in seaside locations, with Ti bolts placed as a control. After only one year, EVERY steel bolt (904, 2205, etc.) was showing signs of corrosion (discoloration, pitting, etc.). The only material NOT showing any corrosion was the Ti bolts. In addition, Prosek showed that both 904 & 2205 showed pitting (table 3, pg 108) in only 10 weeks when exposed to CaCl2 and MgCl2 at 40C. Pitting is very often the starting point for SCC cracks... if Prosek had run the tests longer... So they will certainly last longer than 304/316, but no one knows just how long in a real-world application. They are clearly not appropriate for Class 1 (Thailand, Cayman Brac, Cuba, most sea cliffs, etc.). I have criticized the UIAA's standard for even defining "Class 2" because there are no known/identified Class 2 areas on the planet (Hawaii might be) and there are no proven cost-effective materials that will withstand it. For the U.S. the rule-of-thumb, endorsed by the Access Fund, is: Use 304/316 stainless steel but if it corrodes in any way (discoloration, pitting, rusty) then use to Ti.
So the classes are rubbish, the proposed tests are rubbish since materials which pass them have no known lifespan in a climbing application and climbers should decide on the basis of their own practical experience in their area what to use.
Told you that years ago!

Incidentally, we still don´t know how the tests can be performed, the bolts have to be placed under the stress they will normally encounter which in the case of a bolt-in means installing them in something, the standard test block is concrete which unfortunately dissolves in MgCl2 so back to the drawing board.

John Byrnes · · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 251
Jim Titt wrote: So the classes are rubbish, the proposed tests are rubbish since
I didn't say that. Class 1, 3 and 4 are clearly reflected in what happens to climbing bolts in the real world. It's only Class 2 that is "rubbish", since it's unnecessary, and is (I think) only included as an attempt to lower the cost of rebolting places like Kalymnos. A good goal, but it's not likely to be met.

Jim Titt wrote:materials which pass them have no known lifespan in a climbing application
I disagree. Ti bolts have "passed" real-life Class 1 climbing applications in Thailand and Cayman Brac. The bolts we placed in 2000 show absolutely no corrosion and are well-used.

Jim Titt wrote:climbers should decide on the basis of their own practical experience in their area what to use. Told you that years ago!


I disagree again. Far and away the biggest problem here in the U.S. is that climbers are still placing Zn-plated bolts in new routes due to ignorance, cost or they just don't give a shit. Getting climbers to use stainless is a huge leap forward.

Jim Titt wrote: and Incidentally, we still don´t know how the tests can be performed, the bolts have to be placed under the stress they will normally encounter which in the case of a bolt-in means installing them in something, the standard test block is concrete which unfortunately dissolves in MgCl2 so back to the drawing board.
Coat the block in epoxy before the test, drill through it to place the candidates, re-seal any cracks. Can you post a link to the test description? I'm surprised that you need to stress the candidate bolts; residual stresses have always done the trick in real life.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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