Wire ropes are well known for their strength, they are used in many different capacities from construction to mining and from transportation to movie stunts. People using wire ropes count on them daily to do their job, however, wire ropes don’t last forever. They are built to endure, but how long they can be in use depends on how well they are cared for.
How to Care and Maintain Wire Ropes
Care and maintenance for wire rope are essential. Here are some tips for the proper maintenance of steel wire ropes that will help ensure they function safely and optimally:
Protection Will Extend the Life of Wire Ropes
Protection and inspection will extend the life of your wire ropes. To protect wire ropes you must store them in a cool, well-ventilated, dry place, preferably up off the floor to protect from possible water damage. Take care not to drop ropes, especially when in a reel or coil. This will damage the ropes.
Daily Inspection is Required
Make sure a professional examines the ropes before each and every use. These experts know what to look for and can identify deterioration, corrosion, and wear that an untrained eye may not see. Ropes must be removed every few months for a thorough inspection to make sure they are strong and undamaged to maintain safety.
Lubrication is Key
An important final ingredient in the manufacturing of wire ropes is lubrication. This keeps the ropes strong and pliable. Original lubrication is eventually lost to heat and evaporation due to stretching and bending of the cable. Regular use of the rope requires relubrication after the original evaporates, The reason a rope must be relubricated is to protect the wire and its core and to minimize corrosion, thus extending the life of the cable.
Cleaning the Rope
Also, if the cable gets dirty and particles get inside, it must be cleaned with a petroleum solvent and wire brush before relubrication. A steam cleaner or compressed air would also do the job, but either way, it must be dried and lubricated immediately thereafter. Moisture must be avoided at all costs for the preservation of your wire rope. However, to prevent safety hazards, excessive lubrication must be avoided.
Corrosion and Oxidation
To lengthen the life of wire ropes, it’s important to avoid corrosion and oxidation of the ropes caused by salt air, salt brines, acid, sulfur, gasses, humidity, or fumes. When shutting down a machine for an extended amount of time, the wire ropes must be removed, cleaned, re-lubricated, and stored properly. To reduce corrosion of the cable, adequate lubricant must be properly applied in the field.
Removing from Reels or Coils
When removing the rope from reels or coils, the coils or reels must rotate. Unloading of the rope in a different manner will cause a kink in the rope, severely limiting its strength. Unwinding a rope from a stationary reel will result in kinks.
Lowering and Recovery
Due diligence must be exercised during lowering and recovery operations to ensure even spooling on winch drums. Smooth re-spooling is necessary to keep the wire rope in tiptop shape.
When to Remove a Wire Rope
Wire ropes are used for their strength and durability, but nothing lasts forever. You can extend the life of your wire ropes by following the guideline listed here, but when it shows signs of wear such as a reduction in diameter, broken wire, kinks, birdcaging, nodes, flattened areas, misplacement of outer wires, heat damage, corrosion, loose wires or loop formations, it must be removed from service.
Wire Rope & Rigging Supplies in Las Vegas
Here at Silver State Wire Rope and Rigging, we can answer any questions you have on rope care, maintenance, and removal. We have a wide range of wire ropes, rigging and safety solutions for any job, big or small that requires wire ropes, Contact us today!