Wire ropes are incredibly durable and versatile. However, they are not indestructible. They can yield to constant pressure and overuse and eventually snap during use. It’s critical to stay vigilant when it comes to unsafe wire ropes. Many issues can cause wire ropes to break. Continue reading to find out what can cause wire ropes to fail and what you can do to prevent it.
Reasons Wire Rope Can Break
- Wear in sections where hoist drums and sheave contact rope
- A lack of lubrication for extended periods
- Prolonged exposure to heat and moisture
- Regularly repeated bending (the type that happens during normal operating conditions)
- Regularly neglecting manufacturers’ weight charts (the most common cause of breaks is overloading systems)
- Crushing, dragging, or cutting rope due to mechanical abuse
- Spooling onto multi-layered drums results in crushing
- Using frozen or stiff ropes
- Improper installation that causes kinks
Most of these issues can be avoided if operators apply proper rope maintenance procedures. Of course, some problems just can’t be avoided. Frequent inspections should be conducted so users can be aware of the full extent of their ropes’ health and prevent a lot of these issues.
Some wire rope users religiously believe in what’s known as a statutory life policy. This policy states that wire ropes should be retired at predetermined times. Other users believe in what’s known as a retirement clause. A retirement clause states that cables can be used until they have deteriorated beyond a set point. While some people still use statutory policies, many regulators claim that this policy is incredibly wasteful compared to the retirement clause.
How to Prevent Wire Rope From Breaking
It’s essential to be proactive when it comes to the health of your wire rope. Be sure to use wire ropes correctly and use the correct rigging supplies for the job, such as nylon slings or wire rope slings. It’s also crucial to closely inspect your wire ropes and that you retire them well before a problem or accident occurs.
Selecting the Right Rigging Supplies and Wire Rope
Selecting the right rigging supplies and wire rope for the specific application is crucial for wire rope safety. There are a lot of different types of rigging supplies and wire rope. When selecting the right kind for your application, there are three things you should consider:
- What objects do you need to lift?
- Do the objects have sharp corners, and where is the center of gravity?
- How much lifting space do you have to work with?
These questions are fundamental in helping you narrow down your choices for safe and effective rigging gear for your specific needs.
It’s also important to know the exact load limit you’re working with. A load limit is a maximum weight that can be safely lifted using the rigging equipment you have selected. These limits will be indicated on all the specific gear you choose, so be sure to pay close attention to these indications. The slightest weak area can be detrimental to the entire operation. It is imperative to check weight loads and select gear rated for that weight or heavier weights.
Another essential factor to consider is temperature. Whether low or high, extreme temperatures can hurt operations if the right rigging equipment isn’t present. Wire ropes are better suited for hot environments, while fiber cores are better for cold climates.
Consult the Professionals
Choosing the wire rope is imperative for a successful operation. When you consider all the factors for selecting the right wire rope, it can seem like a daunting process. However, it doesn’t have to be. At Silver State Wire Rope and Rigging, we can help you choose the right wire rope for your project. Contact us today!