Wire RopesWire ropes have a surprisingly long and colourful history, and although they have always been used as an implement to heavy lifting, its practical applications extend beyond to more than just acting as a harness for construction work.

The Rope and the Railroad

Originally created as hoisting cables for vertical shafts, one of the more ‘modern’ applications of the wire rope is for the railroad. They first started seeing use in the United States as a replacement for hemp rope. Unlike hemp, wire ropes do not fall prey to rotting over time, which made them viable in areas with high moisture. Its strength helped the early locomotives overcome higher terrain, ultimately replacing hemp due to its sheer strength.

Rope and Rail Ltd adds that another reason why wire ropes eventually became the standard in railroads, mining, and nearly every construction industry is due to its increased fatigue resistance and surprising flexibility. Unlike traditional roping materials, metal doesn’t decrease in strength and resistance even if it’s cut into shorter lengths. They’re also a lot easier to manufacture, as steel itself isn’t as scarce as hemp.

Modern Applications

Nowadays, wire ropes are used in almost any industry, extending beyond the industrial and construction realm. Their most common application is for heavy lifting and harnessing goods, but they also find use as rails or aerial ropeways. If you’re in the farming business, they’re also useful as stationary ropes or ‘stay ropes’, acting as cables for cranes and other farming equipment.

While it isn’t a conventional use for the wire ropes, they can also serve as a tensioning wire for vineyards and greenhouses. Because of their inherent resistance to moisture, they are better than traditional ropes as most manufactured wires have an increased resistance to rust and corrosion. They retain its flexibility though, allowing you to shape wires as you see fit.

Wire ropes are an extremely versatile material with uses that go beyond its origins in the railroad. Wire rope remains the premiere roping material in almost every industry, and continuing advancements in the manufacturing process means that it’s not just for heavy lifting anymore.