May 3rd, 2019

Wire Rope Lubrication: Overview

Lubrication is considered as the most critical attribute that affects the overall usage and lifespan of the wire ropes. Proper lubrication practices ensure a life cycle that is approximately six to eight times longer than that of a non-lubricated wire rope. Lubrication essentially shields the wires against corrosion and minimizes external and internal wear caused due to metal-to-metal contact.

Wire Rope lubricants serve three principal purposes, namely:

  1. To reduce friction between individual wires.
  2. To offer protection against corrosion
  3. To prolong the service life

Wire rope lubricants are differentiated into two categories, penetrating & coating.

 Penetrating Lubricants

Penetrating lubricant consists of an evaporative solvent such as petroleum that helps its assimilation into the core. The solvent eventually evaporates leaving behind a heavy lubricating film across each strand.

Coating lubricants

Coating lubricants penetrate the wire rope to a certain degree, forming a seal that protects the wire rope from external agents such as moisture, rust and corrosion.

Wire ropes are usually lubricated during the process of manufacturing; however, this lubricant won’t last the entire lifetime. While re-lubricating your wire rope, one must ensure its free of acids and alkalis, has high fluid film strength, has the required adhesive strength, resists oxidation and stays pliable during all times. The primary cause of failure occurs from inside out, thus it is critical to ensure the core receives adequate lubricant to facilitate relative internal movements.

A lubricant must possess certain characteristic traits as listed under the ISO 4346 standard Steel Wire Ropes for General Purposes – Lubricants

A lubricant must:

  • possess good covering properties
  • be resistant against water, and should not be emulsifiable
  • not undergo significant embrittlement
  • be free from grit, abrasives, water, chlorine, or similar impurities
  • possess a composition that does not react with water resulting in additive degradation.

Wire ropes must be re-lubricated at set intervals to equate the max service life out of it. These periodic intervals are dictated by several factors such as the frequency of use, environmental conditions, performance parameters, type of lubricant used and its shelf life.

Our Special lubricants exhibit excellent creeping-in properties with superior anti-corrosive characteristics that ensure a long service life with less downtime.

Ideal lubrication ensures an extended operational life regardless of its application. Our team of Lubrication Experts will recommend you the right lubricants to ensure your wire rope operate within the set parameters and last for a long time.


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