Why wire rope lubrication is important


This article reveals the implications of incorrect lubrication practices on wire ropes and demonstrates how critical effective maintenance regimes are.

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Although simple in appearance, the intricate construction and multitude of demands placed on wire ropes means that, like any machine, they must be lubricated to achieve optimum performance and service life.

Whilst it may be clear that good lubrication is a key part of maximising rope life, delivering the correct balance of properties in a single product is a significant challenge. A good wire rope lubricant must:
? Have excellent corrosion protection
? Achieve maximum penetration to ensure lubrication and
? protection of the rope core
? Be easy, pleasant and safe to apply
? Resist wash-off and fling-off
? Reduce friction and wear

Reducing the internal friction generated during load application/removal and the bending of the rope over sheaves and drums is vital. It is generally accepted that the bend fatigue life of a lubricated wire rope can be up to 60% longer than that of a non-lubricated rope.

Protecting the rope from the often severely corrosive conditions encountered in marine and other environments is another key consideration. Although ropes may appear in good condition, corrosion of the core may go unnoticed, creating a potentially dangerous situation.

The potential savings in both time and money in addition to improved operational safety mean that correct in-service lubrication is a key part of wire rope use.

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