Maximize Wire Rope Life with the Right Lubricant and the Right Application Method

Companies that recognize the importance of proper wire rope lubrication and adopt best practices can lengthen wire rope life, eliminating costly replacements and improving safety. Two problems that negatively impact wire rope life are wear and corrosion. Wear is accelerated by stress-loading; shock-loading; heavy, jerking loads; or rapid acceleration or deceleration. Corrosion is caused by fumes, acids, salt brines, sulfur, gases, salt air, and humidity; and can be accelerated by elevated temperatures.

The right lubricant will protect wire rope from degradation, regardless of cause. Key attributes to look for in a wire rope lubricant are wear resistance and corrosion prevention. For wear resistance, look for products with anti-wear additives and proven results. For strong corrosion protection in extreme environments, look for lubricants with salt spray resistance value above 60 hours and humidity cabinet values of more than 60 days.

Lubricant Types for Protecting Wire Rope

  • Penetrating lubricants contain an evaporative solvent that facilitates migration of the lubricant into the core of the wire rope, then evaporates, leaving behind a heavy lubricating film that protects and lubricates each strand.
  • Coating lubricants penetrate slightly and seal the outside of the cable from moisture, reducing wear, rust and corrosion.

Because most wire ropes fail from the inside, it is critical to ensure the center core receives sufficient lubricant. LE recommends a regimen in which a penetrating lubricant is used to saturate the core, followed by a coating lubricant to seal and protect the surface.

Application & Cleaning

For maximum core penetration and coating, an automatic lubrication system is advised, and it should include a cleaning component. Cleaning wire rope prior to lubricant application is critical to effective lubrication. Contamination buildup can cause accelerated wear, acting as an abrasive. The buildup can also increase the rate of corrosion and interfere with visual inspections.

Wire Rope Lubrication Solutions

Automatic Application – Lubricating wire rope by hand can be time-consuming, messy and a potential safety hazard. It can also be ineffective because the lubricant doesn’t always make its way to the core of the wire rope. The solution is an efficient automatic lubrication system. With one pass, LE’s Viper MKII system injects the perfect amount of lubricant to protect the rope, getting it into the core.

The Right Lubricant – Picking the correct heavy-duty industrial wire lubricant is critical to prolonging wire rope life. Wire rope lubricants should reduce the friction as the individual wires move over each other, provide corrosion protection in the core and inside wires and on the exterior surfaces, and prevent abrasive wear. LE has formulated its lubricants to meet these challenges. When properly applied, their outstanding adhesive strength helps them remain on the rope; maintain a strong lubricating film between wires and strands; and resist oxidation, water and abrasive contaminants; all while remaining pliable in use.

Environmental Impact – Wire ropes are exposed to air, water and soil. Many industries are required to conform to certain environmental standards, such as the EPA VGP for the marine industry. LE offers lubricants – including an EAL grease – formulated to minimize environmental impact if accidentally released into soil or aquatic environments. In addition, LE can help put together a lubrication reliability program for your wire rope applications to help them last longer, which in turn reduces impact on the environment.

Worldwide Availability

LE’s Wirelife lubricants and Viper MKII application system – along with a comprehensive line of industrial and automotive lubricants and reliability solutions – are available worldwide. Find your local consultant or distributor here:

Lubrication Engineers, Inc.
(800) 537-7683

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