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A Useful Guide on the Types of Wire Rope Construction

If you’re part of the automotive, rigging, construction, or manufacturing industry, you’re likely familiar with wire ropes and their use.

For instance, in the automotive industry, there are more than 278,075 auto mechanics businesses in the US alone, and nearly all of them use wire ropes for repairing or maintenance purposes. Different industries utilize different wire ropes, mainly because their functionality and applicability depend on the design, size, type of braids in a single wire, and other traits.

On the other hand, wire rope slings are used for lifting and carrying heavy loads. They are made up of a length of wire rope with loops or eyes at each end. There are various types of wire rope slings, and choosing one will depend on the job.

Stay with us as we break down the types of wire rope components, their purpose, and where to turn for the best rigging hardware and material handling in Florida!

What Are Wire Ropes?

Wire ropes consist of multiple strands of metal wires (usually steel), braided tightly to attain a specific diameter (gauge) wider than 3/8 inches. 

Wire ropes offer comprehensive lifting power, and manufacturers use them in rigging or even wire rope products across various industries. Due to their versatile use, many variations of wire ropes are available, each delivering properties applicable to an array of industry niches. 

How Many Types of Wire Ropes Are There?

How Many Types of Wire Ropes Are There

Generally, there are three different wire rope types, each with its own properties and applications: 

  • Stainless steel wire ropes 
  • Galvanized wire ropes 
  • Coated wire ropes. 

Each of the three variations consists of unique wire rope components, such as wires comprising strands, multi-wire strands in a spiral formation around a core, and the core.

Stainless Steel Wire Ropes

Wire ropes made from stainless steel are among the most frequently used types of wire rope in many industries. Due to their powerful corrosion-resistant properties, stainless steel wires are commonly preferred over galvanized or coated wire ropes, even though there is no significant difference in strength.  

The marine and water-based industries are some branches that use stainless steel wire ropes precisely because of their corrosion-resistant traits. Moreover, manufacturing businesses and the chemical industry can benefit from stainless steel wire ropes because they won’t counteract the food processing or textile manufacturing chemicals. 

Thanks to its excellent corrosion, heat, and cold resistance, stainless steel is the best component for wire ropes for designing and manufacturing complex instruments, vehicles, rowboats, and more. Plus, many businesses in the petrochemical industry use stainless steel wire ropes to manufacture heat exchangers and intercoolers. 

Galvanized Wire Ropes

This type of wire rope is a steel rope that underwent a galvanizing process to enhance its corrosion-resistant properties. Even though galvanization doesn’t ensure a lifelong use of the wire rope, it will remain resistant to rust, corrosion, and other environmental effects. 

Some industries that use galvanized wire ropes the most are:

  • Industrial branches
  • Construction branches 
  • Agriculture.

Coated Wire Ropes

Coated wire ropes can be stainless steel or galvanized ropes. The coating includes PVC (polyvinyl-chloride), or vinyl, adding flexibility and water-resisting properties to the ropes. Coated wire ropes can come in different colors, as per demand.

What Is the Strongest Wire Rope?

For heavy-duty use, the most robust wire rope available is a two-and-a-half-inch steel cable, which boasts a breaking strength of 291 tonnes. It is used chiefly for rigging, hauling, or securing heavy loads.

What Are the Components of Wire Rope?

There are three main components of wire ropes: strands, multi-wire strands positioned in a spiral formation around a core, and the core.

Depending on the applicability of the wire rope, as well as the requirements of the customer, manufacturers create wire ropes with stainless steel, iron, steel, bronze, and high-carbon steel. 

Moreover, wire ropes come in grades, determining the rope's strength.

  • Traction steel (TS) grade
  • Plow steel (PS) grade
  • Mild plow steel (MPS) grade
  • Improved plow steel (IPS) grade
  • Extra improved plow steel (EIP) grade.

How Is Wire Rope Made?

Rope manufacturers use different types of wire materials like steel, stainless steel, iron, or bronze to make individual wire strains. These strains are twisted together in a braid and around the core.

Manufacturers complete the process using special equipment that makes individual wires. They use a different piece of equipment to twist the wires into a strand braided with other strands tightly.

Which Type of Wire Rope is the Most Flexible?

In essence, strands made of smaller diameter wires are more flexible. More specifically, a 7x7 or a 7x19 construction offers the most flexibility while attaining a greater breaking strength.

Which Type of Wire Rope Should You Use?

As a rule of thumb, wire ropes comprising strands containing a few large wires offer more abrasion resistance but are less fatigue-resistant. Wire ropes made from many smaller individual wires perform well against fatigue but are not that abrasion-resistant. 

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