Most wire rope is made from several strands of wire that are tightly wound together around a larger core. In many heavy-duty industrial operations, wire rope is relied on every day to help with heavy lifting and support applications. From mining to forestry to marine and beyond, thereâ€™s wire rope for almost every job.
Most wire ropes are manufactured from strands of cold drawn carbon steel wire, although stainless steel is sometimes used because of its anti-corrosive properties. These wire ropes are also referred to as stranded wire. For added strength and durability like what is needed in aircraft cables, galvanized cables are a very popular choice. Sometimes cable is specially treated and coated with plastic or some other compound for added protection. This is particularly important to prevent fraying if the wire rope is often in motion on a pulley.
Manufacturers and distributors identify the differences in wire cable by listing the number of strands and the amount of wires per strand so that anyone that orders understands the strength of the cable. Sometimes they are also categorized by their length or pitch. More complex wire rope identification codes connote information like core type, weight limit and more. Any additional hardware like connectors, fasteners, pulleys and fittings are usually listed in the same area to show varying strengths and degrees of fray prevention.
One of the most dynamic elements of wire cables is the inner core. The strands are wrapped around the core, and it can be made of different metals, fibers, or even impregnated fiber materials. For heavy applications, cores are often made of a different strand of wire called an independent wire rope core (IWRC). An IWRC has a considerable amount of flexibility and it is still very strong. In fact, at least 7.5% of the strength increase in a wire rope can be attributed to an IWRC.
The design of wire rope makes it possible for extremely heavy loads to be lifted because of the even distribution of weight among strands.
Quality cables are an important safety feature in many industrial applications, so they should be regularly inspected for wear and degradation. The right wire rope should be selected for a particular use. Attributes like diameter, resistance to rust, breaking strength, flexibility and lifespan should all be carefully considered.