Wire ropes are an essential piece of industrial hardware equipment that serves numerous purposes for all types of projects. But if you are looking for exceptional strength and durability, you know that galvanized wire rope is the way to go.
Galvanization is a process where a metal is coated in zinc over iron or steel to prevent it from rusting and corrosion. This helps to extend the life of the metal, particularly if it is exposed to weather elements or water. Galvanized metal is often used in steel structures, cables, and wire ropes to provide additional durability.
Galvanized wire rope is more durable and rust-resistant compared to non-galvanized wire rope (also known as bright) while being less expensive than stainless steel. This makes it a great option for many applications and budgets. But there are some things that you need to know before purchasing galvanized wire rope.
There are two ways that wire ropes can be galvanized: hot dip and electro galvanization.
The way a wire rope is galvanized has an impact on its composition and strength, making each type optimal for specific circumstances.
So, which type of wire rope should you use and when?
Let’s discuss this.
Electro Galvanized Wire Rope
Electro galvanization (also known as electroplating) attaches the zinc coating to a wire rope by electricity. First, zinc powder is mixed into a saline solution that has an electric current running through it. Wire rope is then carefully dipped into the zinc solution. The electricity causes the electrons from the zinc to bond to the metal, creating an extremely thin protective coating.
Electro galvanized wire rope is shiny and smooth – as the zinc coating layer is extremely thin and even. This makes it a great option for applications where appearances matter and a shiny finish is desired.
Hot Dip Galvanized Wire Rope
Hot-dip galvanization is the other form of galvanizing. Zinc is heated up in a large vat until it becomes molten at 860 F°. The wires, which will form the rope, are then cleaned to ensure that there are no particles of dust, metal shavings, or other contaminants on the cable before it is completely immersed in the molten zinc.
Once the wires are completely coated, they are removed and cooled before they are formed into strands to create the wire rope.
The process creates a thicker zinc coating that is 5 to 10 times thicker than electro-galvanized coating. This provides optimal protection against rust and wear, making the rope extremely resistant to abrasions – as well as stiffer and stronger.
Pros and Cons
Each type of galvanized wire rope offers benefits and downsides, and each is designed to be used for different purposes.
Hot dipped galvanized rope is up to 40% more expensive than electro-galvanized rope because it is heavier and stronger. However, one of the reasons why electro galvanized wire rope is less expensive is because it is lighter and smaller – which means that it is also not as strong as hot dipped galvanized rope.
Hot-dip galvanization creates a thick coating, which increases the weight of the wire rope significantly. Electro galvanized wire rope is much lighter and thinner, so it can be used for more delicate applications.
Since electro galvanization creates an extremely thin coating, it does not offer as much protection as the thicker hot-dipped galvanization process. Electro galvanized wire rope is far less durable. It is not made to be used in applications where it will be exposed to extreme elements or high levels of friction.
Electro galvanized wire rope is far more flexible than hot dipped galvanized rope because the thin coating does not compromise the rope’s movement as much. Hot dipped galvanized rope is much stiffer and sturdier, which does make it better for use where movement is discouraged, like in lifting and rigging.
Electro galvanized wire rope is shiny and has a very even zinc coating. Hot-dipped galvanized rope has a dull appearance, and the zinc coating can be uneven or streaky. Therefore, it is often not used in architectural applications for design purposes – since it is not as appealing as electro galvanized wire rope.
When to Use Hot Dipped Galvanized Rope
This type of wire rope is best for applications where the cables will be exposed to harsh weather elements, such as rain, heat, cold temperatures, and wind. It is commonly used on construction sites for setting fences and perimeters – and is generally used in lifting and rigging cranes. You may also see hot dipped galvanized wire rope in parking garages and farms.
Hot dipped galvanized ropes are also often used in applications where the rope must resist high levels of friction, like pulleys and ziplines. The thick zinc coating prevents the rope from wearing down quickly.
Overall, it is best to use hot-dipped galvanized wire rope for projects which require optimal strength and long-lasting sturdiness.
When to Use Electro Galvanized Wire Rope
Electro galvanized wire rope is rust-resistant, but it is not optimal for extreme environments where the rope is exposed to lots of moisture. It is often used for wire mesh, fencing, and perimeter cables. It may be used in architectural design, particularly for fastening and binding.
Galvanized wire ropes are incredibly strong and versatile – but the galvanization process that is used can significantly impact the durability and use of the rope. Be sure that you are using the correct one in your application!
If you have any further questions regarding galvanized wire ropes or you would like to place an order, reach out to our sales team at Elite Sales. We also carry a vast variety of wire ropes and other hardware supplies – such as cables, hooks, shackles, and chains for nearly any type of project. Make Elite Sales your one-stop shop for all of your industrial hardware needs!