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Loos and Company has over 50 years of experience in the wire and cable industry. With our knowledge and experience, we can offer the highest quality products available on the market. Our general product lines and capabilities are listed above. As a manufacturer we can provide customized products for any application. If you have any questions or wish to learn more about our products and capabilities, visit our product specific pages or contact us.

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Loos HotWire: LoosCo.com's Blog

8 Shedding Light on Common Cable Questions

May 03, 2023 08:00 AM

What exactly is wire rope?DFARS Wire Rope

Wire rope is comprised of many steel wires laid together helically to form a rope.

What is the difference between cable and wire rope?

There is no exact answer as to what the difference is. Cable is generally reserved for smaller diameter ropes, and often in constructions 1 x 7, 7 x 7, 1 x 19, 3 x 3, and 3 x 7. Wire rope is a term generally used for products over 3/8” in diameter, and in constructions such as 6 x 25, 6 x 36, 6 x 37, 6 x 42, and more.

What is a construction of a cable or wire rope?

 Construction refers to the arrangement of the wires used during stranding. There are numerous ways to strand any individual cable, and this gives us many constructions. Often you will hear “7 x 7” or “7 x 19,” and these numbers represent constructions. Each different construction, although often close in break strength, will carry very different properties. As a general rule of thumb, the more wires in a construction, the more flexible a cable will become. This means that at the same diameter, a 1 x 19 cable (which is 19 wires) will be less flexible than a 7 x 19 cable (133 wires). What happens when you have two constructions that comprise of the same amount of wires, do they have different properties? Yes. A good example here is a 7 x 19 cable and a 19 x 7 cable. Each is made of 133 wires, but laid differently. Both of these cables are very flexible, however due to the construction, a 19 x 7 cable has rotation resistant properties. Seeing as it is less prone to spinning, a 19 x 7 is often used on hoists, where a 7 x 19 is often used in fitness equipment, aircraft controls, and running rigging. The best takeaway from this - different constructions serve different purposes. The more wires, the more flexible your cable will be. If you have any additional questions, please contact a product manager and they will be able to help you.

Cable constructions


What is 302/304? Or these other numbers 305 and 316?

These numbers are specifically referring to grades of stainless steel. The commercial standard stainless steel is 302 or 304. These have corrosion resistance, and are good for creating a product with longevity. There is an overlap in stainless steel grades, our product is made using material from this overlap, and is considered to be 302 and 304. 305 Stainless is considered to be “non-magnetic” however it is not. 305 stainless will always inherently have some magnetism; however this is lower than the standard amount in 302/304 stainless. 316 stainless is used in two major places – highly corrosive marine environments, as well as food/medical grade products. What 316 gives up in overall break strength, it makes up in very high corrosion resistance. For mor information on wire stainless grades, view our austenic types chart.

What is RR-W-410?

This is a standard from the US Government for setting specifications for cable and wire rope.  Unless built specifically to another specification, we manufacture all of our products to conformity with the current RR-W-410 standard. To view the current standard listed on our website, please click here.

What is Mil-Spec Cable? Or  MIL-DTL-83420?

Mil-Spec cable is cable that is manufactured to specifications set by the US Military. MIL-DTL-83420 is the name of one of these specifications – one regarding 7 x 19 and 7 x 7 aircraft cable. To manufacture cable to this specification, a company must be on the Qualified Producers List. Loos & Company is one of the select few who can manufacture cable to this specification. For more information on how to understand Military Callouts, view our QPL-83420 Quick Reference Guide.

Does Galvanized mean corrosion resistant?

No. Galvanized cable is made of wire that has been coated in a layer of zinc. This zinc will slow the corrosion process slightly; however, if the cable is nicked or placed in a high corrosion environment, it will generally lose its zinc coating and become susceptible to corrosion. A good place to see this is on automotive components. Many auto parts are galvanized, but still rust – anyone who services their car regularly can attest to this.

What is a cable assembly?

For cable to be useful, it needs to be attached to mechanical components. For instance, on a weight cable machine at a gym, the handle bar that you pull down needs to be attached to the cable, and the other end needs to be attached to the weight. A cable assembly is made by taking a length of cable, and mechanically attaching fittings on the end so that you may connect it to the proper components. The process of mechanically attaching these fittings is often “swaging”  (pronounced: sway-jing, or s-wedge-ing). This is putting mechanical force on the outside of the fitting until it is tightly fitted onto the cable.

For additional information about Wire, Cable, Wire Rope and more, visit www.loosco.com and look through our Glossary of Terms as well as our Technical Information section. As always, should you have any additional questions, feel free to ask them by commenting below, or email marketing@loosco.com and we can help shed some light on the subject.