While talking to people at a recent trade show it hit me: There is a lack of information in the marketplace concerning the quality of available wire rope . Most people feel that there is one general level of cable quality, usually based on their experience with imported wire rope. Let's take a minute to clear up the confusions many people have about wire rope availability and performance.
The conversation goes something like this:
Prospect: "Yeah, but the cables I use always wear out so quickly. Why would I spend the money to buy your rope?"
Loos: "What are you currently using?"
Prospect: "Just some aircraft cable from the local rigging shop."
Loos: "And where is the cable made?"
Prospect: "I don't know. It's imported, I suppose..."
Loos: "What performance level are you expecting to receive?"
Prospect: "I don't know. Something better than the stuff I'm currently using."
When I dig a little deeper, I always find out that the cable they are using is low quality import material, often from China, that never seems to perform the way they intended. Short service life, broken wires and low break strength are often tolerated because the wire rope is just so very cheap. And the lowering of quality and performance from your wire rope tends to feed on itself: Inexpensive cable performance is sub-par, so the purchaser becomes conditioned to poor performance. This translates into a buying decision focused solely on the price of the wire rope, which in turn leads to distributors looking for less and less expensive material, which dictates the quality, and so on.
Ultimately, this cycle results in wire rope that is manufactured to just meet the thresholds of performance required by specification, and nothing more. Some applications can accept this material, but the majority of customers would be best served by selecting a higher quality wire rope.
When the performance is a key element of your application, you should be requesting a high quality domestic wire rope. Why should you purchase a domestic rope? Domestic manufacturers work with smaller lot sizes and focus on quality.
It will require a larger investment to purchase and employ the higher quality material, but that will end the downward quality spiral created by using the least expensive cable you can find. You will notice, first and foremost, that your cable will last longer and perform at an improved level. You will also notice that the added cost for purchasing a domestic wire rope is minimal when compared to the extended life you will receive.
So for your next purchase, request a domestic wire rope for your application. Here are some general rules to ensure you receive the best cable available:
1. Not all wire rope is created equal. There are specifications for wire rope, including Federal Specification RR-W-410 and Military Specification MIL-DTL-83420, both detailing the level of quality and performance required for specific applications. When purchasing a wire rope, be sure to reference one of these specifications to ensure you receive a higher quality material.
2. Just because you purchased the rope from a domestic source does not mean that it is domestic. Make sure you specifically request a domestic wire rope.
3. Domestic Wire rope is available.there are several manufacturers that would be more than delighted t quote your requirements. You can find a list of companies on the Domestic Wire Rope Committee web site.
I hope that this quick primer has been helpful. If you have any questions about the quality of your wire rope, don't hesitate to contact us.