Selecting the Appropriate Strength Wire Rope

Whether you are working in maritime, mining, construction or transportation, safety is a must. One way to ensure a safe job site is by selecting wire rope that is strong enough for the task.

What makes some wire rope stronger than others, and how can you find the right rope for your rigging application? Review our guide to learn more.

Determine the Workload

In the rigging industry, being “mostly sure” that your wire rope can withstand the working load is not enough – you need to be absolutely sure. The safety of your crew depends on it.

Carefully calculate the total working load so that you have a clear understanding of the forces the rope needs to withstand. Consider additional factors such as acceleration and shock loads, and always air on the side of caution.

Know the Breaking Strength

The breaking strength is the maximum load that a wire rope can handle before it fails. Be sure that the wire rope has a breaking strength that exceeds the working load. It may sound obvious, but if you are not in the habit of regularly inspecting your equipment, this can be easy to overlook.

Safety margins vary by industry. For general lifting applications, aim for a margin of 5:1. For heavy-duty applications, make sure that safety margin is even higher.

Evaluate Wire Rope Construction

The construction of a wire rope affects its strength, flexibility and fatigue resistance. Wire ropes are available in a number of constructions, including different numbers of strands and wire sizes.

Typically, wire ropes with smaller wire sizes and a higher strand count are more flexible and fatigue-resistant. However, their breaking strength may be slightly lower compared to rope with fewer strands and larger wire sizes. Finding the rope with the ideal amount of flexibility and strength can be a delicate balance – when in doubt, consult a rigging equipment expert.

Determine the Corrosion Resistance

Corrosion is a common enemy of wire ropes, especially in marine applications. Consider how much exposure there is to moisture and chemicals on your job site when making your decision.

Thankfully, corrosion-resistant coatings are the future of wire rope. Nanocomposite and graphene-based materials protect against corrosion and make them more reliable. Stainless steel rope, galvanized with a zinc coating, is also quite corrosion-resistant.

Review Industry Regulations

Anyone who works on a rigging site knows how strict organizations like ASME and OSHA can be. Familiarize yourself with their guidelines for wire rope selection, usage and inspection, and review these guidelines often with your crew. Again, you can never be too careful.

Rigging Equipment to Strengthen Your Work Site

Ultimately, it is important to make safe and informed choices on your rigging site, and that applies when selecting the right strength wire rope. For any questions about workload, breaking strength and other factors that affect wire rope performance, contact a rigging equipment professional.

We look forward to seeing your project get off the ground successfully. For help choosing the appropriate strength wire rope, contact Paducah today.

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