CRANE WIRE ROPE

Maintenance, Inspection and Rejection Criteria

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Recommended Maintenance, Inspection and Rejection Criteria for Crane Wire Ropes 1. PURPOSE - GUIDE FOR INSPECTING CRANE WIRE The purpose of inspecting a crane wire rope is to supervise the normal process of deterioration so that rope can be removed from service before becoming a hazard to safety. Every wire rope will fail if it is not taken out of service at the appropriate time. If we select the right wire rope, we must understand the design and operation factors that influence the life of wire rope, where and how to detect changes in wire rope conditions, how to maximize rope life cycle and avoid a reoccurrence of same failures (provide safe and economic operation). Some sections of wire rope will go through a greater number of bends over sheaves and drums than the rest. The area that has higher number of cycles requires a close examination. Very few if any offshore crane ropes are discarded through pure bend fatigue and the majority of ropes are discarded due to mechanical/drum damage, either as a result of crushing or plucking of the wires at the spooling cross-over regions due to abrasion. Corrosion is also a prime mode of rope deterioration offshore and to extend rope service life demands good inspection, maintenance and rejection criteria based on the approved standards. It is essential to have and maintain a crane wire inspection program and be able to assess wire rope and crane history. When crane wire is replaced, it is as essential as replacing old wire with new, to investigate why, what factors influenced wire deterioration and determine if anything can be done to extend life of wire rope. This must be recorded and shared with rest of fleet as well as the crane and wire manufacturer. (There is no benefit in replacing wire rope that will fail the same as the previous one.)

Standard ropes

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Inspection and rejection criteria are based on the ISO 4309 Code of practice for the examination and discard of the crane wire rope. The discard criteria from ISO 4309 are explained also in this bulletin. Specialty ropes Internal inspection of specialty wire ropes may require NDT methods, to be determined by the wire rope examiner. For external inspection standard methods apply. Applicable standards ISO 4308-1 Cranes and Lifting Appliances – Selection of Wire Ropes ISO 4309 Cranes – Wire ropes – Code of practice for examination and discard BS 6570 The Selection, Care and Maintenance of Steel Wire Ropes EN 10264 – 2002 Steel Wire and Wire Products – Steel wire for ropes API 2D Recommended practice 2. DAILY 3. VISUAL DAILY INSPECTION BY OPERATOR Visual inspection of critical points by operator: Special attention should be given to sections of ropes that run over sheaves and drums, including parts that are located next to the compensating assemblies and anchor points. Plus sections of rope that become wet or that are exposed to heat and aggressive environment (salt water, exhaust gases, dust from cement, barites and other chemicals) 4. MONTHLY Check the over-all condition of all of the wire ropes, including the end terminations. Inspect the reeving. configurations of the wire ropes of the crane, to see if they comply with the manufacturer’s recommendations. (Wherever possible the reeving should be symmetrical, this is for reasons of safety, plus for getting the optimum longevity of service life from both sheaves and wire rope together). * Non-Symmetrical Reeving, especially the “Laced-Block” type is a poor excuse for crane rigging and reeving practices. It should be avoided, as it contributes to premature sheave and wire rope wear, as well as being a contributing factor to the adverse side loading of certain types of crane booms under certain operating circumstances.

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Complete filling in the crane wire rope examination/discard record report. fatigue. measure rope diameter (always-select the part of the rope that travels the most through sheaves – each crane will be specific according to the operational conditions and reeving). broken wires. Thermal damage. In some instances NDT methods might be needed to safely extend useful life of the rope. hence our recommendation to use them for wire rope inspection. would recommend (after discussion with Bridon Ropes) using the following nine points of consideration when inspecting wire ropes. ANNUAL The person having completed a recognized wire rope examiner’s course shall perform the annual inspection and complete the crane wire examination/discard record. 7. 2. If the condition of wire rope is acceptable in accordance with ISO 4309 and there are no broken wires. of course. Localized groups of broken wires. 5. They are as follows: 1. Deterioration of the rope core. The wire rope inspector shall determine if NDT is required. They are all. 3. Using a Vernier Caliper Gauge. SPDC then with the present ISO 4309.Internal. Randomly distributed broken wires. wear. Check all rope terminations for damage. 5. Corrosion . 6.5 of the Code of Practice ISO 4309.e: bolts. and the termination’s arrangement components and fasteners(i. However. If NDT is used to extend/reject life of the rope a copy of the NDT record has to be included in the inspection/rejection report. corrosion. as a new simplified user-friendly version of ISO 4309 is due out in the near future. nuts. the rope can safely continue to be used up to a maximum service life of three years. Broken wires at the termination. If there is indication of wire rope deterioration necessitating discard of the said wire rope it shall be in accordance with the criteria as described in section 3. 4 . Wear both internal & external and for abrasion. These nine points are more in line with the contents of the new COP than the current one. wedges and clamps) If required lubricate wire rope using pressure lubricator. based on ISO 4309. 4.

Randomly distributed broken wires • For the main and auxiliary hoists (Dyform 34LR-PI). the rope should be discarded. if these are seen. the rope should be discarded. increase bend fatigue life.if the rope diameter is reduced by (3% for main & auxiliary) (7% for boom) or more from the nominal rope diameter. if not the rope remains in service. if 5 or more visible broken wires are found over a rope length of 6d or if 10 or more visible broken wires are found over a rope length of 30d. 2. For the third category 8 & 9. Any reduction in the rope diameter 5 . Corrosion external. reduce reduction in diameter and prevent internal contamination. The above 9 points can then be split in to three categories. the inspector needs to make a judgment as to how severe it is and should the rope remain in service. the rope rejected or otherwise left in service. • For the boom hoists (Dyform 8x36-PI). • For the boom hoists (Dyform 8x26-PI). the rope should be discarded. if 2 or more visible broken wires are found over a rope length of 6d or if 4 or more visible broken wires are found over a rope length of 30d. knowing the crane ropes selected incorporate plastic to primarily. the rope should be discarded. 1. We can now consider the individual points. Wear both internal & external and for abrasion . 9. 5. 6 & 7. for the first category 1 & 2. For the second category 3. if 9 or more visible broken wires are found over a rope length of 6d or if 18 or more visible broken wires are found over a rope length of 30d. • For the boom hoists (Dyform 8x19-PI). • Randomly visible broken wires are assumed to be the result of bend fatigue and therefore should be evenly distributed over the length of rope experiencing the most bending over sheaves. if 12 or more visible broken wires are found over a rope length of 6d or if 24 or more visible broken wires are found over a rope length of 30d. the inspector needs to count the randomly distributed broken wires and if the discard figure is reached.8. Rope deformations. the rope should be discarded. it is a simple situation of if it is seen the rope should be rejected. 4.

6.if a localised group of two or more wires are found. 5.if any signs of core deterioration are found. the rope should be discarded. the rope should be discarded. Although it is difficult to check for internal corrosion with these 'plastic' ropes.if any signs of a rope having been subjected to heat is found.if two or more broken wires are found in the vicinity of the termination.if any signs of internal corrosion are found. 3. the rope should be discarded. Internal corrosion . the diameter the rope measures when it is first installed. excessive loadings. either the effects of weld splatter or more likely earthing of the rope. other sources of heat are welders. Thermal damage . The individual wires will discolour and the plastic may melt out between the strands. The first sign of a rope having been subjected to heat is a localised loss of lubricant from the rope / a dry section. (Generally Bridon recommends that all non-plastic ropes should be opened up as part of a thorough inspection to determine the condition of the core) the inspector can look for any signs of red powder (iron oxide) appearing between the strands worked out from the inside of the rope. The most obvious sign of any core deterioration is a localised reduction in rope diameter. break down of the plastic. They do not apply to ropes operating in plastic sheaves in combination with single layer coiling. etc and can easily be measured. check the ropes flexibility. but both of these will be difficult with plastic inside the rope and possible considered not appropriate. the rope should be discarded. 4. Localised groups of broken wires . Groups of broken wires are normally associated with mechanical damage and/or unusual events having taken place because of the lack of knowledge as to how the broken wires occurred. but we believe the nominal value is more acceptable to use. This is on the basis that the rope inspector has no knowledge as to what temperature the rope has been subjected and therefore can not determine what the effect on the rope would be. the rope should be discarded.generally results from wear or abrasions both internally and externally. 6 . Some customers refer to the actual rope diameter. Deterioration of the rope core . The nominal rope diameter is used because this is the value quoted on the test certificate and therefore the only value easily available to the rope inspector. Values given in 1 & 2 above are based on ropes operating in steel sheaves or ropes operating in plastic sheaves in combination with multi-layer coiling. A careful check for broken wires needs to be made around the rope entry to the fitting as wire breaks can easily occur just inside the fitting and the first signs of a broken wire will be a looseness of those wires. 7. Broken wires at the termination .

if rope deformations are found. 9. 2. consideration shall be given to the rope construction. where the majority of breaks occur internally and are therefore “non-visible” fractures Tables 1 and 2 take these factors into consideration when considered in conjunction with the factors given in 3. However. Guidance to the number of visible broken wires which shall give rise to rejection is given in table 2. the present Section 3. Table 1 .1 Nature and Number of Broken Wires In the case of 6.5. The most important thing is to record and detail clearly the results of the examination and to produce a record that allows the cumulative effect of points 1. length of service and the way in which the rope is being used.11 When establishing rejection criteria for rotation-resistant ropes.5.2 to 3.and 8-strand ropes. broken wires occur principally at the external surface. This does not apply to wire ropes having a number of layers of strands (Typically multi-strand constructions).5 of ISO 4309 is as follows: 3. Furthermore. Particular attention shall be paid to any localized area which exhibits a dryness or denaturing of the lubrication. Corrosion external . it is normally the judgment of the inspector to determine the level of severity and to decide if the rope should remain in service or not. it is normally the judgment of the inspector to determine the level of severity and to decide if the rope should remain in service or not.if external corrosion is found.5.8. Rope deformations .Guidance for the number of broken wires in round strand ropes working in steel sheaves 7 . we advise using the preceding nine points of wire rope inspection at least until the new edition of ISO 4309 is in use. 8 and 9 above to be taken in to account.

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or adjacent to.5. the rope shall be discarded.4 Rate of increase of broken wires In applications where the predominant cause of rope deterioration is fatigue. The termination should be done only by qualified personnel. the termination.5. If the grouping of such breaks occurs in a length less than 6d or is concentrated in any one strand. constituting local grouping of such breaks. 3. the commencement of broken wires will begin after a certain period of usage. it will be prudent to discard the rope even if the number of wire breaks is smaller than the maximum number indicated in tables 1 and 2. the termination should be remade. and. 9 . are indicative of high stresses at this position and may be caused by incorrect fitting of the termination. even if few in number.2 Broken Wires at Termination Broken wires at.Guidance for the number of broken wires in rotation-resistant ropes working in steel sheaves 3. shortening the rope if sufficient length remains for further use. Investigation of the cause of this deterioration shall be made.Table 2 .3 Localized grouping of broken wires Where broken wires are very close together.5. 3. where possible. but the number of breaks will progressively increase at ever-shortening intervals.

In these cases. However. c) Deterioration of a fibre core. 3. 10 . the wire rope shall be discarded (see annex D) 3.5. d) Fracture of a steel core. so that any suggestion of such internal deterioration shall be verified by internal examination procedures. the condition may result in a high loss of rope strength. or 10 % for other ropes. particularly if the rope stresses are well balanced throughout the individual strands. The condition is particularly evident on moving ropes at points of pulley contact when the load is being accelerated or decelerated. and shows itself as flat surfaces on the outer wires. b) Internal wear caused by friction between individual strands and wires in the rope.7 External wear Abrasion of the crown wires of outer strands in the rope results from rubbing contact.6 Reduction of rope diameter resulting from core deterioration Reduction of rope diameter resulting from deterioration of the core can be caused by a) Internal wear and indentation.5 Fracture of strands Small deterioration may not be so apparent from normal examination.5. it is recommended that careful examination and recording of the increase of broken wires should be undertaken with a view to establishing the rate of increase of the breaks. If these factors cause the rope diameter (average of two diameter measurements normal to each other) to decrease by 3 % of the nominal rope diameter for rotation resistant ropes. the ropes shall be discarded even if no broken wires are visible. e) Fracture of internal layers in a multi-strand construction. particularly when it is subject to bending.5. Where such deterioration is confirmed. 3. with the grooves in the pulleys and the drums. An application of this “law” may be used in deciding the future date for rope discard. under pressure.

a rope may sustain a substantial decrease in elasticity and will be unsafe for further use. Wear reduces the strength of ropes by reducing the cross-sectional area of the steel. d) The appearance of fine.9 External and internal corrosion Corrosion occurs particularly in marine and industrial polluted atmospheres. it is usually associated with the following: a) Reduction of rope diameter. a) External corrosion Corrosion of the outer wires may be detected visually. the rope shall be discarded even if no wire breaks are visible. c) Lack of gap between individual wires and between strands. caused by the compression of the component parts against each other. the wire rope will be noticeably stiffer to handle and will certainly have a reduction in diameter greater than related purely to wear of individual wires. 3. e) While no wire breaks may be visible. and will not only diminish the breaking strength by reducing the metallic area of the rope but will also accelerate fatigue by causing the irregular surface from which stress cracking will commence.Wear is promoted by lack of lubrication. Severe corrosion may cause decreased elasticity of the rope. brown powder within the strand gussets. When owing to external wear the actual rope diameter has decreased by 7 % or more of the nominal rope diameter. but the following indications may be recognized: 11 .5. plate 7) This condition is more difficult to detect than the external corrosion which frequently accompanies it. or incorrect lubrication.5. advice should be obtained from a specialist in ropes. Decreased elasticity is difficult to detect: if the examiner is in any doubt. If a complete strand fracture occurs. b) Elongation of the rope lay length. the rope shall be discarded. and also by the presence of dust and grit. However. 3.8 Decreased elasticity Under certain circumstances usually associated with the working environment. b) Internal corrosion (see annex E. This condition can lead to abrupt failure under dynamic loading and is sufficient justification for immediate discard.

After prolonged working.10.10. Distinction is made between the following main deformations of rope on the basis of their appearance (see 3.1 Waviness (see annex E.9): a) Waviness b) Basket or lantern distortion c) Strand extrusion d) Wire extrusion e) Local increase in the diameter of the rope f) Local decrease in the diameter of the rope g) Flattened portions h) Kinks or tightened loops i) Bends 3. this will give rise to wear and wire breaks. Confirmation of severe internal corrosion is justification for immediate rope discard. if severe. a reduction in diameter usually occurs. such a deformation.5. However. the rope should be subjected to internal examination as indicated in annex D. In positions where the rope bends around pulleys.10. 3. 2) Loss of gap between the strands in the outer layer of the rope frequently combined with wire breaks in the strand gussets. in stationary ropes it is not uncommon for an increase in diameter to occur due to the build-up of rust under the outer layer of strands. While not necessarily resulting in any loss of strength.1 to 3.1) Variation in rope diameter.5.5. the wire rope shall be discarded if: 12 . In the case of waviness (see figure 1). this shall be carried out by a competent person. may transmit a pulsation resulting in irregular rope drive.5. plate 8) Waviness is a deformation where the longitudinal axis of the wire rope takes the shape of a helix. If there is any suggestion of internal corrosion.10 Deformation Visible distortion of the rope from its normal formation is termed “deformation” and may create a change at the deformation position which will result in an uneven stress distribution in the rope.

plates 11 and 12) In this condition. Such a condition may occur as a result of abrupt (snatch) loading of the rope from a slack condition. Strand extrusion is justification for immediate discard. in the form of loops .5. 3. If the deformation is severe. plate 10) This feature is frequently associated with basket or lantern deformation where the rope imbalance is indicated in the extrusion of the core. plate 9) This condition occurs in ropes having a steel centre (or core) when the outer layer of strands has become dislocated.5.5 Local increase in diameter of rope (see annex E. certain wires or groups of wires rise up. on the opposite side of the rope to the pulley groove. 3.d 1 > 4d / 3 Where d is the nominal diameter of the rope and d1.5. and the length of the rope under consideration does not exceed 25d. 3.4 Wire extrusion (see annex E. A basket or lantern formation is justification for immediate discard.2 Basket or lantern distortion (see annex E.10. there is justification for rope discard.3 Strand extrusion (see annex E. plates 13 and 14) 13 . is the diameter corresponding to the envelope of the deformed rope.5.this feature usually results from shock loading. Figure 1 waviness. or when the outer layer becomes longer than the inner layer of strands. 3.10.10.10.

11 Damage due to heat or electric arcing Wire ropes which have been subjected to exceptional thermal effects. plates 15 and 16) A kink or tightened loop is a deformation created by a loop in the rope which has been tightened without allowing for rotation about its axis.A local increase in rope diameter may occur and could affect a relatively long length of the rope. A severe condition is justification for rope discard.6 Local decrease in diameter of rope (see annex E.10. 3. externally recognized by the colours produced. A severe condition is justification for rope discard.10. 14 . plate 20) Bends are angular deformations of the rope caused by external influence.5. plates 18 and 19) Flattened portions occur as a result of mechanical damage. if severe. 3. which become incorrectly oriented.10.7 Flattened portions (see annex E. and in severe cases the rope will be so distorted that it will have only a small proportion of its strength remaining.5. Positions close to terminations shall be carefully examined for such deformations. The condition usually relates to a distortion of the core (in particular environments.5. A kink or tightened loop is justification for immediate discard. 3. Imbalance of lay length occurs. they are justification for rope discard. plate 17) A local decrease in the diameter of the rope is frequently associated with fracture of a core. 3.8 Kinks or tightened loops (see annex E. a fibre core can swell up owing to the effect of moisture) and consequently it creates imbalance in the outer strands.9 Bends (see annex E.5. shall be discarded. which will cause excessive wear.10. The condition is justification for immediate discard.5. 3.

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The following recommendations should be adhered to: ♦ Care and diligence must be exercised when winding the rope onto the drum at the correct tension. rollers. that usually have the wider. which were originally designed for use with API Spec/Imperial measurement ropes. a wooden 2”x4” and a hammer) ♦ As the wraps being would onto the drum. all the other reeving components in the system. ♦ As the bottom layer of wraps are wound upon the drum under tension. drums. is a “pinch-roller” type line tensioner in conjunction with a Martin Decker Load Cell. ♦ The other layers on the drum. (To avoid cable damage. based on a 5:1 design factor. this should be done preferably with a ‘soft’ Mallet. ♦ Which is a minimum tension of 10% of SWL. in other words. or if not. ♦ The best tool to use to hold the correct tension on the line being wound onto the drum. smooth (no grooved) drums. for safety. ♦ Or. 28 . 2% of the MBL of the rope. end terminations or any other part that is directly or indirectly associated with wire rope arrangement. Note: Installation procedure of new wire rope is to be followed as per crane wire rope and crane manufacturer recommendations. but smaller diameter. above bottom layer will spool correctly now. including sheaves.Whilst inspecting the wire ropes. However. when installing Metric crane wire ropes onto the older American made Cranes. but should still be put on at the minimum recommended tension. fill the bottom layer of the drum. any gap between the last wrap of the layer and the other drum flange should be filled in with soft line tapped in hard carefully with a hammer or Mallet and taped in position with duct tape. they should be carefully “blocked” hard against each other and up against the flange of the drum the first wrap is anchored to. ♦ The reason for the precautionary request for diligence is two-fold: (1) for safety and (2) because of the potential problems that any incompatibility between metric rope and imperial sized drum. shall be examined.

with factors like sheave specification. bends and others ♦ Operating factors Are: The installation and breaking-in of the rope. Ensure that the drums and sheaves are in the good conditions (there are no advantages to install new rope in worn or damaged sheave’s and drum grooves). A recognized inspector can be 3rd party or rig personnel that have completed a recognized wire rope examiner’s training course. tensile strength. Diameter of Tread to diameter of rope ratio. They have to be protected from all of the elements of nature: sun. or for any reason other than fair wear and tear. contact angles. snow. rain. humidity and exposure to a marine environment. sheave’s groove radii and throat angles versus fleet angles of hoist lines. CRANE WIRE ROPE INSPECTION/DISCARD LOG (to be completed monthly/annually) DESIGN FACTORS INFLUENCING FATIGUE LIFE OF THE WIRE ROPE ♦ Design factor Are controlled by the crane manufacturer. or an equivalent protected controlled environment. ♦ Installation Prior to installing any new wire rope. Inadvertent shock-loading. the safety factor it is operated at load wise. stranding & closing) do need to be turned on a regular basis to prevent migration of the lubricant. Reels of any wire rope that has been heavily lubricated at each stage of its manufacture (Winding. If any wire rope has to be discarded prematurely. lubrication.During new wire rope installation total length of wire rope is to be lubricated using pressure lubricator. then the 29 . inspection and maintenance OPERATING FACTORS INFLUENCING FATIGUE LIFE OF THE WIRE ROPE ♦ Storage Wire ropes shall be stored in the warehouse. type of bearings. inspect sheaves and drums. sleet.

is 10% of SWL.cause of the rope’s demise needs to be investigated. Which equates to 2% of minimum breaking load. resolved. explained and documented. the correct lay of rope for the type of wind and the direction of spooling is very important. And should be as follows: a) Over-wind left to right. Also on smooth drums. The amount of load recommended is approximately 5-10% of minimum breaking load. moisture can become corrosion which can greatly reduce life of the wire rope. Insufficient tension on the bottom wraps can create a multitude of problems. This will ensure that any moisture is removed and total length of rope is properly lubricated. especially those. 30 . The absolute minimum of tension that a wire rope should be wound onto a drum at. Wire rope should be installed under as much load as possible. based on a design factor of 5. If pressure lubrication is not applied. use right lay rope. While installing new rope ensure that complete length of the rope is lubricated using “Masto” pressure lubricator. that for the majority of their operating time are in a single layer operating mode. b) Under-wind right to left. use right lay rope.

the objective of the exercise is to install/reeve the new rope without inducing any turn into it. any ‘turn’ can be monitored and taken out prior to the rope being anchored to the drum. 31 . use left lay rope. Whether reeving the new rope with the old rope that it’s replacing. ♦ Breaking in It is advisable when starting to use a new rope to let it set itself to the working conditions by running it without a load and then for short period with light load. When installing a new rope on a crane. The new rope should be marked or ‘flagged’ so that during reeving. d) Under-wind left to right. the coils will spread apart and when the winding of the rope back onto the drum resumes. ‘sock’. (In other words reeve the crane from the reel to first sheave correctly either ‘over-wind’ to ‘over-wind’. or ‘under-wind’ to ‘under-wind’) as appropriate. (The above directions of spooling per rope lay. apply with the observer standing behind the drum and looking towards the direction of rope travel). So the advantage in applying the rope in proper direction of lay is that when the load is slacked off. However. use left lay rope. the several coils of rope on the drum will hug together and maintain a level and even layer. each time that the load is slacked off. with rope in improper direction of lay. will be in a direction that would untwist the rope at the free end. The reel of the new wire rope and the first sheave must rotate in the same direction to avoid reverse bend reeving and installation of a twisted rope. Join the two together with a wire stringing grip (also known as a ‘snake’. any tendency for the rope to twist when tension is released. The reason for this is: When a rope onto a drum. or by using a messenger line (which should be suitably torque-matched to the new rope).FIGURE 1 CORRECT METHOD FOR LOCATING THE ROPE ANCHORAGE POINT ON A DRUM. c) Over-wind right to left. it often results in the rope criss-crossing. ‘Chinese finger’) DO NOT USE A SWIVEL TO JOIN THE 2 HALVES OF THE ‘SNAKE’ TOGETHER DURING THE INSTALLATION OF THE ROPE. overlapping and drum-crushing or flattening the unevenly spread coils on the drum.

32 . over and cross winding. ♦ Slip and cut If capacity of drum allows extra wire consider slip and cut. shock-loading. ♦ Re-lubrication When installing new rope and as required use “Masto” pressure lubricator.♦ Operation Avoid kinks.

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