You are on page 1of 16

CHAPTER 5

WIRE ROPE
Wi re rope i s stronger, l asts l onger, and i s much
more resi stant to abrasi on than fi ber l i ne. Because of
these factors, wi re rope i s used for hoi sti ng tasks that
are too heavy for fi ber l i ne to handl e. Al so, many of
the movabl e components on hoi sti ng devi ces and
attachments are moved by wi re rope.
Wi re rope i s an i ntri cate devi ce made up of a
number of preci se movi ng parts. The movi ng parts of
wi re rope are desi gned and manufactured to mai ntai n
a defi ni te r el ati onshi p wi th one another . Thi s
rel ati onshi p ensures that the wi re rope has the
fl exi bi l i ty and strength cruci al to professi onal and safe
hoi sti ng operati ons.
WIRE ROPE
Thi s chapter di scusses the constructi on, the
characteri sti cs and speci fi cati ons, and the cri teri a used
for the sel ecti on of wi re rope. The rel ated attachments
and the proper handl i ng procedures for wi re rope are
al so di scussed.
NOTE: I n the Navy, you may hear wi re rope
referred to as wi re or rope but never as l i ne.
WIRE ROPE CONSTRUCTION
Wi re rope i s composed of three parts: wi res,
strands, and core (fi g. 5-1). A predetermi ned number
of wi res of the same or di fferent si ze are fabri cated i n
a uni form arrangement of defi ni te l ay to form a strand.
The requi red number of strands i s then l ai d together
symmetri cal l y around the core to form the wi re rope.
Wires
The basi c component of the wi re rope i s the wi re.
The wi re may be made of steel , i ron, or other metal i n
vari ous si zes. The number of wi res to a strand vari es,
Figure 5-1.—Fabrication of wire rope
5-1
dependi ng on what purpose the wi re rope i s i ntended.
Wi re rope i s desi gnated by the number of strands per
rope and the number of wi res per strand. Thus a
1/2-i nch 6 by 19 wi re rope has si x strands wi th
19 wi res per strand. I t has the same outsi de di ameter
as a 1/2-i nch 6 by 37 wi re rope that has si x strands wi th
37 wi res (of smal l er si ze) per strand.
Strands
The desi gn arrangement of a strand i s cal l ed the
constructi on. The wi res i n the strand may be al l the
same si ze or a mi xture of si zes. The most common
strand constructi ons are Ordi nary, Scal e, Warri ngton,
and Fi l l er (fi g. 5-2).
Ordi nary constructi on wi res are al l the same si ze.
Scal e i s where l arger di ameter wi res are used on
the outsi de of the strand to resi st abrasi on and smal l er
wi res are i nsi de to provi de fl exi bi l i ty.
War r i ngton i s wher e al ter nate wi r es ar e l ar ge and
smal l to combi ne great fl exi bi l i ty wi th resi stance to
abr asi on.
Fi l l er i s where smal l wi res fi l l i n the val l eys
between the outer and i nner rows of wi res to provi de
good abrasi on and fati gue resi stance.
Core
The wi re rope core supports the strands l ai d
around i t. The three types of wi re rope cores are fi ber,
wi re strand, and i ndependent wi re rope (fi g. 5-3).
A fi ber core maybe a hard fi ber, such as mani l a,
hemp, pl asti c, paper, or si sal . The fi ber core offers the
advantage of i ncreased fl exi bi l i ty. I t al so serves as a
Figure 5-3.—Core construction.
cushi on to reduce the effects of sudden strai n and act as
an oi l reservoi r to l ubri cate the wi re and strands (to
reduce fri cti on). Wi re rope wi th a fi ber core i s used
when fl exi bi l i ty of the rope i s i mportant.
A wi re strand core resi sts more heat than a fi ber
core and al so adds about 15 percent to the strength of
the rope; however, the wi re strand core makes the wi re
rope l ess fl exi bl e than a fi ber core.
An i ndependent wi re rope core i s a separate wi re
rope over whi ch the mai n strands of the rope are l ai d.
Thi s core strengthens the rope, provi des support agai nst
crushi ng, and suppl i es maxi mum resi stance to heat.
When an i nspecti on di scl oses any unsati sfactory
condi ti ons i n a l i ne, ensure the l i ne i s destroyed or cut
i nto smal l pi eces as soon as possi bl e. Thi s precauti on
prevents the defecti ve l i ne from bei ng used for
hoi sti ng.
Wi re rope may be manufactured by ei ther of two
methods. When the strands or wi res are shaped to
conform to the curvature of the fi ni shed rope before
l ayi ng up, the rope i s termed preformed wire rope.
Figure 5-2.—Common strand construction.
5-2
When they are not shaped before fabri cati on, the wi re
rope i s termed nonpreformed wire rope.
The most common type of manufactured wi re rope
i s preformed. When wi re rope i s cut, i t tends not to
unl ay and i s more fl exi bl e than nonpreformed wi re
rope. Wi th nonpreformed wi re rope, twi sti ng produces
a stress i n the wi res; therefore, when i t i s cut or broken,
the stress causes the strands to unl ay.
WARNING
When wi re rope i s cut or broken, the al most
i nstantaneous unl ayi ng of the wi res and strands
of nonpreformed wi re rope can cause seri ous
i njury to someone that i s carel ess or not fami l i ar
wi th thi s characteri sti c of the rope.
GRADES OF WIRE ROPE
The three pri mary grades of wi re rope are mi l d
pl ow steel , pl ow steel , and i mproved pl ow steel .
Mild Plow Steel Wire Rope
Mi l d pl ow steel wi re rope i s tough and pl i abl e. I t
can stand repeated strai n and stress and has a tensi l e
strength (resi stance to l engthwi se stress) of from
200,000 to 220,000 pounds per square i nch (psi ).
These characteri sti cs make i t desi rabl e for cabl e tool
dr i l l i ng and other pur poses wher e abr asi on i s
encountered.
Pl ow Steel Wi re Rope
Pl ow steel wi re rope i s unusual l y tough and
strong. Thi s steel has a tensi l e strength of 220,000 to
240,000 psi . Pl ow steel wi re rope i s sui tabl e for
haul i ng, hoi sti ng, and l oggi ng.
Improved Plow Steel Wire Rope
I mproved pl ow steel wi re rope i s one of the best
grades of rope avai l abl e and i s the most common rope
used i n the Naval Constr ucti on For ce (NCF).
I mproved pl ow steel i s stronger, tougher, and more
resi stant to wear than ei ther mi l d pl ow steel or pl ow
steel . Each square i nch of i mproved pl ow steel can
stand a strai n of 240,000 to 260,000 pounds; therefore,
thi s wi re rope i s especi al l y useful for heavy-duty
ser vi ce, such as cr anes wi th excavati ng and
wei ght-handl i ng attachments.
LAYS OF WIRE ROPE
The term l ay refers to the di recti on of the twi st of
the wi res i n a strand and the di recti on that the strands
are l ai d i n the rope. I n some i nstances, both the wi res
i n the strand and the strands i n the rope are l ai d i n the
same di recti on; and i n other i nstances, the wi res are
l ai d i n one di recti on and the strands are l ai d i n the
opposi te di recti on, dependi ng on the i ntended use of
the rope. Most manufacturers speci fy the types and
l ays of wi r e r ope to be used on thei r pi ece of
equi pment. Be sure and consul t the operator’s manual
for proper appl i cati on.
The fi ve types of l ays used i n wi re rope are as
fol l ows:
• Ri ght Regul ar Lay: I n ri ght regul ar l ay rope, the
wi res i n the strands are l ai d to the l eft, whi l e the strands
are l ai d to the ri ght to form the wi re rope.
• Left Regul ar Lay: I n l eft regul ar l ay rope, the
wi res i n the strands are l ai d to the ri ght, whi l e the strands
are l ai d to the l eft to form the wi re rope. I n thi s l ay, each
step of fabri cati on i s exactl y opposi te from the ri ght
r egul ar l ay.
• Ri ght Lang Lay: I n ri ght l ang l ay rope, the
wi res i n the strands and the strands i n the rope are l ai d
i n the same di recti on; i n thi s i nstance, the l ay i s to the
ri ght.
• Left Lang Lay: I n l eft l ang l ay rope, the
wi res i n the strands and the strands i n the rope are
al so l ai d i n the same di recti on; i n thi s i nstance, the
l ay i s to the l eft (rather than to the ri ght as i n the
ri ght l ang l ay).
• Reverse Lay: I n reverse l ay rope, the wi res i n
one strand are l ai d to the ri ght, the wi res i n the nearby
strand are l ai d to the l eft, the wi res i n the next strand are
l ai d to the ri ght, and so forth, wi th al ternate di recti ons
from one strand to the other. Then al l strands are l ai d to
the ri ght.
The fi ve di fferent l ays of wi re rope are shown i n
fi gure 5-4.
LAY LENGTH OF WIRE ROPE
The l ength of a wi re rope l ay i s the di stance
measured paral l el to the center l i ne of a wi re rope i n
that a strand makes one compl ete spi ral or turn around
the rope. The l ength of a strand l ay i s the di stance
measured paral l el to the centerl i ne of the strand i n that
one wi re makes one compl ete spi ral or turnaround the
5-3
Figure 5-4.—Lays of wire rope.
str and. Lay l ength measur ement i s shown i n
fi gure 5-5.
CLASSIFICATION OF WIRE ROPE
The pri mary types of wi re rope used by the NCF
consi st of 6, 7, 12, 19, 24, or 37 wi res i n each strand.
Usual l y, the wi re rope has si x strands l ai d around the
cor e .
The two most common types of wi re rope, 6 by 19
and 6 by 37, are shown i n fi gure 5-6. The 6 by 19 type
(havi ng si x strands wi th 19 wi res i n each strand) i s the
sti ffest and strongest constructi on of the type of wi re
rope sui tabl e for general hoi sti ng operati ons. The 6 b y
37 wi re rope (havi ng si x strands wi th 37 wi res i n each
strand) i s fl exi bl e, maki ng i t sui tabl e for cranes and
si mi l ar equi pment where sheaves are smal l er than
Figure 5-5.—Lay length of wire rope.
Figure 5-6.—A. 6 by 19 wire rope; B. 6 by 37 wire rope.
usual . The wi res i n the 6 by 37 are smal l er than the
wi res i n the 6 by 19 wi re rope and, consequentl y, wi l l
not stand as much abrasi ve wear.
WIRE ROPE SELECTION
Several factors must be consi dered when you
sel ect a wi re rope for use i n a parti cul ar type of
operati on. Manufacture of a wi re rope that can
wi thstand al l of the di fferent types of wear and stress,
i t i s subjected to, i s i mpossi bl e. Because of thi s factor,
sel ecti ng a rope i s often a matter of compromi se. You
must sacri fi ce one qual i ty to have some other more
urgentl y needed characteri sti c.
Tensile Strength
Tensi l e strength i s the strength necessary to
wi thstand a certai n maxi mum l oad appl i ed to the rope.
I t i ncl udes a reserve of strength measured i n a
so-cal l ed factor of safety.
5-4
Crushing Strength MEASURING WIRE ROPE
Crushi ng strength i s the strength necessary to
resi st the compressi ve and squeezi ng forces that
di stort the cross secti on of a wi re rope, as i t runs over
sheaves, rol l ers, and hoi st drums when under a heavy
l oad. Regul ar l ay rope di storts l ess i n these si tuati ons
than l ang l ay.
Fatigue Resistance
Fati gue resi stance i s the abi l i ty to wi thstand the
constant bendi ng and fl exi ng of wi re rope that runs
conti nuousl y on sheaves and hoi st drums. Fati gue
resi stance i s i mportant when the wi re rope must be run
at hi gh speeds. Such constant and rapi d bendi ng of the
rope can break i ndi vi dual wi res i n the strands. Lang
l ay ropes are best for servi ce requi ri ng hi gh fati gue
resi stance. Ropes wi th smal l er wi res around the
outsi de of thei r strands al so have greater fati gue
resi stance, si nce these strands are more fl exi bl e.
Abrasion Resistance
Abrasi on resi stance i s the abi l i ty to wi thstand the
gradual weari ng away of the outer metal , as the rope
runs across sheaves and hoi st drums. The rate of
abrasi on depends mai nl y on the l oad carri ed by the
rope and the runni ng speed. General l y, abrasi on
resi stance i n a rope depends on the type of metal that
the rope i s made of and the si ze of the i ndi vi dual outer
wi res. Wi re rope made of the harder steel s, such as
i mproved pl ow steel , has consi derabl e resi stance to
abrasi on. Ropes that have l arger wi res formi ng the
outsi de of thei r strands are more resi stant to wear than
ropes havi ng smal l er wi res that wear away more
qui ckl y.
Corrosion Resistance
Corrosi on resi stance i s the abi l i ty to wi thstand the
di ssol uti on of the wi r e metal that r esul ts fr om
chemi cal attack by moi sture i n the atmosphere or
el sewhere i n the worki ng envi ronment. Ropes that are
put to stati c work, such as guy wi res, maybe protected
from corrosi ve el ements by pai nt or other speci al
dressi ngs. Wi re rope may al so be gal vani zed for
corrosi on protecti on. Most wi re ropes used i n crane
operati ons must rel y on thei r l ubri cati ng dressi ng to
doubl e as a corrosi on preventi ve.
Wi re rope i s desi gnated by i ts di ameter, i n i nches.
The correct method of measuri ng the wi re rope i s to
measure from the top of one strand to the top of the
strand di rectl y opposi te i t. The wrong way i s to
measure across two strands si de by si de.
To ensur e an accur ate measur ement of the
di ameter of a wi re rope, al ways measure the rope at
three pl aces, at l east 5 feet apart (fi g. 5-7). Use the
average of the three measurements as the di ameter of
the rope.
NOTE: A crescent wrench can be used as an
expedi ent means to measure wi re rope.
WIRE ROPE SAFE WORKING LOAD
The term safe working load (SWL) of wi re rope i s
used to defi ne the l oad whi ch can be appl i ed that
al l ows the rope to provi de effi ci ent servi ce and al so
prol ong the l i fe of the rope.
The formul a for computi ng the SWL of a wi re
rope i s the di ameter of the rope squared, mul ti pl i ed by
8.
D x D x 8 = SWL (i n tons)
Exampl e: The wi re rope i s 1/2 i nch i n di ameter.
Compute the SWL for the rope.
The fi rst step i s to convert the 1/2 i nto deci mal
numbers by di vi di ng the bottom number of the
fracti on i nto the top number of the fracti on: (1 di vi ded
by 2 = .5.) Next, compute the SWL formul a: (.5 x .5
x 8 = 2 tons.) The SWL of the 1/2-i nch wi re rope i s 2
tons.
Figure 5-7.—Correct and incorrect methods of measuring
wire rope.
5-5
CAUTION
Do NOT downgrade the SWL of wi re rope
because i t i s ol d, worn, or i n poor condi ti on.
Wi re rope i n these condi ti ons shoul d be cut up
and di scarded.
WIRE ROPE FAILURE
Some of the common causes of wi re rope fai l ure
are the fol l owi ng:








Usi ng i ncorrect si ze, constructi on or grade
Draggi ng over obstacl es
I mproper l ubri cati on
Oper ati ng over sheaves and dr ums of
i nadequate si ze
Overri di ng or cross wi ndi ng on drums
Operati ng over sheaves and drums wi th
i mproperl y fi tted grooves or broken fl anges
Jumpi ng off sheaves
Exposure to aci d fumes



Use of an i mproperl y attached fi tti ng
Gri t bei ng al l owed to penetrate between the
strands, causi ng i nternal wear
Bei ng subjeted to severe or conti nui ng overl oad
WIRE ROPE ATTACHMENTS
Attachments can be put on a wi re rope to al l ow i t
to be attached to other ropes; for exampl e, pad eyes,
chai ns, or equi pment.
END FITTINGS
Some end fi tti ngs that are easi l y and qui ckl y
changed are wi re rope cl i ps, cl amps, thi mbl es, wedge
sock ets, and bask et sock ets. Gener al l y these
attachments permi t the wi re rope to be used wi th
greater fl exi bi l i ty than a more permanent spl i ce woul d
al l ow. These attachments al l ow the same wi re rope to
be made i n numerous di fferent arrangements.
Wire Rope Clips
Wi re rope cl i ps are used to make eyes i n wi re rope,
as shown i n fi gure 5-8. The U-shaped part of the cl i p
wi th the threaded ends i s cal l ed the U-bol t; the other
Figure 5-8.—Wire rope clips
5 - 6
part i s cal l ed the saddl e. The saddl e i s stamped wi th
the di ameter of the wi re rope that the cl i p wi l l fi t.
Al ways pl ace a cl i p wi th the U-bol t on the bi tter (dead)
end, not on the standi ng part of the wi re rope. When
cl i ps are attached i ncorrectl y, the standi ng part (l i ve
end) of the wi re rope wi l l be di storted or have smashed
spots. A rul e of thumb to remember when attachi ng a
wi re rope cl i p i s to “NEVER saddl e a dead horse.”
Two si mpl e formul as for fi guri ng the number of
wi re rope cl i ps needed are as fol l ows:
3 x wi re rope di ameter+ 1 = Number of cl i ps
6 x wi re rope di ameter= Spaci ng between cl i ps
Another type of wi re rope cl i p i s the twi n-base
cl i p, often referred to as the uni versal or two cl amp
(fi g. 5-9). Both parts of thi s cl i p are shaped to fi t the
wi re rope; therefore, the cl i p cannot be attached
i ncor r ectl y. The twi n-base cl i p al l ows a cl ear
360-degree swi ng wi th the wrench when the nuts are
bei ng ti ghtened.
Wire Rope Clamps
Wi re rope cl amps (fi g. 5-10) are used to make an
eye i n the rope wi th or wi thout a thi mbl e; however, a
cl amp i s normal l y used wi thout a thi mbl e. The eye wi l l
have approxi matel y 90 percent of the strength of the
rope. The two end col l ars shoul d be ti ghtened wi th
wrenches to force the wi re rope cl amp to a good, snug
fi t. Thi s squeezes the rope securel y agai nst each other.
Thimble
When an eye i s made i n a wi re rope, a metal fi tti ng,
cal l ed a thi mbl e, i s usual l y pl aced i n the eye (fi g. 5-8).
The thi mbl e protects the eye agai nst wear. Wi re rope
eyes wi th thi mbl es and wi re rope cl i ps can hol d
approxi matel y 80 percent of the wi re rope strength.
Figure 5-9.—Twin-base wire rope clip.
Figure 5-10.—Wire rope.
After the eye made wi th cl i ps has been strai ned,
the nuts on the cl i ps must be reti ghtened. Checks
shoul d be made now and then for ti ghtness or damage
Wedge Socket
to the rope cause by the cl i ps.
A wedge socket end fi tti ng (fi g. 5-11) i s used i n
si tuati ons that requi re the fi tti ng to be changed
frequentl y. For exampl e, the attachment used most
often to attach dead ends of wi re ropes to pad eyes, or
l i ke fi tti ngs, on cranes and earthmovi ng equi pment i s
the wedge socket. The socket i s appl i ed to the bi tter
end of the wi re rope. Fabri cated i n two parts, the
wedge socket has a tapered openi ng for the wi re rope
and a smal l wedge to fi t i nto the tapered socket. The
l oop of wi re rope must be i nstal l ed i n the wedge
socket, so the standi ng part of the wi re rope wi l l form
a nearl y di rect l i ne to the cl evi s pi n of the fi tti ng. When
a wedge socket i s assembl ed correctl y, i t ti ghtens as a
l oad i s pl aced on the wi re rope.
Figure 5-11.—A. Wedge socket B. Parts of a wedge socket.
5-7
NOTE: Th e wed ge s ock et ef f i ci en cy i s
approxi matel y two thi rds of the breaki ng strength of
the wi re rope due to the crushi ng acti on of the wedge.
Basket Socket
A basket socket i s normal l y attached to the end of
the rope wi th ei ther mol ten zi nc or babbi tt metal ;
ther efor e, i t i s a per manent end fi tti ng. I n al l
ci rcumstances, dry or poured, the wi re rope shoul d
l ead from the socket i n l i ne wi th the axi s of the socket.
DRY METHOD.— The basket socket can al so&
fabri cated by the dry method (fi g. 5- 12) when faci l i ti es
are not avai l abl e to make a poured fi tti ng; however, i ts
strength wi l l be reduced to approxi matel y one si xth of
that of a poured zi nc connecti on.
POURED METHOD.—– The poured basket
socket (fi g. 5-13) i s the preferred method of basket
socket assembl y. Properl y fabri cated, i t i s as strong as
the rope i tsel f, and when tested to destructi on, a wi re
rope wi l l break before i t wi l l pul l out of the socket.
When mol ten l ead i s used vi ce zi nc, the strength of the
connecti on must be approxi mate] y three fourths of the
strength of a zi nc connecti on
Permanent eyes i n wi re rope sl i ngs can al so be
made i n 3/8- to 5/8-i nch (9.5 to 15.9-mm) wi re rope
by usi ng the ni copress portabl e hydraul i c spl i ci ng tool
and oval sl eeves. The ni copress portabl e spl i ci ng tool
(fi g. 5-14) consi sts of a hand-operated hydraul i c pump
connected to a ram head assembl y. I ncl uded as a part
of the tool ki t are i nterchangeabl e compressi on di es
for wi re si zes 3/8, 7/16, 1/2, 9/16, and 5/8 i nch (9.5,
11.1, 12.7, 14.3, and 15.9 mm). The di es are i n
machi ned hal ves wi th a groove si ze to match the oval
sl eeve and the wi re rope bei ng spl i ced. The oval
sl eeves (fi g. 5-15) are avai l abl e i n pl ai n copper or
zi nc-pl ated copper.
To make an eye spl i ce, pi ck an oval sl eeve equal
to the si ze of the wi re rope bei ng spl i ced. Sl i de the
sl eeve over the bi tter end of the l ength of rope, then
form an eye and pass the bi tter end through the end
agai n (fi g. 5-16). Next, pl ace the l ower hal f of the
compressi on di e i n the ram head assembl y. Pl ace the
oval sl eeve i n thi s l ower hal f and drop i n the upper hal f
of the di e. Ful l y i nsert the thrust pi n that i s used to hol d
the di es i n pl ace when maki ng the swage. Start
pumpi ng the handl e and conti nue to do so unti l the di es
meet. At thi s ti me the overl oad val ve wi l l pop off, and
a 100-percent effi ci ent spl i ce i s formed (fi g. 5-17).
Retract the pl unger and remove the swaged spl i ce.
Figure 5-12.—Attaching a basket socket by the dry method.
5-8
Figure 5-13.—Attaching a basket socket by the pouring method.
Figure 5-14.—Nicopress portable splicing tool.
Figure 5-15.—Oval sleeve.
Check the swage wi th the gauge suppl i ed i n each
di e set (fi g. 5-18). Thi s pr ocess r epr esents a
savi ngs i n ti me over the eye formed by usi ng wi re
rope cl i ps.
Figure 5-16.-Starting an eye splice using an oval sleeve.
Figure 5-17.—Completed eye splice using an oval sleeve.
Addi ti onal l y, l ap spl i ces can be made wi th
ni copress oval sl eeves (fi g. 5-19). Usual l y, two sl eeves
are needed to create a ful l -strength spl i ce. A short
5-9
Figure 5-18.—Swage gauge.
Figure 5-19.—Lap splice using a nicopress oval sleeve.
space shoul d be mai ntai ned between the two sl eeves,
as shown. The l ap spl i ce shoul d be tested before bei ng
used.
HANDLING AND CARE OF WIRE ROPE
To r ender safe, dependabl e ser vi ce over a
maxi mum peri od of ti me, you shoul d take good care
and upkeep of the wi re rope that i s necessary to keep
i t i n good condi ti on. Vari ous ways of cari ng for and
handl i ng wi re rope are l i sted bel ow.
Coiling and Uncoiling
Once anew reel has been opened, i t may be coi l ed
or faked down, l i ke l i ne. The proper di recti on of
coi l i ng i s countercl ockwi se for l eft l ay wi re rope and
cl ockwi se for ri ght l ay wi re rope. Because of the
general toughness and resi l i ence of wi re, i t often tends
to resi st bei ng coi l ed down. When thi s occurs, i t i s
usel ess to fi ght the wi re by forci ng down the turn
because the wi re wi l l onl y spri ng up agai n. But i f i t i s
thrown i n a back turn, as shown i n fi gure 5-20, i t wi l l
l i e down proper] y. A wi re rope, when faked down, wi l l
run ri ght off l i ke l i ne; but when wound i n a coi l , i t must
al ways be unwound.
Wi re rope tends to ki nk duri ng uncoi l i ng or
unreel i ng, especi al l y i f i t has been i n servi ce for a l ong
ti me. A ki nk can cause a weak spot i n the rope that
wears out qui cker than the rest of the rope.
A good method for unreel i ng wi re rope i s to run a
pi pe, or rod, through the center and mount the reel on
drum jacks or other supports, so the reel i s off the
ground (fi g. 5-21, vi ew A). I n thi s way, the reel wi l l
turn as the rope i s unwound, and the rotati on of the
Figure 5-20.—Throwing a back turn.
reel hel ps keep the rope strai ght. Duri ng unreel i ng,
pul l the rope strai ght forward and avoi d hurryi ng the
operati on. As a safeguard agai nst ki nki ng, NEVER
unreel wi re rope from a reel that i s stati onary.
To uncoi l a smal l coi l of wi re rope, si mpl y stand
the coi l on edge and rol l i t al ong the ground l i ke a
wheel , or hoop (fi g. 5-21, vi ew B). NEVER l ay the
coi l fl at on the fl oor or ground and uncoi l i t by pul l i ng
on the end because such practi ce can ki nk or twi st the
r ope.
Kinks
One of the most common types of damage
resul ti ng from the i mproper handl i ng of wi re rope i s
the devel opment of a ki nk. A ki nk starts wi th the
formati on of a l oop (fi g. 5-22).
A l oop that has not been pul l ed ti ght enough to set
the wi res, or strands, of the rope i nto a ki nk can be
removed by turni ng the rope at ei ther end i n the proper
di recti on to restore the l ay, as shown i n fi gure 5-23. I f
thi s i s not done and the l oop i s pul l ed ti ght enough to
cause a ki nk (fi g. 5-24), the ki nk wi l l resul t i n
i rreparabl e damage to the rope (fi g. 5-25).
Ki nki ng can be prevented by proper uncoi l i ng and
unreel i ng methods and by the correct handl i ng of the
rope throughout i ts i nstal l ati on.
Reverse Bends
Whenever possi bl e, drums, sheaves, and bl ocks
used wi th wi re rope shoul d be pl aced to avoi d reverse
or S-shaped bends. Reverse bends cause the i ndi vi dual
wi res or strands to shi ft too much and i ncrease wear and
fati gue. For a reverse bend, the drums and bl ocks affecti ng
5-10
Figure 5-21.—A. Unreeling wire rope; B. Uncoiling wire rope.
the reversal shoul d be of a l arger di ameter than
ordi nari l y used and shoul d be spaced as far apart as
possi bl e.
Sizes of Sheaves
The di ameter of a sheave shoul d never be l ess than
20 ti mes the di ameter of the wi re rope. An excepti on
i s 6 by 37 wi re for a smal l er sheave that can be used
because thi s wi re rope i s more fl exi bl e.
Figure 5-22.—A wire rope loop.
5-11
Figure 5-23.—The correct way to remove a loop in a wire
rope
Figure 5-24.—A wire rope kink.
Figure 5-25.—Kink damage.
The chart shown i n tabl e 5-1 can be used to
determi ne the mi ni mum sheave di ameter for wi re rope
of vari ous di ameters and constructi on.
Seizing and Cutting
The makers of wi re rope are careful to l ay each
wi re i n the strand and each strand i n the rope under
uni form tensi on. When the ends of the rope are not
Table 5-1.—Suggested Mininum Tread Diameter of sheaves
and Drums
secured properl y, the ori gi nal bal ance of tensi on i s
di sturbed and maxi mum servi ce cannot be obtai ned
because some strands can carry a greater porti on of the
l oad than others. Before cutti ng steel wi re rope, pl ace
sei zi ng on each si de of the poi nt where the rope i s to
be cut, as shown i n fi gure 5-26.
A rul e of thumb for determi ni ng the si ze, number,
and di stance between sei zi ng i s as fol l ows:
1. The number of sei zi ng to be appl i ed equal s
approxi matel y three ti mes the di ameter of the rope.
Exampl e: 3- x 3/4-i nch-di ameter rope = 2 1/4
i nches. Round up to the next hi gher whol e number and
use three sei zi ngs.
2. The wi dth of each sei zi ng shoul d be 1 to 1 1/2
ti mes as l ong as the di ameter of the rope.
Exampl e: 1- x 3/4-i nch-di ameter rope= 3/4 i nch.
Use a 1-i nch wi dth of sei zi ng.
3. The sei zi ng shoul d be spaced a di stance equal
to twi ce the di ameter of the wi re rope.
Exampl e: 2- x 3/4-i nch-di ameter rope = 1 1/2
i nches. Space the sei zi ng 2 i nches apart.
A common method used to make a temporary wi re
rope sei zi ng i s as fol l ows:
Wi nd on the sei zi ng wi re uni forml y, usi ng tensi on
on the wi re. After taki ng the requi red number of turns,
as shown i n step 1, twi st the ends of the wi res
5-12
two central sei zi ngs. Wi th the
jack the bl ade agai nst the rope
Figure 5-26.—Seizing wire rope.
countercl ockwi se by hand, so the twi sted porti on of
the wi res i s near the mi ddl e of the sei zi ng, as shown
i n step 2. Grasp the ends wi th end-cutti ng ni ppers and
twi st up the sl ack, as shown i n step 3. Do not try to
ti ghten the sei zi ng by twi sti ng. Draw up on the sei zi ng,
as shown i n step 4. Agai n twi st up the sl ack, usi ng
ni ppers, as shown i n step 5. Repeat steps 4 and 5 i f
necessary. Cut the ends and pound them down on the
rope, as shown i n step 6. When the sei zi ng i s to be
permanent or when the rope i s 1 5/8 i nches or more i n
di ameter, use a servi ng bar, or i ron, to i ncrease tensi on
on the sei zi ng wi re when putti ng on the turns.
Wi re rope can be cut successful l y by a number of
methods. One effecti ve and si mpl e method i s to use a
hydraul i c type of wi re rope cutter, as shown i n fi gure
5-27. Remember that al l wi re shoul d be sei zed before
i t i s cut. For best resul ts i n usi ng thi s method, pl ace
the rope i n the cutter, so the bl ade comes between the
rel ease val ve cl osed,
at the l ocati on of the
cut and conti nue to operate the cutter unti l the wi re
rope i s cut.
INSPECTION
Wi re rope shoul d be i nspected at regul ar i nternal s,
the same as fi ber l i ne. The frequency of i nspecti on i s
determi ned by the use of the rope and the condi ti ons
under whi ch i t i s used.
Throughout an i nspecti on, the rope shoul d be
exami ned careful l y for fi shhooks, ki nks, and worn and
corroded spots. Usual ] y breaks i n i ndi vi dual wi res wi l l
be concentr ated i n ar eas wher e the wi r e r uns
conti nual l y over the sheaves or bend onto the drum.
Abrasi on or reverse and sharp bends cause i ndi vi dual
wi res to break and bend back These breaks are known
as fi shhooks. When wi res are sl i ghtl y worn but have
broken off squarel y and sti ck out al l over the rope, that
condi ti on i s usual l y caused by overl oadi ng or rough
handl i ng. I f the breaks are confi ned to one or two
5-13
normal l y caused by i mproper, i nfrequent, or no
l ubri cati on, the i nternal wi res of the rope are often
subject to extreme fri cti on and wear. Thi s type of
i nternal and often i nvi si bl e destructi on of the wi res i s
one of the most frequent causes of unexpected and
sudden wi re rope fai l ure. To safeguard agai nst thi s
occurri ng, you shoul d al ways keep the rope wel l
l ubri cated and handl e and store i t properl y.
CLEANING AND LUBRICATING
WIRE ROPE
Wi re rope shoul d al ways be cl eaned careful l y
before l ubri cati on. Scrapi ng or steami ng removes
most of the di rt and gri t that has accumul ated on used
wi re rope. Rust shoul d be removed at regul ar i nterval s
by wi re brushi ng. The objecti ve of cl eani ng i s to
remove al l forei gn materi al and ol d l ubri cant from the
Figure 5-27.—Types of wire rope cutters: A. Hydraulic; B.
Hammer.
strands, then the strength of the rope maybe seri ousl y
reduced. When 4 percent of the total number of wi res
i n the rope are found to have breaks wi thi n the l ength
of one l ay of the rope, the rope i s consi dered unsafe.
Consi der the rope unsafe when three broken wi res are
found i n one strand of 6 by 7 rope, si x broken wi res i n
one strand of 6 b y 19 rope, or ni ne broken wi res i n one
strand of 6 by 37 rope.
Overl oadi ng a rope wi l l reduce the di ameter.
Addi ti onal l y, fai l ure to l ubri cate wi re rope wi l l reduce
the di ameter. Thi s occurs because the hemp core wi l l
eventual l y dry out and col l apse or shri nk. The
surroundi ng strands are therefore depri ved of support,
and the strength and dependabi l i ty of the rope are
equal l y reduced. Rope that i s 75 percent of i ts ori gi nal
di ameter shoul d be removed from servi ce.
When wi de-spread pi tti ng and corrosi on of the
wi res are vi si bl e through i nspecti on, the rope shoul d
be removed from servi ce. Speci al care shoul d be taken
to exami ne the val l eys and smal l spaces between the
strands for rust and corrosi on. Si nce corrosi on i s
val l eys between the strands as wel l as the spaces
between the outer wi res. Thi s al l ows the new l ubri cant
to fl ow i nto the rope.
Wi re rope bendi ng around hoi st drums and
sheaves wi l l wear l i ke any other metal arti cl e, so
l ubri cati on i s just as i mportant to an operati ng wi re
rope as i t i s to any other pi ece of worki ng machi nery.
For a wi re rope to work ri ght, the wi res and strands
must be free to move. Fri cti on from corrosi on or l ack
of l ubri cati on shortens the servi ce l i fe of wi re rope.
Deteri orati on from corrosi on i s more dangerous
than that from wear because corrosi on rui ns the i nsi de
wi res —a pr ocess har d to detect by i nspecti on.
Deteri orati on caused by wear can be detected by
exami ni ng the outsi de wi res of the wi re rope because
these wi res become fl attened and reduced i n di ameter
as the wi re rope wears.
Both i nternal and external l ubri cati on protects a
wi re rope agai nst wear and corrosi on. I nternal
l ubri cati on can be properl y appl i ed onl y when the wi re
rope i s bei ng manufactured, and manufacturers
customari l y coat every wi re wi th a rust-i nhi bi ti ng
l ubri cant, as i t i s l ai d i nto the strand. The core i s al so
l ubri cated i n manufacturi ng,
Lubri cati on that i s appl i ed i n the fi el d i s desi gned
not onl y to mai ntai n surface l ubri cati on but al so to
prevent the l oss of the i nternal l ubri cati on provi ded by
the manufacturer. The Navy i ssues an asphal ti c
petrol eum oi l that must be heated before usi ng. Thi s
l ubri cant i s known as Lubri cati ng Oi l for Chai n, Wi re
Rope, and Exposed Gear and comes i n two types:
5-14
• Type I , Regul ar: Does not prevent rust and i s
used where rust preventi on i s not needed; for exampl e,
el evator wi res used i nsi de are not exposed to the
weather but need l ubri cati on.
• Type I I , Pr otecti ve: A l ubri cant and an
anti corrosi ve that comes i n three grades: grade A, for
col d weather (60°F and bel ow); grade B, for warm
weather (between 60°F and 80°F); and grade C, for hot
weather (80°F and above).
The oi l , i ssued i n 25-pound and 35-pound buckets
and i n 100-pound drums, can be appl i ed wi th a sti ff
brush, or the wi re rope can be drawn through a trough
of hot l ubr i cant, as shown i n fi gur e 5-28. The
fr equency of appl i cati on depends upon ser vi ce
condi ti ons; as soon as the l ast coati ng has appreci abl y
deteri orated, i t shoul d be renewed.
A good l ubri cant to use when worki ng i n the fi el d,
as r ecommended by COMSECOND/COMTHI RD
NCBI NST 11200.11, i s a mi xture of new motor oi l and
di esel fuel at a rati o of 70-percent oi l and 30-percent
di esel fuel . The NAVFAC P-404 contai ns added
i nformati on on addi ti onal l ubri cants that can be used.
Never l ubri cate wi re rope that works a dragl i ne or
other attachments that normal l y bri ng the wi re rope i n
contact wi th soi l s. The reason i s that the l ubri cant wi l l
pi ck up fi ne parti cl es of materi al , and the resul ti ng
abrasi ve acti on wi l l be detri mental to both the wi re
rope and sheave.
As a safety precauti on, al ways wi pe off any excess
when l ubri cati ng wi re rope, especi al l y wi th hoi sti ng
equi pment. Too much l ubri cant can get i nto brakes or
cl utches and cause them to fai l . Whi l e i n use, the
Figure 5-28.—Trough method of lubricating wire rope
moti on of machi nery may sl i ng excess oi l around over
crane cabs and onto catwal ks, maki ng them unsafe.
STORAGE
Wi re rope shoul d never be stored i n an area where
aci d i s or has been kept. Thi s must be stressed to al l
hands. The sl i ghtest trace of aci d or aci d fumes comi ng
i n contact wi th wi re rope wi l l damage i t at the contact
spot. Wi re that has gi ven way has been found many
ti mes to be aci d damaged.
I t i s paramount that wi re rope be cl eaned and
l ubri cated properl y before pl aci ng i t i n storage.
Fortunatel y, corrosi on of wi re rope can be vi rtual l y
el i mi nated i f l ubr i cant i s appl i ed pr oper l y and
suffi ci ent protecti on from the weather i s provi ded,
Remember that r ust, cor r osi on of wi r es, and
deteri orati on of the fi ber core wi l l si gni fi cantl y reduce
the strength of wi re rope. Al though i t i s not possi bl e
to say exactl y the l oss due to these effects, i t i s
certai nl y enough to take precauti ons agai nst.
5-15