Whatever type of wire rope you are looking to buy we will stock it here at Rope Services Direct. Stainless steel rope, galvanised rope, plastic coated rope, crane rope, gym rope and cable, winch rope, trailer rope, slings, security cable, theatre cable, catenary wire, compacted rope, anti-spin rope and garage door cable to name just a few of the products in stock. So take a look at our selection and if you need any advice call our expert team on 01384 78004 who are on hand to provide the advice and support you may need.
Wire Rope and its Uses
Wire rope can be seen all around us, though we may not register it! It is utilised in so many different ways, commonly to lift or support objects but sometimes just for aesthetic purposes.
Probably one of the largest areas to utilise this rope will be within the lifting equipment industry where it is frequently used for lifting heavy loads and seen on cranes, winches and hoists and for lifting slings.
Wire-rope is also used in elevators, to raise and lower the lift compartment; in cable cars, ski lifts and railways and other aerial lifts. Further uses for this rope include guard rails, security cables, home maintenance & washing lines and lock systems, though these types of ropes are often coated with plastic for extra handling protection and flexibility. It is commonly used for architectural purposes, both for strength, versatility and aesthetic reasons. Often seen on bridges, usually the suspension type, wire-rope adds strength, structure and support. Wire-rope can also be used to suspend staircases and book shelves to give a modern look to homes; they are also seen in types of fencing, decking or barriers for protection, segregation and aesthetic purposes. The aviation and marine industries along with water and sewage treatment facilities often utilise wire-rope though it is usually the stainless steel variety due to its high corrosion resistance.
Wire-ropes are often used in the ways mentioned because of the wide array of end fittings that can be attached to the rope to enable them to not only be fitted to almost any anchor point but also to adjust them to the required tension.
Because there are different types of construction it is always best to consult a specialist to ensure you get the correct rope for the purpose you require.
It is most important to choose the correct type of wire-rope for its intended application, there are various features to take into consideration before purchasing or using, these are; the breaking strength, corrosion resistance, difficulty of flattening and crushing, flexibility and the average lifespan, another important feature is the diameter of the wire rope, of which there are many available, most commonly you can find ropes with diameters from 3mm up to 76mm, so it will depend on what application it will be used for, as it will be of no use to have a let’s say a 50mm rope if it needs to go round a pulley with a groove of only 10mm. Some other important things to consider are;
Frequency of use and load capacities; diameter of the rope; wear and fatigue resistance needs; working conditions; rotation needs; type of spooling on the drum; length of rope; type of finish(e.g. galvanised or not); minimum breaking force; end terminations needed and also the lay and construction type.
Possibly the most important characteristic of wire-rope is how it will fair under the strain of every day applications which normally include the lifting of heavy or large loads, if the rope fails then serious injuries could occur. It is therefore of the upmost importance to examine your wire-rope regularly for any signs of wear, if in doubt, do not use; it is also common practice to have it inspected and tested on a regular basis by a competent person, so you can be absolutely sure the rope is safe and fit for its intended purpose.
Whatever type of wire-rope you use it is important to be aware of the properties and construction of the rope; this will not only help to ensure that you are using the correct rope for your task but also enhance the safety aspect when using them.
All types of wire-rope are produced in stages, first hundreds of little metal filaments are wrapped, twisted & braided together to produce the inner wires, and these will turn into strands by twisting together the small inner wires/filaments. Strands are then twisted in various ways, often around a central core to create the actual rope.
The way in which the wires and strands are twisted can be quite different with the resulting rope having differing properties such as non-rotating, low stretch, higher breaking strength and different constructions such as left or right hand lay and a 7×19 or 6×36; the numbers denote the number of wires and strands in the rope, i.e. a 6×36 rope has 6 strands each having 36 wires.
Strands are often twisted/braided around an inner core to provide additional strength and/or flexibility; the core can be steel wire or fibre.
Due to their construction, regular inspection is important to identify any broken wires or strands which could have severe consequences if used without thorough inspection and testing; however if a few wires or a strand breaks during a lift it is most likely that the other wires and strands still intact will hold the load whilst safely lowered; the rope should then be destroyed. This is one of the main benefits of using wire-rope rather than a chain due to the fact that if just 1 link breaks in the chain, the load will fall.
There are many factors which can affect the wire rope, including bad coiling using pulleys & sheaves etc. with grooves that are too big or too small, excessive pulling angles and twisting the rope the opposite way to its ‘lay’ construction, dirt ingress and poor lubrication.
You should always correctly identify the construction and breaking strength of a rope before use to ensure it will work safely for your intended application, the features of wire ropes to look out for include; breaking strength, diameter, corrosion resistance, flexibility and crush resistance.
How to Handle Wire Ropes Safely
Here we briefly cover how wire ropes ought to be handled and stored in a safe manner, and so prolongs the lifetime of the rope.
Handling wire-rope can impart numerous hazards, from metal splinters whilst cutting the rope to acute bruising if ever the rope abruptly recoils. It will be for that reason that vital safety strategies are adopted whilst handling the product.
Protective garments suitable for the job must always be worn, safety gloves, overalls as well as boots are mandatory when handling wire-rope, eye protectors are going to be required when cutting.
Wire-rope ought to if possible be kept inside in a clean, cool and dry environment, since any moisture or condensation can develop amid the wires and begin the decay process, rendering the rope unusable. If they must be kept outside it follows that they ought to be ideally kept inside a waterproof container, breathable, tarpaulin like bags are effective because they keep the rain out although aid to avoid condensation from forming. They must in no way be left lying on the ground, ideally they ought to be stored on a rack, stand or on a pallet. Even though wire ropes are highly lubricated in the course of the making process, they ought to still be further lubricated at frequent intervals particularly when storing for prolonged durations, whenever a protecting covering of lubricant is applied it should be done to the entire rope to shield it from moisture ingress.
Wire-rope is easily damaged, in particular whilst unloading reels from a vehicle, the most effective procedure is to utilize a soft sling passed all the way through the centre in the reel and let down by means of an electric hoist, or even a pole/bar could be passed through then rested over the forks of the forklift truck, endeavour to avoid using the forks directly onto the reel, because if misguided and the forks come into contact with the rope it could easily be damaged.
Meticulous care needs to be in use whilst un-reeling a wire-rope, since damage could be easily done. It must by no means be thrown from the reel in turns, the reel needs to be raised from the floor in a manner for the reel to turn without restraint, this is usually completed through the use of a reel turntable or perhaps a pole through the reel rested on jacks. There also needs to be an abundance of clean space where the rope may be set out. Through the use of these techniques the rope can subsequently be pulled off in a straight line safely, and without the danger of bending / kinking the wires. The rope must always be pulled above the top of the reel not beneath. If the wire rope is in a coil rather than on a reel then the only real safe way to remove the rope is to carefully roll the coil somewhat like pushing a child’s hoop, again ensuring the ground is clean and clear of debris.
If a wire-rope kinks it will be permanently damaged, and so unusable.
Whilst re-reeling wire rope care needs to be taken to keep the rope tight, and wound in the way in which it had been initially wound to avoid reverse bending of the rope, also it must be wound over the top ensuring the wires are wound evenly and rest tightly against one another to avoid the under layers crushing.
Above all continuously abide by any manufacturers guidelines and instructions to keep safe and prolong the lifetime of the rope, and if unsure of its capabilities never use it before it has been inspected and load tested, which ought to be done at regular intervals.
How to Store Wire-Rope
Wire rope can be easily damaged, even when not in use; it is for this reason that it is so important to store your un-used wire-rope in the correct way, to reduce the risk of damage, because any damage, no matter how small may result in a significant reduction in the ropes performance.
Here we have outlined some basic tips regarding the correct way to store your wire rope.
Firstly, it should be stored in a clean area which is well ventilated and dry.
If the rope is on a reel, then it should be rotated, periodically to help to prevent the migration of the lubricants within the rope.
You should not store wire rope in areas where the temperature is high, as this can affect its performance.
You should try to keep the rope elevated, off the floor to allow good air circulation, and to reduce the risk of the rope becoming contaminated with dirt, dust and other particles that may affect it.
Reels can easily be stored on an A-frame or cradle.
Ropes that are in storage should be inspected from time to time, and re-lubricated if necessary.
Even new ropes should be checked before being placed in storage.
Make sure the rope is stored in such a way that it will not be at risk from any accidental damage, either whilst in storage or whilst removing the rope from the storage area.
By following these guidelines you can help to make sure that your wire ropes are kept in tip-top condition, and always ready for use.