TECH TIPS: LOAD MEASUREMENT

WHY MEASUREMENT DEVICES ARE FLAWED
Brugg Wire Rope, LLC

Why equalizing hoist rope tensions is so tough to to perform and why most rope tension measurement devices are of little practical use at all.
Let us consider a little matter called constructional stretch.
Over the years industry professionals have sometimes chosen to avoid performing the basic maintenance routine of rope load equalization altogether. This happens for many reasons : the prohibitive expense of having a professional crew correctly perform this tedious, exacting task; the time it requires to first adjust each rope initially, compounded with the amount of time it requires to make sure that all the ropes maintain a certain degree of equalization with each other; the lack of accuracy inherent in all available tension measurement devices; and a failure to understand how other installation components and related basic factors can impact the results of the equalization process, and in fact make even achieving load equalization impossible. Indeed one of the basic factors that are frequently overlooked in load equalization is constructional stretch of the ropes. Simply put, constructional stretch is the natural reaction of any helically constructed set of wires and strands in a hoist rope whenever a load is applied. Loading creates a constrictive reaction that compresses the rope's core (bringing all elements of the rope closer and reducing the diameter), which in turn leads to a lengthening of the hoist rope (elongation). Though a basic range of constructional stretch can be mathematically derived (calculated as a percentage of stretch per amount of rope length), the precise amount of stretch one can expect to encounter in a certain rope, and how long it will take to completely stabilize the final rope length can be difficult (if not impossible) to predict. This can be attributed to the variety of ropes produced and numerous factors including: the type of core used; rope design; lay length; grade or grades of steel used; and the amount of preforming present in the rope. Other factors affecting constructional stretch include: type of installation; rope length; acceleration/deceleration; groove profile; load factors in reference to the MBL; twisting of ropes during installation; and whether the ropes were equally tensioned upon installation. Critically however, there is no industry wide, accepted standard that mandates exactly how the rope themselves are to be hung (though guidelines certainly exist as to safety standards and what constitutes acceptable results, actual technique is open to interpretation). One finds that the entire installation/re-roping process is often driven by expediency, convenience and profitability, as much as logic and best practices. This means that when hoist ropes arrive on-site they are seldom hung as a group simultaneously. This inequity means that all the ropes are never allowed an equal amount of time and load to stretch naturally as a group, in order to compensate for constructional stretch. For instance, if a crew were to hang three ropes and then install the remaining ropes another day, despite even their best efforts in taking up the ropes, so they all had the same length, they would find differences in rope length—and rope tension— in a very short amount of time. And this difference can contribute to a reduction in system performance, accelerated rope wear and the eventual degradation of the sheave itself. Ideally Brugg recommends that an installer suspend car and ropes, allowing time to reach and equally distribute constructional stretch additionally, and then equalize all the ropes accurately — with the provision that a maintenance person will accurately equalize the ropes again three to six months later. Not only will this result in an increase in system performance— by reducing constructional stretch as a factor for consideration in rope tension inequality— but it will allow each set of hoist ropes to attain its maximum amount of life expectancy as well. Additionally such measures will greatly reduce wear and tear on the sheave, ride quality will improve noticeably, and one would see a dramatic reduction in overall maintenance costs and breakdown incidents — which means less system downtime.

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Why devices measuring rope tension aren’t what they are cracked up to be.
Clearly, any tool that would gauge rope tensioning with accuracy would be useful to any industry professionals. And the most reliable, simple and efficient way would be to use a tool that measures rope loads (the amount of pressure on a rope) directly. Unfortunately, most tensioning measurement devices measure loads in a rather circuitous fashion. First one applies a certain amount of force (or pressure) to deflect a host rope a certain distance, and that amount of deflection is then measured. Utilizing both the amount of pressure applied, and the amount of deflection measured, the device then calculates the amount of load that is present on the rope. Provided the user applies the device correctly, the input data derived is accurate (which sometimes is dependent upon where the measurements are taken), and the formulas used in the process are implemented correctly, one might be able to create a set of readings that one could use as a basis for comparison. However that is counting on a lot. Nevertheless creating a gauge to measure rope tension is a far different (and simpler) thing than saying that such a device can be used to actually tension

1. Shackle/Wedge Socket 2. Hitch Plate 3. Hoist Rope 4. Car Sheave 5. Counterweight Sheave 6. Shackle/Wedge Socket (CWT side) (image obscured by Drive Sheave) 7. Drive Sheave

Phone (US): 1.706.235.6315 • Toll free: 866.54BRUGG (542.7844) • Fax: 1.706.235.6035 • info: elevatorrope@brugg.com • www.bruggrope.com Teléfono (E.U.): 1.706.235.6315 • Llamada gratuita: 866.54BRUGG (542.7844) • Fax: 1.706.235.6035 • info: elevatorrope@brugg.com • www.bruggrope.com

Brugg Lifting_Brugg Wire Rope 0712

Image 1: A standard 2:1 elevator presents many areas that make accurate load measurement especially challenging.

And they don't alert the user if a measurement was taken from the peaks or valleys of a rope. the mechanic must tune them—hardly a small distinction).7844) • Fax: 1.235. In the final analysis.235. arbitrary factor in their calculations to allow them to quickly create readings that may be applied to fiber or steel core ropes.7844) • Fax: 1. And that is simply not what measurement devices are meant to do. and all measurements are taken perpendicular to the rope’s axis. system performance. of precision (or a variable degree of imprecision if you will). To increase utility (while at the same time limiting precision) some devices utilize a simple.706. Though many manufacturers like to tout the accuracy of their devices. But for load equalization it offers a solution that is only somewhat better than inaccurate—which. Small wonder then that maintenance professionals have avoided the process entirely. These devices can only provide measurements that are within a certain range Image 2: Brugg RPM (Rope Performance Measurement) device was an early answer to hoist rope measurement. The amount of tension is then calculated after basic details such as amount of deflection.com Teléfono (E. And when multiple hoist ropes are involved.com . Actually there is a degree of truth to this. But as with all other devices suffers from an inherent inaccuracy due to a flawed premise for measurement. Until recently every load equalization method available to the professional today used a tensioning measurement device in much the same way (and we include our own RPM: Rope Performance Measurement device as well—See Image 2). every device available on the market today. which impacts the overall accuracy of the deflection measurement itself. Some will argue that achieving perfect equalization cannot be achieved. or due to the inaccuracy of the measuring instrument itself. then measure rope tensions (often in more than one place. LLC released Brugg RLE (Rope Load Equalization: Image 3). And decisions by such bodies will largely be confined to how the matter impacts safety. Some manufacturers were inclined to blame the user for any failure in achieving equalization with their tensioning device. any degree of error in the process of measurement is compounded in the final result. The advantage that RLE offers Clearly if the entire concept of a device to actually measure rope tensions with a high degree of accuracy is impossible. wires.706. There is even a degree of variation apparent depending upon where the actual measurement is taken in an installation. Though the form of the device may change and Phone (US): 1. affects the accuracy of the results itself. This means that the measurements input are not in line with the actual load itself—they’re perpendicular (90°) to the direction of the load. labor intensive and complex. Certainly an elevator system is.54BRUGG (542. is so tedious.): 1. load measurement devices can be thought of at best as passive indicators that reveal rope tensions without actually doing anything at all in regards to equalization. Indeed simply being able to ascertain loads (even if the measurements were accurate) is no guarantee that one could use such measurements to achieve equalization at all—unless one were somehow also able to manipulate all the loads on all the ropes in a system simultaneously and automatically. And even if experts can actually find a range of unequal rope tension that they qualify as acceptable. This is why in late 2009. Indeed the deflection method — inducing a bend in the rope. Indeed national and international boards are only now working on defining what ‘equal tension’ actually means.TECH TIPS: LOAD MEASUREMENT WHY MEASUREMENT DEVICES ARE FLAWED the ropes themselves (actually they can’t tension the ropes. rope diameter and rope type are input.com • www.8%. And this is not an insignificant factor as rope lubrication affects the amount of friction within the rope’s wires. tensions can slightly vary between the car and the shackles. Due to practical concerns these devices cannot offer the user the degree of sensitivity necessary to precisely measure rope diameters. makes the entire idea less than adequate for the job. As explained previously.6035 • info: elevatorrope@brugg. Rope load equalization clearly offers too many advantages in ride comfort. in effect.235. evolve (from plastic devices to laptop displays) the essential principle remains the same.6035 • info: elevatorrope@brugg. In addition to the length of time the procedure took. However we think it unfair to place the major share of fault on the shoulders of professional crews. then clearly another solution had to be found. so the nuts could be readjusted again. and using an inaccurate device to attain an absolute degree of equalization is untenable.U. For instance. especially in 2:1 arrangement: See Drawing 1) and then communicate their findings. Since most of the devices used to measure rope tensions state that one need only measure tensions in one area of a system to acquire a satisfactory idea of rope tensions (which one then uses to tune the rope throughout an entire installation). creating a degree of error in itself. Brugg Wire Rope.6315 • Llamada gratuita: 866.bruggrope. basically works by applying a known quantity of force to deflect a rope. But in reality the movement of the ropes themselves is inhibited by the many components it interacts with. Measurement devices cannot yet account for the presence of rope wear in their diameter readings.6315 • Toll free: 866. Often crews would use as many as two men in an involved back-and-forth manner to adjust shackle nuts. ranging anywhere from ±2 . or a computer chip. When one looks at all the sources of error that are inherent in a measurement device based upon simple deflection one sees its flaws more clearly.706. benefits in rope life expectancy and in avoiding expensive sheave and component wear to simply settle for half measures. System performance and rope life issues are. or the car and the main drive sheave. Especially since the equalization process.com • www. a hydraulic device that avoids flawed measurements and tedious hand manipulation of the ropes to attain truly accurate.bruggrope. no matter if it uses springs. their efforts were not made any easier by the very accuracy of the measurement devices themselves. are willing to accept something that is less than true rope load equalization. in theory at least. a balanced arrangement where one force is perfectly countered by another. practically automatic load equalizations. this fails to address the very real possibility that the workers final actual measurement could actually be between 4-16% off. Using a hydraulic fluid pumped through an interconnected system of hoses and Why all tensioning measurement devices are off. Nor can they accurately factor into their calculations for the impact of rope lubrication.706. on the whole. Certainly it yields an eye-catching tool. it will be hard to verify when one is within this range due to the very flaws in the measurement tool itself. due to the friction imparted between various elements in a system. Unfortunately this process relies on a few assumptions. one can see that this indirect method of measurement is in essence not a true scale for accurate measurement of tensions — but is nothing more than a sampling of obtained data that one uses to formulate a good guess of tensions. of low priority to them.54BRUGG (542. when done correctly. In addition such devices cannot exactly account for the many different cross sections of hoist ropes that are in existence.235.

54BRUGG (542.com Teléfono (E. For more details see review the RLE Manual (in English or Spanish) in our online Pressroom section or our Catalog. However if you understand the advantages that equalization offers to system performance. Indeed we expect competitors to create newer methods of measuring tensions and some even attempt to match Brugg RLE's idea of using cylinders and hydraulic pressure to equalize rope loads — after all. LLC Image 3: Brugg RLE (Rope Load Equalizer) is the industry's only patented hydraulics-based device that allows one man to equally tension all the ropes in a set at the same time in under 30 minutes. tuning them as you would piano strings. RLE offers a degree of unmatched accuracy that is so exact that even the most sophisticated measuring device available on the market today cannot match it in results (especially when that device is part of an effort to modify rope tensions by hand).com • www.235.6035 • info: elevatorrope@brugg. recognize the benefits that it provides for increased rope life. The future is here Naturally there will always be a certain amount of resistance to new ideas.706. Image 3: Brugg GDC (Groove Depth Comparator) allows professionals to quickly measure and compare sheave groove variations within the sheave itself. when a fluid is introduced into a closed system. the only effective way to maintain rope equalization may be to either to re-machine or replace the sheave (neither option being a cheap proposition).6315 • Llamada gratuita: 866. Brugg RLE is based upon basic hydraulic principles. Even small sheave groove variations will inevitably create different rope pitch diameters. cylinders.235. This article appeared in Elevator World in 2012. . As we stated previously. which tensions all the ropes on the shackles simultaneously.com Brugg Lifting_Brugg Wire Rope 0712 For further questions on this or other topics concerning hoist ropes review our website at www.com • www. and above all. the pull force provided by the cylinders equalizes the tensions of all the ropes and all at the same time. good maintenance technique.7844) • Fax: 1.TECH TIPS: LOAD MEASUREMENT WHY MEASUREMENT DEVICES ARE FLAWED Brugg Wire Rope. This force is exerted directly and in line with the axis of the load carried. but with a wrench).6315 • Toll free: 866. And this creates unequal rope tensions (which leads to shortened rope life) once again. one pressurizes all the cylinders at the same time.706.bruggrope.): 1. then the advantages of Brugg RLE will be readily apparent to you.bruggrope. A simple way to accurately measure groove depth within the sheave itself is by using Brugg GDC (Groove Depth Comparator).com or contact your Brugg Lifting representative. Simply put. This means it is now possible for one man to achieve perfect rope load equalization quickly in only minutes. One note: while RLE makes the equalization of rope tensions fast and easy to perform. And since the cylinders of RLE are attached to rope end terminations (see area 1 (Car Side Hitchplate) and area 6 (Counterweight Side Hitchplate) in Image 1).U. which can quickly lead to discrepancies in rope travel distances.235.235.706.54BRUGG (542.706. nor can those devices even verify RLE's accuracy due to the inherent limits they face in their own precision. cs Phone (US): 1. any pressure or weight when applied to one segment of a system will be distributed equally to all parts of that system. maintaining equalization requires vigilance. As you review RLE's Standard User Manual you come to better understand how load equalization is assured and how this method is superior to other methods that ask you to individually tune each rope using an inherently inaccurate measurement device and direct manual manipulation of a segment of the ropes (in essence. equal groove depths within the drive sheave itself.7844) • Fax: 1.bruggrope. Should groove depth variations be detected. imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.6035 • info: elevatorrope@brugg. and understand how it can save expensive wear and tear on sheaves and surrounding components.

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