Breaking Down Wire Rope Grades: Choosing the Right Strength

Wire rope is valued in the rigging industry because of its incredible strength and flexibility. However, not all wire rope is the same – it comes in many different grades, and some grades are better suited to your project than others.

How do you know which wire rope grade you need? Let’s find out.

What Are Wire Rope Grades?

The two main parameters used to measure wire rope grades are tensile strength and breaking strength. Tensile strength is the measure of a wire rope’s ability to withstand pulling forces without breaking. Breaking strength measures the maximum load a wire rope can bear before failure.

Wire rope grades are often represented by numbers such as 6×19 or 8×25. The first number represents the number of strands in the wire rope, while the second number indicates the number of wires in each strand. These designations provide insight into the wire rope’s flexibility, strength and abrasion resistance. Generally, wire ropes with a higher number of strands and wires exhibit greater flexibility and resistance to wear.

How Do I Choose the Right Wire Rope Strength?

Choosing the right wire rope for your project depends on many factors, such as intended application and load requirements. Consider the following when making your decision:

Working Load – How much of a load will the wire rope be subject to during rigging operations? Consider both static and dynamic loads, as well as potential vibrations or shock loads.

Safety – Industry standards recommend applying a safety factor of 5:1, which means the wire rope’s breaking strength should be at least five times the anticipated working load.

Environmental Factors – Consider the temperature at your rigging site, as well as exposure to chemicals, corrosive substances and moisture levels. Choose ropes with proper coatings to withstand these conditions.

Seek Guidance – Rigging equipment and wire rope manufacturers are available to help when you need them. Ask for advice about wire rope grades, constructions and strengths for your rigging project – they will be happy to assist.

Find the Best Wire Rope for Your Project

Choosing the right strength wire rope is crucial for a safe and compliant rigging site, but it is not an intuitive decision for everyone.

Southwest Wire Rope is happy to clarify wire rope grades and offer guidance so you can make informed choices. We supply high-quality rigging equipment and offer testing and various on-site services to keep your work site safe and successful.

Contact us today to learn more and to optimize your wire rope’s performance.