Wire Rope Breaking Strain Guide

Wire rope is designed to be an incredibly strong and sturdy piece of equipment that you can safely rely upon for your heavy lifting tasks. But, as with all equipment, it does have a maximum lifting strength. To avoid your equipment breaking, we have provided a breaking strain guide below.

What makes wire rope strong?

It is designed so as to not break easily. With metal wires woven together into strands, which have then been wrapped around a strong, central core in a helix fashion, its very structure has durability in mind.

Unlike other pieces of lifting equipment, should one strand or several wires break, it is possible for the equipment to complete its lifting task. However, we would of course not recommend you continuing to use it after this, and one broken section is an indication of its maximum breaking strain.

Lifting strengths of lifting equipment – a guide

Before looking at a more specific breaking strain guide, it’s important that you understand the difference between a working load limit and a safe working load. This applies to all lifting equipment.


wire rope breaking strain

All lifting equipment will have a breaking limit


Working load limit

The working load limit is the absolute maximum that your lifting gear can handle when it comes to the weight of a load. If you lift any more than this, then your lifting equipment is being strained well beyond its breaking limit, and it will be dangerous to all of those around you. However, please note that as you shouldn’t exceed this limit, you shouldn’t be lifting anywhere near this either. Instead you should be operating at the safe working load, as explained below, as your maximum.


Safe working load

The safe working load is significantly lower than the working load limit, but is the limit that you can safely operate at while maintaining a long service life for your lifting equipment.

The safe working load will be well below the breaking strain of your lifting equipment, and so you can use this as a good working guide. For example,  our 3mm 7×19 per metre wire rope has a working load limit of 332Kg, but a safe working load of 55Kg. You can clearly see that if you operate at the safe working load, you are well below the breaking strain of your wire rope.


A breaking strain guide

Each piece will have a different lifting strength and, therefore, a different breaking strain limit. When purchasing from us you can see the various lifting strengths of our ropes here, and this will change based on the diameter of the lifting medium. For a handy breaking strain guide, you can see detailed weights, loads and maximum limits here.


Carrying out thorough inspections on your lifting gear


It is important that you carry out regular inspections and safety checks on your lifting gear. If you stick to the safe working load, you won’t be putting breaking strain on the rope, but all lifting equipment naturally suffers wear and tear. But, by following our guide and regularly checking your equipment, you’ll be able to prolong its service life, and keep yourself and your load safe. Should you need help with inspections, or want to know more about the breaking strain, give us a call here.



Image credit: Brian Smithson