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.

Their primary purpose is to offer safety. They can also 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. They 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
  • Swaged 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.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cargo Straps thumbnail

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