Wire Rope Damage: Causes of Failures
Safety should be the top concern of anyone employed in rigging. When working a job where so many lives could be cut short due to carelessness, there is no excuse for laziness or distraction. Rigs should be inspected thoroughly for any potential areas of breakage. It is important for employees to gain a fluency in the causes of wire rope damage and failures so they can spot areas of weakness and fix them before they grow into a dangerous problem.
Corrosion issues in wire ropes are one of the most difficult causes of wire rope damage and failures to identify, which is why it is one of the most dangerous. Wire rope failures due to corrosion are typically the result of poor lubrication. You can measure some amount of the lubrication by looking at the pitted surface of every individual rope, but this tells us little of the damage done to the core. Since it is difficult to identify the full spectrum of corrosion, this break stands apart as mysterious and deadly.
Abrasion-caused failure occurs when the wire rope has been damaged by irregular contact with hoist sheaves and drums or when it awkwardly rubs against an object such as shelving or a crane girder. It is also often caused by poorly grooved drums and sheaves. You know the wire ropes have experienced abrasions when the wire ends are worn thin.
When hoist ropes go through repetitive bending over sheaves, cracks will eventually develop in the individual wires. Sections of the wire that move over the sheaves develop the worst fatigue. The damage can often be seen by the naked eye. Whenever one broken wire appears due to fatigue, more will follow. Since these issues are essentially the result of wear and tear on the rope wire, they are considered a normal part of operating a crane.
Being fluent in safety measures is just as valuable to an employer as competency with cable rigging hardware. People who know how to spot areas for potential failures can keep themselves and their coworkers secure, which saves time, money, and even lives.