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Wire Rope Use in Garden Trellis Systems thumbnail

Wire Rope Use in Garden Trellis Systems

If you’ve been following our blog, then you’ll know by now that wire rope is one of the most versatile and adaptable pieces of equipment on the market! It is used in dozens of applications across many industries around the world, and it seems that we always have a never ending stream of articles being published showing you yet another use for the equipment. Well, today, we do have another use to write about. This is how the equipment is used in garden trellis systems.

What are garden trellis systems?

A garden trellis, often just referred to as a trellis, is a type of architectural structure which is made from some kind of open framework. It is most commonly used in order to support the growing of climbing plants, and is a great way to display them in an aesthetically pleasing way too.

garden trellis systems

An example of a trellis in a garden

They have become incredibly important and widely-used pieces of architecture, sometimes out of necessity, but sometimes just to add to the environment that they are placed within. Whether for simple home use, or for larger use in places like palace gardens, garden trellis systems are now a staple part of many gardens around the world.

Why is wire rope used?

A garden trellis system can be made from a variety of materials such as wood, plastics or, our personal favourite, rope constructed from metal wire! There are several reasons to use different materials. The first is aesthetic; what will fit in best into the surroundings and add the most value to what you are trying to achieve with your look.

Wire rope, although seemingly more industrial in nature given its metal construction, has grown in recent years as a popular aesthetic product. Wire rope balustrades, for example, are now widely used in home maintenance for structures such as decking. Not only are they safe, but they look great too.

But there are also other important considerations that you must think about too. Firstly, as the plant, vine, shrub or tree begins to grow up along the trellis, it will add extra weight to it. The trellis therefore needs to be strong and supportive. Our rope, being made of metal, is therefore one of the strongest options for those looking to create a garden trellis.

Alongside this, the trellis will most likely be outside, exposed to the elements. So, for this reason, it will need to be able to withstand all types of weather, be it sun, rain or even snow. Wire rope is great for this, as it is constructed and manufactured with resistance in mind.

Are you looking to purchase some equipment?

Are you interested in constructing your own garden trellis? Or perhaps you want to use the equipment for other forms of home maintenance, such as for garden decking? Or, maybe you work in an entirely different industry!

Regardless, we would be more than happy to help. To find out more about our wire rope, or our other range of products, please get in contact with us here.



Image credit: jill111
Using Lifting Slings with Excavators / Earth Movers thumbnail

Using Lifting Slings with Excavators / Earth Movers

Lifting slings aren’t only used for lifting and lowering loads, but are also often used to help move people, equipment and machinery. Using lifting slings in Industrial sectors, such as the mining industry, which have the need for large, heavy pieces of machinery. Lifting equipment is needed to ensure that they are handled safely around a worksite.

Read on below to find out more on how you can use slings with excavators and earth movers.

What are excavators and earth movers?

Excavators, sometimes also referred to as hydraulic excavators or earth movers, are large, heavy pieces of machinery. They are essentially used to dig and move, typically earth. But, they also have uses for applications such as river dredging, forestry mulching and drilling shafts.

using lifting slings

An example of an excavator

They are most often used in the construction, mining, forestry, oil and gas and engineering industries. They have become critical parts of many of these industries, working in conjunction with other pieces of lifting equipment. While this equipment can lift, lower and move loads with a stable shape, excavators are needed to help transport the often large quantities of earth. Unfortunately, there is simply nowhere for lifting equipment to hook onto when it comes to earth!

Using lifting slings with this machinery?

While excavators still enjoy their own special usage on these worksites, they still depend heavily on lifting slings. They can’t be driven from worksite to worksite, and must instead be loaded onto the back of transport trucks. Slings are not only used to do this, but can also be used to help secure the machinery down too.

Excavators are a somewhat awkwardly shaped load, and some lifting equipment isn’t always capable of working with loads such as this. For this reason, this equipment is also the perfect alternative for tying around a load such as this.

It’s also important that this machinery isn’t damaged in any way. While wire rope is a great lifting tool, the metal that it is constructed from can sometimes cause abrasion damage to the loads that it is lifting. While lubricants can help to minimise this damage, sometimes it is better to go with a safer alternative such as some types of lifting slings.

You’ll even see this equipment being attached to the arm of an excavator, which can then operate as a crane! So, while this equipment is commonly used to move earth, it can double up as a multi-functional piece of lifting equipment too.

Given the large and heavy nature of excavators, it’s important all the necessary safety precautions are taken. We would recommend reading this guidance information here.

Would you like to find out more?

It’s not just lifting slings that are great for moving these large pieces of equipment, but wire rope too. You can find out more about this in our extensive article Wire Rope Uses Across Different Industries and Sectors.

If you are interested in finding out more specifically about using lifting slings, then we would love to help. Please find all of our contact details listed here.



Image credit: Photo Mix



Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Rope Services Direct thumbnail

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Rope Services Direct

This post is a little different to our usual informative and useful (we hope!) content on the lifting gear industry and wire rope products. We want to take the time to wish all of our customers, both past, present and even future, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

A little thank you

Whether you are just a reader of our blog or you shop with us directly, it all helps to contribute to where we are as a company today! We are constantly looking to improve and adapt based on our customer’s feedback, and we’re always making changes along the way.

We recently changed our website a little, and while they were small changes, it all contributes in providing you with the best experience possible. We always have our eyes on the bigger changes too, looking for new insights in the industry we can share with you, or new developments in product ranges that we can use to bolster our own offering.

Our equipment is used in dozens of different industries and for many applications. Wire rope, for example, has become one of the most versatile and useful pieces of equipment around the world.


Have a great Christmas!


Not only is it used for lifting and lowering tasks, but it’s also used for things such as undersea communication cables and for internal structure support for buildings too. It’s even been used to complete famous construction projects like the Golden Gate Bridge too.

And, alongside our range of lifting slings, cargo and ratchet straps, fittings, fibre rope, balustrades, tools, assemblies and other pieces of lifting gear, we can help in more ways than one!

Want to have a chat?

Whatever your plans are for the holiday season, we hope that you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year too. We’ll still be here operating in full swing come 2018, ready to assist you in any way possible.

If you would like to enquire about joining our team, want to suggest an article that we should cover for the blog, or want to source your own piece of wire rope or other equipment, we would love to help. We offer an extensive range of products, and will always offer our expert advice that is tailored to your specific needs.

Want to have a chat? Please get in touch with us here.



Image credit: Public Domain Pictures
The Use of Lifting Strops in Factories thumbnail

The Use of Lifting Strops in Factories

Alongside our popular range of wire rope products, we also have an extensive selection of lifting strops too. They operate in many of the same industries and environments as wire rope, offering benefits where rope sometimes cannot. One such environment is in factories.

Types of factories

There are many types of factories to suit a wide range of industries. Manufacturing industries are some of the most common, and this sector contributes around £6.7 trillion to the global economy each year.

Such types may include automotive or aerospace factories. Other types can be environments such as chemical plants or oil refineries.

lifting strops

Slings are heavily used in factories

The use of lifting strops in these environments

There can be several reasons that slings may need to be used in these places. Perhaps to:

  • Operate on the production line, helping to complete the final product by lifting various parts and pieces
  • To lift and lower finished items onto transport trucks, ready to be distributed
  • Moving machinery and tools around the factory
  • Lifting workmen, allowing them to operate at height

It’s a given that wire rope is a stronger alternative to lifting slings, which is no surprise considering it is constructed from metal. When it comes down to a pure strength competition, rope is the favoured choice to many types of slings in factories.

But slings offer many additional benefits where rope is sometimes not suitable. Their lightweight and flexible nature means that they are much more portable around factories. And, this flexible nature offers a further advantage. Lifting slings can be utilised in many different ways to create different types of end-product.

For example, they can be tied into different knots, such as a basket hitch, which allows them to work with loads that may be awkward shapes.  And, thanks to their light nature, they won’t cause abrasion or scratching damage to the load, where the metal of wire rope might.

There may also be times that using metal won’t be suitable, as some factories may contain harmful substances or chemicals. While the metal used in wire rope does have resistance to corrosion, some lifting sling material offers complete resistance to acids and alkalis. And, alongside this, they are by no means ‘weak’ in nature. In fact, some can lift up to 10 tonnes, or sometimes more. This is more than suitable for many requirements in factories today.

You’ll find that there are even a number of ways that you can enhance your lifting slings, helping to make them ‘high performance’. Things such as a PVC coating can help to further protect them in harsher factory environments.

It is worth noting that we stock one product, a wire rope sling, which uses wire rope as a lifting sling.

Are you looking to secure your own equipment?

Do you work in a factory and are looking for reliable, high-quality lifting strops that can match your needs for safety and efficiency? Or perhaps you would just like to find out more about this innovative equipment?

Whatever your needs, we would be more than happy to help. Please get in contact with us here.



Image credit: SpaceX-Imagery
Wire Rope Clips and Grips – the Available Options thumbnail

Wire Rope Clips and Grips – the Available Options

There are many fittings available for your wire rope, used to help enhance its number of uses. One such type of fitting is wire rope clips and grips; we’ve detailed more on these handy pieces of equipment below.

What are wire rope clips and grips?

A wire rope clip or grip is fairly simple in nature; it is formed of a threaded bolt, in the shape of a ‘U’, that has two nuts, and a forged saddle. They are strong and robust steel cable fittings, and they are great for creating non-permanent eye-loop ends or for creating end to end connections, on rope.

wire rope clips

An image of one of our rope grips
You would typically need to make a connection like this when a socket or splice isn’t a practical alternative, or if you are only looking to make a temporary connection.

The options available from us

At the time of writing, here are the current options available from us:

  • Mild steel – 3mm to 50mm
  • Stainless steel – 2mm to 24mm

You can see a list of prices for our stainless steel pieces here. If you are looking for more information about our mild steel range, please refer to our contact details at the bottom of this article.

We frequently update our pages with our latest stock, please make sure to check the pages regularly!

How do you use this piece of equipment?

In order to use a wire rope grip or clip, follow these simple steps:

  • Loosen the nuts, which will help loosen the ‘U’ bolt
  • Insert your two pieces of wire rope through this ‘U’ shape (or one piece that you’ve bent to form an eye shape)
  • When your rope is in the correct position, tighten the nuts to hold the rope in place
  • Please use a wrench to ensure that the nuts are tightened as much as possible. Hand tightening doesn’t provide a strong enough fit

You’ll find that it is commonplace to use several clamps for your two pieces of wire rope in order to create the safest and most secure connection possible. A single grip is relatively inexpensive, so it is easy to purchase several in order.

For example, a 2mm stainless steel rope grip is only £0.64!

What other types of fittings do we have?

There are many types of fittings and terminations available to users, all designed and manufactured with a specific function and benefit in mind.

To find out more about the variety that we have, please visit our fittings page here.

Interested to know more about the range of products that we have?

Wire rope clips and grips, and our extended range of fittings, are just a small snapshot of the many, many items that we stock here at Rope Services Direct. With our state-of-the-art onsite facilities, we not only stock items, but we manufacture and test many ourselves too.

If you would like to find out more about this, please get in contact with us here.

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Wire Rope Weight Guide

While wire rope is a relatively simple piece of equipment, there are several terms and factors that you must be aware of before you, or any of your staff, operate this gear. Below you will find a handy all-in-one wire rope weight guide.

Limits that apply to all lifting gear

One of the most important pieces of information, and this applies to any piece of lifting gear that lifts loads, are the safe working load and minimum breaking limit. These are two separate limits, but both apply to the same piece.

wire rope weight

It’s important not to exceed the wire rope weight limit

The safe working load (SWL), also referred to as the working load limit (WLL) or the normal working load (NWL), is the figure that you should be operating at whenever using it. It will change depending on the strength of your rope, and is the figure that the manufacturer has deemed safe to work at. You may also see this being referred to as simply the safe load.

On the other hand, the minimum breaking limit (MBL) refers to the absolute maximum a piece of equipment can be operated at before it breaks. This will have been tested by your manufacturer, and is a figure well above that of the SWL.

Take note of all advice offered to you by your manufacturer, as this will help to prolong the service life of your equipment.

Breaking limits

To help demonstrate the breaking limit of wire rope, The Engineering Toolbox have put together this handy table. It lists the strength of improved plow steel (IPS) wire rope that is uncoated and has a fibre core.

They have also offered an example of the strength of 3/8” wire rope that has a safe working load of 10.9 kN. To determine the strength, the calculation m = F / g is used, where:

  • m = mass in kilograms
  • F = force (weight) in newtons
  • g = acceleration of gravity (9.21 m/s2)

Using this equation for the 3/8” wire rope, you would calculate the strength as:

m = (10.9 103 N) / (9.81 m/s2), which equals 1111 kg.

If maths isn’t particularly your strong suit, then fret not! The above information isn’t imperative to know, but is a useful reference point should you like to know how strength is calculated.
These calculations will have been worked out by your clever manufacturers beforehand using this equation. So, whatever safe working load is provided to you, it’s absolutely crucial that you stick to it. It isn’t just a random figure!

How can you help to protect your wire rope?

To ensure that all of the guidelines and limits are followed, it’s essential that you train your staff properly. Having the right awareness with a piece of equipment is actually part of the law, as it requires competent people to be planning and operating all lifting equipment.

This training must include proper training with how to use the equipment, sufficient knowledge of weight limits, and what signs of damage to look out for in gear.  Should you, or any of your staff, exceed the SWL or notice any damages at any time, please contact one of us immediately.

Other information to be aware of

Alongside these wire rope weight guides, it’s also important that you familiarise yourself with the relevant laws too. We have detailed all ISO standards that relate to wire rope here, and you can read more on the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) here.

If you would like to discuss anything that you’ve read above about the wire rope weight guides in more detail, then please feel free to contact us here.



Image credit: Pavlofox and Engineering Tool Box


Wire Rope – Perfect for Balustrades thumbnail

Wire Rope – Perfect for Balustrades

Balustrades are, in essence, a type of protective barrier that you’ll commonly see in places such as garden decking or lining the rails of a yacht. They have become an important part of modern, contemporary design, while maintaining their quality as a safe barrier for the user.

Given their importance in design, there is more than one way to construct a balustrade, and you’ll see them created from wood or stone. Another popular item used is our very own wire rope. Commonly associated with lifting and lowering tasks, who would have guessed that they have an aesthetic quality too?!

This is an example of a traditional baluster, constructed from concrete

Below, we’ve explained more on balustrades, where you’ll find them, and why wire rope is a perfect solution.

What are balustrades?

As we briefly touched on above, a balustrade is a form of barrier. It is made up of several balusters, the name given to each individual shaft. In the Cambridge Dictionary, it is defined as “a railing or wall to prevent people from falling over the edge of stairs, a balcony, etc” But, in truth, balustrades have become much more than this now.

While their primary purpose is to offer safety, they can be designed and crafted in such a way so as to provide aesthetic appeal too. Or, in some cases, to blend in so easily with the background that you may not even notice that it is there!


An example of a rope balustrade, commonly used on yachts

They are certainly not a new invention, and actually have a history dating back to the Assyrian period, somewhere between 2500 BC and 609 BC. A baluster is not just used for a balustrade, and you’ll see the same kind of shaft being used for items such as chair legs too; this is one of the primary uses that it had throughout much of history.

As with much of architecture, the style and shape of balusters, along with the material used, has changed and adapted throughout history. They now enjoy extensive usage in the modern world, being used on yachts, as home décor, for stair railings or as balcony barriers.

The balustrade has become a more contemporary piece of architecture now, and architects look for materials that are not only safe and reliable, but that are pleasing to the eye as well. For this reason, wire rope has become a popular material.

Why is wire rope a good solution?

Wire rope balustrades are now commonplace in many structures. There are two primary reasons for this. Not only do they look good, but they are one of the strongest and safest materials available to architects, builders and home owners.

The rope itself is a relatively young piece of equipment when compared to the much longer history of balustrades. It can date its modern history back to 1824, although of course it has a much longer history when it comes to rope itself. It was initially invented as a solution to a problem in a mine, where the current lifting mediums weren’t reliable enough.

Not only did it solve this problem, but it has quickly grown since then to become a multi-functioning piece of equipment, with uses across dozens of industries around the world – more on this below!

It is a strong, stable piece of equipment that is constructed from several metal wires and strands. This is a huge benefit, as steel chains, which wire rope often replaces, relies heavily on each individual chain. Rope, however, spreads the pressure out across all of the strands.

Wire rope is also an incredibly strong material, and so its primary function, to provide a safe and stable barrier, will more than be fulfilled. It is also designed to be resistant to corrosion and rust. This is crucial, given the fact that it will typically be used outdoors. Other materials used for balustrades may not enjoy such resistance over the same time period.

Finally, given its somewhat thin nature, as compared to traditional balusters that are thick stone, it will still leave you plenty of view wherever you install it. Be it a balcony or garden decking, it will blend seamlessly into wherever it is installed.

The different types of wire rope balustrade

Another huge benefit is the variety of options that are available. There are multiple end terminations, meaning that you can choose the best possible combination for wherever you want to install it. We have:

  • Rigging screws
  • Swage forks
  • Swage studs
  • Swage eyes
  • Swageless studs
  • Thread eyebolts
  • Woodscrew eyebolts
  • Cone head stops
  • Small eye plates
  • Medium eye plates
  • Shackles

Alongside this, the wire rope itself can come in multiple lengths and diameters. Combined with the many options available above, you are left with an almost limitless selection when it comes to choosing your balustrade.

Finally, we can even offer bespoke wire rope balustrade kits. This will be suited to your exact requirements, meaning it will leave a perfect end-finish. This great deal of variety means that you are more than likely to find something that is perfect for the application that you have in mind. However, should wire rope not be the right type of product for your environment, we would be more than happy to suggest alternatives elsewhere. You can find out contact details below.

Are you looking for more information?

As you can see from the above information, wire rope is one of the most adaptable and useful pieces of equipment available on the market today. As well as its use as an aesthetic barrier, it has dozens of other uses around the world too. It is used in other industries such as:

  • Construction
  • Mining
  • Automotive
  • Engineering
  • Aerospace
  • Warehousing
  • Military

If you would like to find out more about this equipment, or if you are interested in sourcing your own wire rope balustrade, then we would be more than happy to assist you. You can get in contact with us here.



Image credits: nuzree and Tatiana
Rope Thimbles – Invaluable in the Workplace thumbnail

Rope Thimbles – Invaluable in the Workplace

Wire rope is an incredibly useful and versatile piece of equipment, but on its own it has a somewhat limited usage. For that reason, it’s a great idea to combine it with one of any number of fittings. One of our personal favourites are wire rope thimbles.

What are wire rope thimbles?

You may be familiar with traditional thimbles, the small metal caps that are worn over one’s fingers for sewing purposes. A wire rope thimble, on the other hand, is very different to this, and instead looks like a metal eye.

We stock two primary types of thimble here at Rope Services Direct. There are standard, ordinary thimbles, perfect for lighter tasks, and more solid, heavy duty versions. We can supply either in variety of sizes to suit the measurements of your equipment.

wire rope thimbles

Our range of thimbles

As we have our own on-site state-of-the-art facilities and tools, we can manufacture bespoke rope fittings and end terminations to the exact specifications required. This means that you can rest easy in the knowledge that your operation will run smoothly.

Why are they useful in the workplace?

The purpose for the shape of the wire rope thimble is to allow your rope to be looped around this thimble, creating an eye or loop shape; on the most popular end terminations for rope. This is because it can be easily attached to the majority of anchoring points.

You don’t need a thimble in order to create this eye, but creating one using the rope alone can create an un-reinforced eye that could be easily damaged. The thimble will act as a backbone for this loop, protecting the natural loop of the eye.

There are a few reasons why thimbles are so invaluable in the workplace. Firstly, as mentioned, using this kind of end termination will allow your equipment to be easily fixed onto a wide range of anchoring points; commonplace in many industries round the world.

Secondly, this installation creates an effective system which will prevent the load that is being lifted from contacting your equipment in any way. This minimises abrasion damage, helping to extend the service life of your equipment.

And, finally, by protecting the eye loop, it will add even more years onto its working life. It also helps to add a little extra rigidity to your soft eye loop, which not only makes it easier to attach, but also makes it stronger too.

What other fittings do you stock?

As we said, wire rope thimbles aren’t necessarily always a requirement, but they can certainly bring a huge range of benefits for such a low cost. Other types of fittings that we stock include shackles, rope grips, hooks and sockets, each with their own unique benefits and purpose.

If you are interested in finding out more about the options available and how this could aid your operation, then please feel free to get in contact with us here.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Cargo Straps

We stock several ratchet and cargo straps here at Rope Services Direct, so it’s more than understandable if you have a few questions relating to them! Please read on below for our detailed FAQs section on this useful piece of lifting equipment.

What are cargo straps?

The clue is in the name with this one! Generally, this equipment is used to tie down cargo securely and safely. While they enjoy heavy usage in something like the transport sector where millions of pieces of cargo are moved every day, they can also be used for personal use. For example, they can be used for something such as for tying something down to the roof of a car.

Some of the equipment that we manufacture

There are different types and styles of cargo straps, you can find more on each of these below.

What are cambuckles?

These are tie down straps that have a cam buckle as their point of securing. Think of buckles as being similar in nature to something like the belt buckle you may find on the seatbelts on airplanes!

What are ratchet straps and tie down straps?

Similar to cambuckles, these are tie down straps which feature a ratchet strap as their point of securing. These ratchet straps can come in a variety of styles, including chassis hooks, delta links, rave hooks and twisted safety hooks.

What are ratchet load binders?

Sometimes referred to as ratchet dogs, these are used to secure larger loads that have a heavier weight than other loads. They fit to chains which you may find attached to the back of something like a lorry, and can then be secured to a load.

What are chains and hooks for load binders?

This product features a chain with hooks attached at either end. The chains can come in a range of sizes, and the hooks in a range of styles.

Can you tell us more about rope?

Rope also falls under the category of cargo straps, and is great for lashing applications. They can be utilised with steel hooks or other fittings for added ease with securing loads.

What sizes do they come in?

All of our cargo straps come in a range of sizes. Perhaps the most important point to note is that using our onsite facilities, we can tailor make this product to fit your specifications. Refer to our contact details at the bottom of this page for more information!

What material are they made from?

Our tie down straps are manufactured from polyester yarns, and we have chosen this material for the numerous benefits that is provides its users. You will find that polyester has a good level of water, UV and chemical resistance, as well as having low-stretch properties and a good level of durability.

cargo straps

This equipment finds particular heavy use for the transporting of goods

It is also resistant to chemicals, oils, mildew and mould, and no strength will be lost when wet. This is important, as often many loads will be tied down in open-air trucks or to the top of vehicles, meaning that these straps may be exposed to external elements regularly.

Our other items are made from different materials, and will change depending on the piece. Our hooks, for example, are constructed from steel.

What are the laws regarding cargo straps?

Cargo straps, being a piece of lifting equipment, are subject to the same rules and regulations as other lifting gear. To ensure that you have the right knowledge and information on this, we would recommend referring to the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER).

However, cargo straps are also subject to additional rules as well that relate specifically to the securing of loads. You can read more on this here; Load securing; vehicle operator guidance.

Our cargo straps have produced in accordance with the necessary quality regulations, which are DIN 60060 and pr-EN 12195/2.

Do you have more questions?

If you still have more questions about cargo or ratchet straps that you can’t see listed above, or perhaps you have a question about another one of our products, we’re available to help! Please get in contact with us here.

You can also see a visual demonstration of us manufacturing our cargo straps here.


Image credit: Mike