Wire rope can contain hundreds of individual wires. When a wire rope bends, each of its many wires slide and adjust in the bend to accommodate the difference in length between the inside and outside bend. The sharper the bend, the greater movement, and the greater capacity for stress on the wire rope. Typical wire rope has three basic components:
The Wires, which form the stands and collectively provide the rope strength;
The Strands, which are helically around the core; and,
The Core, which forms a foundation for the stands.
Just as the crane itself needs to undergo frequent and periodic inspections, wire rope also needs to be inspected. The principle goal of a wire rope inspection is to find potential problems before they manifest into incidents or serious accidents. Things to look for when inspecting wire rope:
Surface wear and tear (abrasions)
A reduction in diameter
Elongation in wire rope
Integrity of fittings
Evidence of neglect or poor maintenance
When a wire rope shows surface wear, corrosion, or has broken wires within the rope strand, it can fail. Is this a risk worth taking?