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What are the Characteristics of a Wire Rope?

The wire rope used by an air winch is comprised of three basic components. First, steel wires form the strands of the wire. Second are the strands themselves, which spiral around the core. Third is the core, which serves as a foundation for the strands.

There are also six characteristics of wire rope:

Size refers to the diameter of the rope, and is always measured at the rope's widest point.

Classification is given as two numbers, representing the strand and wire count. An example would be 6x37, which refers to a rope with 6 strands each made up of 37 wires. Higher wire and strand counts produce more flexible, but less durable ropes.

Rope Lay describes the direction that the wires and strands spiral around the core.

The Grade of Steel of a wire rope will be one of three types: Improved Plow Steel (IPS), Extra Improved Plow Steel (EIPS or XPIS), which is the most commonly used and manufactured grade, or Extra Extra Improved Plow Steel (EEIPS or XXIPS).

There are also three different options for the Type of Core. Fiber core (FC) is made of synthetic material, is the most flexible and elastic, but is susceptible to crushing. Wire strand core (WSC) is made up of an additional strand of wire, is used in smaller ropes, and is ideal for suspension and tensioning. Independent Wire Rope Core (IWRC) contains a smaller wire rope to serve as the core, is highly durable in all environments, and is preferred in offshore and construction environments.

Finally, the nominal strength describes the minimum breaking strength of a new, unused rope.

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