Steel wire rope is a component of just about every crane. Be it large or small, oil & gas or marine as well as onshore or offshore crane services. It is as important a part of the crane as the hook, boom, hydraulic system or any of the other parts of the crane. Yet it commonly receives a very small part of maintenance attention, when compared to the other areas of the crane operation and inspection. Historically, steel wire rope inspection has been confined to external visual only. This gives no easy and informative way of determining the actual internal condition of the rope. This bred a philosophy of time-based replacement of wire ropes, rather than on any quantitative analysis to determine if replacement was required. The question “Is the rope at or near the end of its life?” could not be answered in any reliable way.
Magnetic scanning/analysis of steel wire ropes has been available for many years. However, the equipment for the data recording and analysis was not portable. This means that the rope has to be removed from its normal working location. As a result, this was suitable only for workshop/factory use.
Over the past decade or so, advances in magnetic sensor technology, digital signal processing and computing speeds/portability has meant that the acquisition of data and its processing has become very much easier. The physics has not changed but the equipment required to do the work has reduced in size by a great deal such that analysis is now not only portable but can be permanently installed on the rope at its working location, if required.
The New Way
Magnetic Flux Leakage (MFL) techniques are now so advanced and refined, easy quantitative steel wire rope inspection is also now possible. This provides clear, repeatable and trustworthy results are obtainable with the correct choice of equipment.
As with all cutting-edge technology, there has been a certain amount of over-selling of capabilities in the past. This applies to what any one brand of machine and analysis can tell the owner of a wire rope about its internal condition. Accurately showing metal loss, corrosion, broken wires etc was not always guaranteed nor was it repeatable.
Careful vetting of the various options available in the market has allowed CLS to choose the best systems as part of our offshore engineering services. This is in terms of data gathering and analysis as well as the presentation of our findings. We deliver results that are clear to the person responsible for the wire ropes in question. This includes the internal rope condition allowing for an informed decision on whether to retain or discard the rope. For your mission-critical/high value/high risk steel wire ropes, whether moving or static, get in touch with CLS today. See how we can help to provide a safe load indication so you can decide on whether to retain or discard. Let CLS can be part of your new wire rope inspection policy.