Figure 4-12.The correct way to takeout a loop in wire rope.
Used wire rope should be cleaned at frequent
intervals to remove any accumulation of dirt, grit,
rust, or other foreign matter.
The frequency of
cleaning depends on how much the rope is used.
However, rope should always be well cleaned before
lubrication. The rope can be cleaned by wire brushes,
compressed air, or steam. Do not use oxygen in place
of compressed air; it becomes very dangerous when it
comes in contact with grease or oil. The purpose is to
remove all old lubricant and foreign matter from the
valleys between the strands and from the spaces
between the outer wires. This gives newly applied
lubricant ready entrance into the rope. Wire brushing
affords a good opportunity to find any broken wires
that may otherwise go unnoticed.
Wire rope is initially lubricated by the manufac-
turer, but this initial lubrication isnt permanent and
periodic reapplications have to be made by the user.
Each time a wire rope bends and straightens, the wires
in the strands and the strands in the rope slide upon
each other. To prevent the rope wearing out by this
sliding action, a film of lubricant is needed between
the surfaces in contact. The lubricant also helps
prevent corrosion of the wires and deterioration of
fiber centers. A rusty wire rope is a liability! With
wire rope, the same as with any machine or piece of
equipment, proper lubrication is essential to smooth,
The lubricant should be a good grade of lubricating
oil, free from acids and corrosive substances. It must
also be of a consistency that will penetrate to the
center of the core, yet heavy enough to remain as a
coating on the outer surfaces of the strands. Two good
lubricants for this purpose are raw linseed oil and a
medium graphite grease. Raw linseed oil dries and is
not greasy to handle. Graphite grease is highly resistant
to saltwater corrosion. Of course, other commercial
lubricants may be obtained and used. One of the best
is a semiplastic compound that is thinned by heating
before being applied. It penetrates while hot, then cools
to a plastic filler, preventing the entrance of water.
One method of applying the lubricant is by using
a brush. In doing so, remember to apply the coating
of fresh lubricant evenly and to work it in well.
Another method involves passing the wire rope
through a trough or box containing hot lubricant
(figure 4-13). In this method, the heated lubricant is
placed in the trough, and the rope passed over a
sheave, through the lubricant, and under a second
sheave. Hot oils or greases have very good pene-
Upon cooling, they have high
adhesive and film strength around each wire.
As a safety precaution, always wipe off any
excess when lubricating wire rope. This is especially
important where heavy equipment is involved. Too
much lubricant can get on brakes or clutches, causing
them to fail. While in use, the motion of machinery
Figure 4-13.Trough method of lubrication.