Tips to Improve the Useful Life of the Wire Rope

Published: Thu 22 Aug 2013
A blog entry by Ethel Payne

Contributed by:

Ethel Payne

Ethel Payne's Blog

If you are in the rigging business, you will want to ensure that you are able to improve the useful life of all your rigging hardware so that you don’t have to replace them on a regular basis. This will cut down your overheads and will also ensure that you are able to maximize the use of your equipment. In this article, we take a closer look at how you can improve your wire rope life. Wire rope slings are critical components of rigging hardware and therefore it will benefit you immensely if you are able to improve the life of your wire rope.

So let’s take a closer look at some of these factors:

1. Managing factors that affect its life

There are plenty of factors that can affect the life of a rope and by identifying them you can control and manage them better so that your rope isn’t severely damaged by them. Some of these factors include stress, loading conditions, abrasion, abuse, fatigue, the design of the sling, the size and weight of the load, weather conditions in which rigging operations take place, and the experience of the rigging operators.

Once you identify the factors that you think will take a toll on rope life, you can take steps to decrease their effect. For e.g. if your rope is being used in windy conditions, you can cut down on its use in such conditions.

2. Regular Inspections

Regular inspection will help you identify any damage to the rope and take corrective steps, if required. You must make it a point that your wire rope is inspected before use and it must be examined minutely for any damage or defects. If inspection reveals broken wires that are not within the permissible limits of use, the rope must not be used. In the less severe case of damage, corrective action will help increase its useful life. For e.g. if the rope sustains damage to a localized area, you can cut off short lengths of the rope to get rid of this damage.

3. Correct Installation of the rope

One of the common reasons of the rope’s life going down is its incorrect installation. So, you must make sure that your rope is installed in the manner that it needs to be installed. For e.g. make sure there are no twists in the rope system. This ensures that the rope performs to its maximum capacity and suffers from reduced abrasion and fatigue.

4. Educating personnel about Wire Rope Use

Your work force will be a mix of people who are experienced riggers and amateurs. But, all of them must be taken through an awareness program that helps them get a better idea of how to take care of wire ropes. The program must touch upon the safe use of this rigging hardware and also its inspection and maintenance.

5. Lubrication

If you want to increase the service life of your rope, it must be lubricated regularly. If you think your rope is subject to tremendous wear and tear because of the conditions in which it is used, make sure you lubricate it often. If the rope is operated in adverse conditions, it needs to be frequently lubricated.

6. Storing the Rope

Something that we forget to give importance to is how we store these ropes. If they are stored in the open with very little or no covering they will be vulnerable to corrosion or rust. Continuous exposure to the elements brings down the life of the rope like nothing else can. So, make sure that you store the rope in a well-ventilated building that protects it from dust and being exposed to wind or rain.

You will be surprised to note that regular use of the wire rope prolongs its life. If a rope sits idle for too long, there is a good chance it won’t function as smoothly as it is supposed to. If you have gone through all the above mentioned tips, you must have realized that it doesn’t take a lot to improve a wire rope’s life span. All it requires is a sustained effort and a focused approach and you will see your rope performing to optimum capacity for a very long time.