What's Killing My Wire Rope?


Welcome to the Hoist Guy's blog! In this post, we will investigate the cause of wire rope failure on a twin hook monorail hoist.

by Andrew T. Litecky on March 31, 2016

What’s killing my wire rope? A customer recently contacted us to reorder the wire rope component of their Electrolift twin hook monorail hoist. While the hoist was only a year old, they had replaced the wire rope twice within six months. They sent the below picture and asked for reasons why the wire rope was failing.

Wire Rope damaged from misuse:
The top cause of wire rope damage

It’s important to note that the wire rope used for hoists and overhead cranes is specially made of extra flexible Improved Plow Steel (IPS). It’s considered superior in durability and tensile strength (bending) to standard, everyday wire rope.

When properly sized and lubricated, a wire rope should last for years, even with frequent use. Wire rope hoists are recommended for heavy duty applications, high frequency usage, and where long lifts are needed.

The Answer: Most likely, there’s a problem with how the hoist is operated. Wire rope failure is almost always due to operator error. By design, hoist hook blocks must be raised and lowered straight up and straight down, and the wire rope cable wraps around the drum, within the grooving, in one layer. In the course of picking up a load, if the operator side pulls the rope by more than about three degrees from vertical, the wire rope will jump the drum’s grooves.

Once the grooves are jumped, the operator must realize the error and stop using the hoist immediately. To correct the issue, the load must be lowered and the wire rope must be allowed to return it to the correct drum grooves. If the operator continues to use the hoist with the wire rope piled up at one end of the drum, the rope gets pinched and the cable can become damaged. Also in the course of usage, if the cable goes slack and the wire rope jumps over the drum guard, it could get caught between the drum and the shaft, and the wire rope could fail.

To prevent this problem, we recommend operator training and regular inspection of the unit. Every shift should start with an examination of the rope by lowering the hook all the way down. If the rope is damaged, including even one strand broken, stop the process and get the rope replaced. We recommend keeping spare ropes in stock to avoid downtime and always buy OEM wire ropes. If not, your replacement may be the wrong type, grade, or end fitting.

Wire Rope lying properly in the drum grooves:

Wire Rope Hoist


Need more information on replacement wire ropes or wire rope hoists? Feel free to contact us or give us a call at (609) 259-1223.

Articles by Category

  About Shupper-Brickle Equipment
  Case Studies
  Glossary of Terms
  Need a Lift? The Hoist Guy's Blog
  Reference Data
  Safety Topics
  Specialty Applications

Contact Us!

We can answer any questions and we’re eager to help.

Thank you for Adding an Item to your cart

# of Items Added: 1
Total of Items Added: 0.00
Show CartShow Cart Continue Shopping