As you may already know, wire ropes are widely used in several industries, from construction to transportation to manufacturing. The global steel wire rope market alone was valued at $11.9 Billion in 2020. It is projected to reach $17.5 Billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 8%.

Wire rope strands are made of individual wires twisted together. The strands are combined with one another to create a wire rope or industrial wire rope cable. Understanding how wires turn into strands, and the strands turn into a wire rope or a cable is necessary. It helps you decide what type of industrial wire rope or cable is best suited for your rigging application. 

Let’s explore the differences between wire, strand, and cable. 

1. Wire

Think of a wire as the smallest part or the foundation of wire ropes or cables. It is a single, flexible, string-like rod usually made from stainless steel, galvanized steel, or galvanized carbon steel. Each rod passes through a series of small holes called dies. That is how you get the wires of a desired diameter. 

Usually, steel wires are preferred over other types of wires, particularly synthetic versions. Steel wires are stronger and last longer. They can also withstand external corrosion better. Always choose high-quality steel wires for rigging applications in harsh environments. 

2. Strand

A strand is composed of two or more wires laid around a single center wire. Wire rope suppliers and manufacturers can use several wire combinations to create strands. However, 1×7 and 1×19 are the two most common configurations.

Let’s take a look at those. 

A. 1X7 Wire Rope Strands

These strands consist of seven wires in total. There is one (straight) center core wire, and six wires are helically stranded around the core. The diameter of these strands ranges from 1/8″ – 5/8″. The 1X7 wire rope strands yield minimal stretch. That’s why they are best suited to make 3X7 and 7X7, and 7X19 industrial wire rope cables.

B. 1X19 Wire Rope Strands

As you can imagine, this is one strand of 19 wires with a center wire. The rest of the wires are helically wrapped around the core in two layers. The inner layer has six wires, while the outer one has twelve wires.  

These strands are most commonly used to build wire ropes intended for hydraulically swaged fittings. These are the stiffest wire rope strands available. So, they are not suited for Thimble and Ferrule-type swages.

3. Wire Rope and Cable

Wire ropes or industrial steel cables are made by concentrically wrapping groups of strands. You can find a wide range of wire ropes or cables out there. Different wire rope suppliers and manufacturers use unique combinations to create wire ropes of the desired strength and flexibility. 

For example, a 7×7 industrial wire rope cable comprises seven strands, each made of seven wires. On the other hand, a 7×19 cable consists of seven strands with 19 wires in each one. The strength and flexibility of wire ropes depend on these helical combinations and the material used. 

A. 7X7 Wire Ropes

These wire ropes are durable, more flexible, and abrasion resistant. But they are best suited for general-purpose construction where strength and flexibility are a priority. However, you can use them over pulleys. Just be sure to consult a professional or wire rope supplier before doing so. 

B. 7×19 Wire Ropes

These ropes have 133 wires in total. They are one of the strongest and most flexible wire ropes. They also have an excellent stretch, making them best suited for use over pulleys. But you can also find them in garage doors, gym equipment, control cables, wind turbines, and winch ropes. They are also used to make wire-rope slings.

Understanding the Difference Between Wire, Strand, and Cable

The wire is the smallest component in a wire rope or industrial steel cable. On the other hand, a wire rope strand gets formed when you combine seven or 19 wires together. As a result, a strand is often stronger than a single wire. You can use strands on their own or as a combination, turning them into wire ropes and cables. 

Wire ropes and industrial cables are basically the same. The term is also used interchangeably. But wire ropes often have diameters larger than 3/8″. Cables, however, have smaller diameters. The strength, flexibility, and corrosion resistance will vary from cable to cable. You will need to speak with your wire rope supplier to find a cable that meets your specifications.

Find a Trusted Wire Rope Supplier

The wire is a single metal strand that lays the foundation of wire ropes and cables. Strands are made of multiple wires twisted together. And wire ropes or cables are made of multiple strands braided together. That’s what makes cables and wire ropes suitable for heavy-duty applications. Knowing this can help you choose a cable best suited for your application. 

Are you looking for high-quality wire ropes and industrial steel cables? As a leading wire rope supplier, Elite Sales can help you find what you want. Call us now!