Tips to Increase a Wire Ropes Life Span

As you all know we are very enthusiastic about wire ropes here at Rope Services Direct. There is every reason to be enthusiastic as it is essential equipment in many industries, by its very nature though rope does degrade over time. All is not lost though; in this article we explore ideas and techniques which will help to increase its life span.

Staff awareness and training

A first part of increasing its life span is to develop staff awareness of the importance of rope safety and how to correctly maintain the rope and in doing so increase its lifespan.

A training course for staff to attend is recommended as are the introduction of policies and procedures relating to the lifting equipment, which are usually included within health and safety policies.

Wire rope lubrication

One of the most well-known (and used) techniques to extend the life of wire rope is regular lubrication. Throughout its lifetime wire rope will experience enormous amounts of wear and tear, so regular lubrication will ensure wire rope is maintained in its best available condition.

There are two types of lubricants which can be applied:

1)    Coating – This lubricant seals only the outside layer of the cable and specifically protects against moisture penetration, reduces wear and tear and corrosion

Penetrating – This lubricant penetrates the inner wire rope core, the petroleum based lubricant protects each strand of the wire rope from the inside

wire ropes life span

Ensure lubricant is added to wire rope regularly

Sensible storage to increase its life span

The material needs to be cared for and stored sensibly. Here are some tips for sensible storage:

1)    Well ventilated – protects from dust

2)    Dry environment – rope which get wet is prone to corrode and rust

3)    Under cover – Especially if stored outside, rope needs to be covered. This protects from the elements such as wind, rain, frost and snow

4)    Avoid floor contact – It is highly advisable to prevent the material from making floor contact, wherever possible use shelving instead

5)    Move/turn occasionally – it should be moved from time to time to even out wear patterns

6)    Apply periodic lubrication – If rope lies idle for any period of time it is recommended  that lubrication is applied

7)    Avoid hazardous environments – Be sensible where the equipment is stored, avoid storing in an area which is prone to water penetration (including steam), avoid chemical fumes and acids or alkalis.

wire ropes life span

A broken rope

Correct installation

Incorrect installation is one of the main reasons the lifespan of wire rope will be reduced. Ensure you use a qualified and experienced engineer (such as ours at Rope Services Direct) for installations, e.g. to ensure there are no twists and for safety reasons such as the maximum load bearing capacity is not exceeded.

Practical common sense

Increasing the lifespan is all common sense really; just follow the previously mentioned tips and you will find that rope lasts that little bit longer than it did previously.

Speak to the experts

We hope you’ve enjoyed this quick guide to increasing the life span of your lifting medium. It’s not always possible to state everything in an article so if you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.


Image Credits: Export Times and Tanaka Who