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The Protective Benefits of Greasing Crane Wire Ropes

A crane is built with several critical components, combining many moving parts to form a reliable strength that can lift, hold, and haul day in and day out. One of the most important components in a crane is the wire rope, responsible for holding each load and keeping the cargo, worksite, and workers’ lives safe from harm. Wire ropes are formidable pieces of equipment built for rugged daily use; however, they are not indestructible.

Wire ropes work hard in the background, which can form a false impression that they don’t need maintenance or upkeep to remain safe. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth, with susceptibility to corrosion, rust, and wire breakage if proper cleaning and lubrication are neglected. 

Crane wires are highly exposed to the elements, often installed for long periods of time and expected to keep up with high demand. Corrosion, rust, and premature wear can be extremely dangerous for crane wire ropes, resulting in catastrophe if left unchecked. Therefore, cleaning, and lubricating wire ropes are essential to your daily worksite maintenance. 

Read on for all you need to know about lubricating your crane wire ropes to give them a long and durable life. 

What type of wire rope is used on cranes?

Typically, a Flexible Steel Wire Rope (FSWR) is used for cranes, which consists of wires and strands wrapped around a central core. If a single strand is broken, the rope is unusable. However, a wire breakage is usually supported by those in the rest of the strand. 

Wire ropes in crane applications are fitted with swivels, shackles, and hooks to allow controlled lifting, lowering or suspension. The structure of the rope allows for strength and flexibility, along with the ability to handle bending and stress. The difference between wire ropes is found in their material, as well as the configurations of the wire, material, and strands to allow for different levels of strength, flexibility, and resistance to corrosion, crushing and fatigue. 

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Being a responsible rope operator begins with choosing the suitable wire rope for your use and then knowing how to care for it based on its daily usage, construction, and materials. This will give you a durable, high-performing wire rope that provides safety and reliability.

4 benefits of greasing your Crane wire ropes include

  1. Extended time between replacements
  2. Improved safety and function 
  3. The ability to catch problems before they arise 
  4. Protection against rust formation and corrosive attack 

Wire rope grease is as exposed to the elements as the wire rope, copping the rough weather that comes with long term use and installation. A poorly manufactured or incorrectly applied grease will drop off, lacking the ability to cling to the rope. Even high-quality grease requires relubrication during bad weather and exposure to rough conditions to protect the wire constantly. An exposed crane wire will wear quickly and pose a threat to workers and machinery.

greasE crane wire ropes to prevent early failure

A root cause analysis of a failed crane wire rope will often reveal failure through external or internal fatigue caused by bending or crushing, along with a lack of lubrication. Both damage types are preventable by understanding your wire ropes and their maintenance needs, as well as an understanding of how to use them in service.

Relubricating your wire ropes with the best grease for their material, application, and environment is the most effective way to lengthen the lifespan and improve the strength of your investment. 

protect your crane ropes with a cable greasing tool

Viper mkii wire rope greasing tool

Effective cleaning and lubrication of wire ropes is essential to maintain safety, function, and efficiency in the work site, particularly in salty, wet, or humid environments. Many cranes are used in environments with a high concentration of salt air, making cleaning and lubrication even more important. 

Viper’s MKII range of wire rope lubricators maximizes your ability to grease and care for your wire ropes. These tools enable each strand’s flexible and smooth movement, reducing friction, rusting and corrosion.

Clean before greasing

Furthermore, Viper’s wire rope cleaners can remove the contamination of old lubricant, debris, and salt to open a pathway for the new lubricant. If built-up debris and residue are allowed to stay within the rope, it can encourage water retention and early corrosion while hiding underlying issues along the rope. Effective lubrication cannot occur until the debris is removed and replaced with a high-quality lubricant. 

The Viper WRL MKII Series enables wire ropes to be lubricated effectively, efficiently, and safely while reducing equipment downtime and extending the life of your wire ropes by up to 300%. This tool is recommended for wharf cranes, ship cranes, mobile cranes, and overhead cranes.

Lubricate crane ropes to Keep up with daily pressures

Cranes are often installed for a long and hard-working service life, and their wire ropes need to keep up with the pressures of daily use under a range of conditions. Wire ropes are used on mobile cranes, overhead cranes, gantry cranes, crane pendants, excavators, truck cranes, as well as on hoist ropes, crane jib hoists, crane boom hoists, crane trolleys, and much more. 

The lubricant used must be able to cling to the rope despite high heat, exposure to debris, heavy lifting, and hauling, along with repetitive daily use. Our VPG-0 Penetrating Grease lubricates to reduce wear overtime, while protecting wear intensive areas such as over drums and pulleys and sealing all surfaces against rust and corrosion.

With the help of a wire rope lubricator, penetrating grease clings tightly to the rope to reduce sling off and to lower the amount of lubricant needed overtime, improving the life of your rope along with your equipment availability. 

Have more questions about crane rope greasing tools? Contact our crew today for all the latest advice, information and insight into wire rope lubrication and cleaning.