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How to Choose the Right Rope for your Winch

The choice of rope for a winch has a significant impact on the safety of the handling facility and it is essential to consider it as the starting point for any sizing of a winch.

This choice is a science in its own right, as industrial players (metallurgists, chemists, drawers, cable and rope manufacturers) have spent decades developing multiple metallic and synthetic materials, processes and technologies aimed at improving the physical and mechanical characteristics of ropes, such as its breaking strength, flexibility, density, abrasion resistance or corrosion resistance.

We can guide the choice of a rope by answering the three following questions:

  1. Application: pulling, lifting, for what type of machine?
  2. Utilisation: timely, intensive, stable, varied, with impact, without impact?
  3. Environment: inside, outside, moist, dusty, marine?

Based on the answers, the five following technical characteristics will need to be defined:

  1. Material: steel, polyethylene or polyamide?
  2. Protection: light, greased or galvanised?
  3. Constitution: number of strands and number of wires?
  4. Standing: right, left or torsion-free?
  5. Finishing: standard, compacted or impregnated?

The Minimum Breaking Load (MBL) will depend on the answers given to the 3 questions above, as well as on the regulatory and normative reference framework which the customer and the supplier will have agreed in advance. In general, the MBL will be determined by multiplying the Maximum Working Load (SWL) of the winch by a safety coefficient, which can be between 1.5, for simple use, to more than 10, for high-risk situations.

The choice of a rope remains paramount for the safety, performance and longevity of a cable handling system. It must be entrusted to a professional who not only knows the existing products on the market but also the applications and uses that are made in the different industrial sectors

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