Lifting slings play a vital role in the construction, manufacturing, and heavy equipment industries, allowing workers to maneuver loads too heavy for manual placement. Lifting slings come in a wide variety of styles and materials, each of which has its own particular strengths and weaknesses. Wire rope slings rank among the most versatile and widely used of all lifting slings.
Compared to synthetic lifting slings, those made from wire rope possess unparalleled strength and durability. Yet wire rope slings require proper maintenance to protect against undue damage. If you would like to learn more about how to keep wire rope slings in good working shape, keep reading. This article offers three tips to ensure a long lifespan.
1. Employ Proper Storage
In most cases, a wire rope sling spends as much of its life in storage as it does in use. For this reason, you must obey proper storage strategies to protect slings from premature breakdown. To begin with, always house your slings in an environment where they will not come into contact with water, high temperatures, or corrosive substances.
Hang your slings high enough that they do not come into contact with the ground. Moisture can migrate through the concrete floor of a warehouse and will cause corrosion in a wire sling if it happens to touch the floor. Slings should hang in a relaxed position, free from kinks or sharp bends. Finally, ensure that slings remain easily accessible in order to facilitate periodic inspections.
2. Obey Temperature Guidelines
Contractors prize wire rope slings for their versatility, especially when it comes to working in high-temperature situations. Slings made from synthetic materials can seldom withstand the same sorts of heat extremes as metal slings. Of course, different metal slings have different thresholds when it comes to temperature, depending on how thick they are.
Nonetheless, no wire rope sling can provide safe results in temperatures above 400 degrees Fahrenheit. When faced with such temperatures, select an appropriately rated metal chain sling instead. Even if a wire rope sling does not break at such temperatures, it may come away in a significantly weaker state.
You should also pay attention to the sling's working load limit. The working load limit simply designates the maximum amount of weight that a sling can bear. Workers should always understand that the working load limit of a wire rope sling decreases as temperatures increase.
In other words, even if a wire rope sling can handle a given weight at room temperature, it may no longer deliver safe results when operating in high-heat situations. Even when a sling survives such conditions, its working load limit may be permanently lowered. Always take operating temperature into consideration when selecting the right size wire rope sling for a job.
3. Keep Wire Rope Slings Lubricated
Wire rope slings must remain properly lubricated. Otherwise, they may fail to meet their designed lifespan. Lubrication plays two key roles. First, the lubricant reduces the friction generated by the individual wires as they flex and move over one another. Second, the lubricant provides an outer layer of protection against corrosion.
All wire rope slings receive a layer of lubricant before leaving the manufacturing facility. Yet over time, this lubricant may wear down, especially if the sling spends excessive amounts of time in outdoor environments. Periodically re-applying lubricant will help to keep the sling free from destructive friction and corrosion.
Always use the same type of lubricant that was applied originally. If you do not know what type of lubricant to select, contact the manufacturer for more information. For additional information, please don't hesitate to contact the wire rope experts at West Equipment Co. Inc.