Friday 18th Sep, 2020

Wire ropes lubrication: Long-lasting reliability and safer operations

The use of commercial wire ropes as a means of lifting or pulling heavy objects is very common sight in today’s operational activities. Many industries such as maritime operations, construction, manufacturing, mining, and oil & gas, utilise lifting and pulling gear fitted with wire ropes for mooring, towing, and handling heavy lifts as these ropes offer anti-corrosion and anti-frictional qualities, as well as the ability to withstand bending stresses and breaking strength.

Wire ropes are made of metal wire threads twisted together to form a helical pattern around a core. This structure offers strength and flexibility making it an ideal material where extreme forces of lifting or pulling are required.

The use of wire ropes varies accordingly to each type of industry. The suitability of a specific wire rope depends on the design, size and types of braids. For example, in the mining industry wire ropes are commonly used in surface mining with pendant line ropes and underground mining with the use of dragline ropes.

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Nevertheless, in marine operations, wire ropes are actively used in a variety of critical applications where heavy-duty materials are essential. Mooring solutions, offshore dredging, boat winches, and towing of marine vessels are some examples of wire rope use within the marine industry.

Such harsh work environments demand efficient maintenance techniques in order to preserve the life of wire ropes that are subjected to strong pulling forces. Proper maintenance also protects against wear and corrosion, which is often caused by acids, alkaline waters, salt air, humidity and fumes in industrial environments in general.

Keep an eye on lubrication maintenance

A properly lubricated wire rope is essential to avoid premature failures and undesirable breakdowns. According to SKF, a global company that has the engineering competence to design state of the art bearing assemblies and customised lubrication systems, the life cycle of a steel wire rope that has been periodically lubricated is approximately six to eight times longer than a wire rope that has not been lubricated.

For operations that require the use of steel wire ropes that are subjected to extreme pulling forces, SKF offers a wire rope lubrication system including high-pressure grease sleeve designed as a service tool for harsh environments to increase wire rope life and reduce lubrication time, while protecting the wires against corrosion and abrasion.

Typically, a wire rope corrodes internally from the inside (the core) outwards. This corrosion in many cases is not detected until the wire rope snaps and the disintegration within the core becomes evident.

The main purpose of using SKF Lincoln high-pressure grease sleeve is to force the grease under pressure into the centre of the wire rope to stop water collecting and corroding the strands, while reducing friction and heat generation. The system applies the right amount of lubricant, distributes it evenly and eliminates over-lubrication waste. This is noticeably more cost-effective and environmentally friendly when compared to manual lubrication methods. 

Safety first!

The SKF wire rope lubrication system is reliable and cost-effective solution that offers the advantage of eliminating manual lubrication, which is considered as an important factor when it comes to the safety of operators, especially for those involved in such adverse work operations.

When compared to traditional and unsafe manual lubrication procedures, the SKF Lincoln system takes less time by up to 90 per cent and reduces the amount of lubricant used by up to 20 per cent. The solution cleans and lubricates 30 – 35 meters of rope per minute quickly, efficiently and safely for operators.

John Sample Group, through its JSG Industrial Systems business, holds the distribution rights to SKF Lubrication Systems across the Asia Pacific. JSG Industrial Systems designs, develops, and supplies engineered industrial systems which increase assets lifetime, reduce operational risk and contribute to environmental sustainability. The company provides access to products and services in industrial lubrication, liquid flow management, and fire suppression for a variety of global sectors including mining, food and beverage, manufacturing, pulp and paper mills, transportation & logistics, agriculture, marine, energy, and construction.