nants can act as abrasives if the gears are not
7.6 Wire Rope
The life of a wire rope can be extended through
the proper application of the correct lubricant.
The exception to this, is wire rope operating in
an extremely dirty or dusty environment where
abrasives can cling to the lubricant and cause
To be effective, the lubricant must penetrate
into the rope to provide lubrication between the
individual wires and strands. It also must pro-
vide lubrication externally to reduce friction
between the rope and sheaves or drum, and it
should act as a sealant to prevent corrosion.
The lubricant coating should not interfere with
the visual inspection of the rope for broken wires
or other damage.
Many times a light mineral oil, such as a S.A.E.
10 motor oil, is used to lubricate wire rope. The
advantages of such a light oil is that it can be
applied cold and it will penetrate into the rope
easily. The main disadvantage of a light oil is
that it will work out of the rope just as easily as
it works in and frequent application will be re-
Heavy, adhesive lubricants can provide longer
lasting protection, but most require heating prior
to application to provide proper penetration. A
heavy lubricant, when properly applied, will not
only provide internal lubrication, but also provide
a durable outer coating to prevent corrosion and
keep dust and abrasives out of the rope.
The lubricant can be applied by brush, spray, or
dripped on, or, preferably, by passing the rope
through a heated reservoir filled with the lubri-
cant. Prior to applying the lubricant it is
Important to clean any accumulated dirt, dust or
rust from the rope, as they can prevent the
lubricant from penetrating properly. The lubri-
cant should be applied to the entire
circumference of the rope and the rope slowly
wound on and off the drum several times to
work the lubricant into the rope. If the lubricant
is being applied by hand it may be helpful to
apply the lubricant as it passes over a sheave
since the rope's strands are spread by the bend-
ing and the lubricant can penetrate more easily.
21 (FIST 2-4 11/90)