Wire ropes are made up of multiple strands of wire that are arranged helically around a core that may be either metallic or non metallic. Each strand of wire has multiple wires arranged in a helix. Suppliers of wire rope will generally list the number of strands per rope followed by the number of wires per strand. For instance, a rope that is designated as 9 x 21 means it has nine strands per cable and 21 wires per strand. Wire ropes are often used in material handling operations and are used for various things such as: hoisting, towing, in elevators, in mining, oil wells, the lumber industry, in shipping, the airline industry, the military, and many other applications.
Wire ropes were originally used in mining applications in the early 1800s as they were uses as hoisting cables to lift silver out of the mines. They were soon being used in the shipping and railroad industries because of their strength, low cost and simplicity.
Wire ropes have tightly integrated eyes at both ends. The eyes are fixed to the lifting hooks of a pallet or through convenient holes in a component. The middle part of the wire rope is then looped around the hook of a crane and the component can be lifted.
There are many types of wire ropes. Some of them have a thick plastic sheath around the exposed wires to ensure that the component being lifted does not suffer any damage. Wire ropes can be made of various materials such as: iron, wrought iron, phosphor bronze, plow steel, traction steel, and bridge rope steel, etc. The cores of the wires are generally made of materials such as cotton, phosphorus, bronze, and cold drawn wire springs, etc.
Wire ropes are available in assorted lengths and thickness as well as strength. Make sure that you get a wire rope that is strong enough to handle the load is will be lifting or pulling. It is also a good idea to wear gloves when you are handling wire ropes that don’t have protective jackets on them as many of them still have burrs on them that can easily cause metal splinters to go into your skin.