Wire rope is an extremely versatile mechanical device that can be used to help support and move an object or load. Whether for use on cranes or for other lifting applications, it’s important to have a solid understanding of the rigging components that are being used to attach to and lift a load.
As a rigger or end-user of wire rope, it’s necessary to understand the types of wire rope end termination, or treatments that can be used at the ends of a length of wire rope—one of the most common being wire rope clips.
In this article, you can expect to learn:
What a wire rope clip is
Types of wire rope clips
Common mistakes when using wire rope clips
Steps to install a wire rope clip
What is a Wire Rope Clip?
Wire rope clips can be used to form a load bearing eye at the end of a cable or wire rope, or to connect two cables together with a lap splice. Wire rope clips are popular because they can be installed in the field and provide 80-90% efficiency of the rope breaking strength, depending on the diameter of the wire rope.
As a general guideline, they are NOT to be used for making slings, as ASME B30.9 Slings standard states: “Mechanical wire rope terminations requiring periodic adjustment to maintain efficiency shall not be used to fabricate slings.”
Examples of situations where a wire rope clip could be utilized include:
Wire rope end termination on a crane cable or winch
To run a length of wire rope through an eye bolt or shackle
Perimeter cables on docks, parking lots, etc.
There are two main types of wire rope clips—U-Bolt and double saddle clips. U-Bolt wire rope clips are the most common and may be made of forged or malleable metal.
This type of wire rope clip is essentially a U-bolt, two nuts, and a metal base (saddle) that can be made from forged steel or cast iron. Careful consideration and attention must be given to the way U-bolt type wire rope clips are installed.
Forged Wire Rope Clips
The base of the wire rope clip is made from forged steel. Forged clips are heated and hammered into the desired shape—resulting in a consistent grain structure in the steel. Forged wire rope clips are used for critical, heavy-duty, overhead loads such as winch lines, crane hoist lines, support lines, guy lines, towing lines, tie downs, scaffolds, etc.
Malleable Wire Rope Clips
Malleable wire rope clips are used for making eye termination assemblies only with right regular lay wire rope and only for light duty uses with small applied loads, such as hand rails, fencing, guard rails, etc. The base of the wire rope clips is made from malleable cast iron, which may fracture under heavy use and does not have the desirable metal properties of steel, or the beneficial grain structure that a forged base has.
Double Saddle Wire Rope Clips
Double saddle wire rope clips consist of two saddles, each with a leg, and two nuts—one used on the top and one on the bottom. Double saddle wire rope clips can be used in either direction, so they take the guesswork out during installation when applying to the live end and the dead end of a piece of wire rope.