Wire ropes are core elements of crane operation and heavy duty requirements. Such Systems are regularly used under highly corrosive conditions, including salty air, high humidity, near acidic or alkaline liquids and in smoke-intensive environments.

These spots can cause significant wire rope degradation and lubrication is critical to increase longevity. If this is not taken into account, this can lead to a considerable shortening of the Lifespan of the critical device and a variety of health and safety issues.

Safe lubrication of wire ropes, chains and cables

Wire ropes are usually lubricated during manufacture. However, this has a limited service life, so that an effective operation requires the regular use of an additional lubricant. Some wire ropes have an inner fiber core that can drain or release the lubricant as the rope bends and bends. Others don’t – but both types require continuous lubrication for optimal operation.

Whether or not they contain a central fiber core, it is important to understand that wire ropes typically fail from the inside out, so observation alone is not enough for a condition check. Only regular lubrication ensures that the internal structures retain their integrity. This makes your choice of lubrication critical to the safe operation and maximum life of the equipment.

The right type of lubrication should be:

  • Acid and alkali free
  • Can penetrate between the tightly wound fibers and strands of the rope
  • Resistant to oxidation and ingress of water
  • Have a high liquid film strength
  • Can remain pliable in all conditions

It is important to understand the difference between penetration and coating lubrication:

  • Penetrating lubricant: A solvent is used that allows the lubricant to penetrate the core of the rope and ensure that it lubricates between each strand and fiber. After application, the solvent evaporates and only leaves the lubricating film.
  • Coating lubricant: This, as the name suggests, only covers the top – although it penetrates to a certain extent. It effectively seals the outside of the rope, protecting it from corrosive elements and water, slowing rust formation and the degradation of the rope’s integrity.

In addition to solid lubrication, a good product should also be environmentally friendly. When designing with environmental stewardship in mind, it is important to consider the times when lubricant could drip off the system. This can occur during use and during transport. Choosing a biodegradable option means that these common occurrences will not pose a threat to the environment.

When and how to lubricate wire ropes

Maintenance schedules for systems should include regular lubrication of the wire ropes. This will ensure that the ultimate in longevity is achieved and the risk of unnoticed rust or corrosion, which is a safety issue, is avoided.

The time between inspections and lubrication is affected by frequency of use and environmental conditions. As a rule of thumb, lubrication should be performed at the same time as regular visual safety checks to ensure optimal performance and safety.

There are different lubrication options depending on the application.

  • Drip, spray or trough method: Can be used for ropes that move through machines. The lubricant is bundled in one place and the rope moves in it, ensuring smooth application over the entire length. When it comes to a trough application, this unit can be pressurized so that the lubricant is forced into the rope as it passes through.
  • Manual spray or brush application: Suitable for static ropes. Be sure to remove excess material to reduce the risk of contaminating the lubricant.

Choosing the right lubricant is critical to getting the most out of it. The Chesterton 650 AML has been designed with compatibility, quality and the environment in mind. The lubrication not only offers exceptional penetration, but is also self-cleaning, has low friction properties and offers high resilience and pressure capability. It is made with the latest ester technology, which makes it biodegradable and environmentally friendly. It’s also NSF H1 certified and free from animal fats, oils, and animal by-products.

This sponsored editorial was made available to you by Chesterton. To learn more about the Chesterton 650 AML Advanced Machinery Lubricant and other high performance industrial lubricants, visit https://chestertonlubricants.chesterton.com/en-us/Products/Pages/650.aspx