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3 Ways to Care for Your Wire Ropes & Extend their lifespan

Wire ropes are used for many industries and applications but it’s important to care for them in order to prevent rope or core failure. There are a few different ways to care for your ropes and today, you’ll learn more about how to prevent safety hazards on the job site.

Keep reading to discover why caring for your wire ropes is important and which care methods will influence wire rope life.

Why do wire ropes fail?

Wire ropes typically fail from the inside out. By the end of a wire rope’s working life, it will have seen layer upon layer of lubricant applied. Wire rope applications that involve bending, loading and stretching all influence a wire rope’s life. Eventually, the fibre rope core can dry out and the steel wires corrode.

The outer surface of wire ropes are also exposed to harsh elements like dirt, debris, and corrosive salt air.

A proven, effective way to shorten the rate at which the rope will fail is to ensure that the central core receives enough lubricant. Another key component of wire rope care is to perform regular inspections to check for loose strands and fraying or twisted sections.

1. Prevent internal wire breakage with proper cleaning

The next step is to understand the importance of cleaning your wire ropes in order to prevent any safety hazard and to get the maximum benefit of lubrication.

The importance of cleaning your wire ropes

As you may already know, effective lubrication is important to increase your wire rope life. But you may not know how important it is to clean your wire ropes prior to lubrication. Cleaning before the wire rope lubrication maximises penetration into the rope’s core.

When to clean your wire ropes

If a cable is dirty or covered in old layers of hardened lubricant, it must be cleaned and dried completely prior to lubrication.

It’s important to clean your ropes before applying coating lubricant or penetrating lubricant. Cleaning opens a pathway for fresh wire rope lubricant and plays a positive impact on the life of the wire rope.

How do you clean wire ropes?

Typically, cleaning your ropes would include scrubbing and scraping the rope by hand with a razor or blade in an attempt to get amongst the strands of the rope. Wire rope cleaning used to be difficult, messy and ineffective, with workers taking to the rope manually to try and scrape off as much lubricant as possible. Now, wire rope cleaners can quickly deep clean your outer wires.

Opt for a Viper wire rope cleaner for quicker and more efficient cleaning results.

Simply insert the rope into the tool and watch it come out the other side fresh, clean and ready for a new coating of high quality lubricant.

2. Apply wire rope lubricant to maximize their lifespan

If you understand proper wire rope lubrication, you are already at a huge advantage for adding safety, longevity and efficiency to your workplace. Regular and thorough maintenance of your wire ropes can increase the overall service life of the rope.

Lubricate wire ropes with high quality lubrication and with a lubricator tool. Using a lubricator is far more effective than the old ways of lubricating wire ropes by hand.

Does wire rope need to be lubricated?

Wire rope is lubricated during its manufacturing stage, however, wire rope requires regular re-lubrication throughout its service life to provide ongoing strength, flexibility and reliability along with corrosion and rust protection.

Key functions of wire rope lubricants

Rope lubricant has two main functions:

  • Reduce friction as the wires move with each other
  • Provide corrosion protection for both the ropes core and the exterior surfaces of the rope.

The 2 Main types of wire rope lubricants

  1. Penetrating grease: Penetrating wire rope lubricant contains a petroleum solvent to carry the lubricant to the core of the wire rope before evaporating, leaving a heavy lubricating film to protect each strand of the rope.
  2. Coating grease: Coating lubricants penetrate slightly to seal the outside of the rope from moisture. This expands the wire rope life by reducing wear, corrosion and fretting as the continuous wire strands come into contact with daily working pressure.

What do these two lubricants have in common? They are unable to do their work effectively on a dirty rope.

3. Use wire rope lubricators to apply rope lubricant

If your wire rope has been stored for an extended period of time, it must be removed, cleaned, re-lubricated and inspected prior to use. They function better with routine inspection and lubrication with a wire rope lubricator.

Proper rope lubrication using a lubricator tool improves the function of your rope, workplace safety, and enhance the longevity of your asset.

Recommended wire rope lubricators

Lubricators are a fairly easy to use tool. However, it’s important to buy a high quality wire rope lubricator for the best results.

We recommend Viper wire rope lubricator options suited to your industry’s applications. Choose from 3 lubricator sizes:

When removing your wire rope from reels or coils, take care not to cause kinks by allowing the reel or coil to move with your rope. This will make for easier lubrication.

Extend the lifespan of your wire ropes with proper wire rope lubrication and cleaning

Wire ropes are responsible for a safe, effective, and efficient worksite. They are an important investment, and by ensuring proper cleaning and lubrication, you will be protecting your asset and getting the most from your ropes for as long as possible.

The structure of a wire rope allows it to withstand stress with strength and flexibility. The unique design consists of many individual wires wrapped around a steel or fibre core. There are three main sizes of wire ropes for different applications, and there is a Viper wire rope lubricator available to suit each size.

Viper wire rope lubricator tools will provide reliable and effective cleaning for your wire rope for years to come.

Get in touch today to discuss your wire rope lubrication routine.