Steel Cable: market growth driven by automotive industry

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The steel cable or wire rope market expects to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 4.2% in the coming period heading into 2023, reports PR Newswire.

Wire rope or steel cable provides strength, flexibility and has many applications. Steel cable is used in elevators, rigging and lifting applications, theatre sets, and is used as a reinforcing material for automotive tires and conveyor belts.

Filaments, which are fine strands of steel are significantly useful for the fabrication of automotive tires. Advantages of wire rope or steel cable filaments include high thermal resistance a better travelling performance. Currently, the global wire rope market is being greatly influenced by market entrants in the automotive industry.

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Example of fraying wire rope—notice the individual strands that make up each rope.

Right now, technology and a need for lighter tires are two growing demands in the automotive industry. Flat-run tires, eco tires and nitrogen tires are three examples of tech-driven tires that create a demand for a flashier, updated tires for manufacturers. Their industry has a need for lighter tires, which means steel cable will be a sought-after material for automotive fabrication. These steel cable filaments will be used in application for heavy equipment tires, cargo truck tires, conveyor belts, rubber framework and light truck tires.

As the famed architect Walter Grophius said, “New synthetic substances—steel, concrete, glass—are actively superseding the traditional raw materials of construction.” Even in modern days, fabrication and manufacturing industries are constantly finding news ways to use to use familiar, synthetic materials.

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Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

Wire Rope: A Manufacturing & Transportation Pioneer

Wire-Rope-Pioneer
Early Life

Andrew Smith Hallidie was born Andrew Smith, later adopting the name Hallidie in honour of his uncle, Sir Andrew Hallidie. His birthplace is variously quoted as London in the United Kingdom. His father, Andrew Smith (a prolific inventor in his own right, responsible for inventing the first box door spring, a floor cramp and had an early patent for wire rope) had been born in Fleming, Dumfrieshire, Scotland, in 1798, and his mother, Julia Johnstone Smith, was from Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire.

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Andrew Smith Hallidie

The younger Smith was initially apprenticed to a machine shop and drawing office. In 1852 he and his father set sail for California, where the senior Mr. Smith had an interest in some gold mines in Mariposa County. The mines proved disappointing, and he returned to England in 1853. Andrew Smith Junior, however, remained in California, and became a gold miner whilst also working as a blacksmith, surveyor and builder of bridges.

Inventions

In 1855, young Hallidie built a wire suspension bridge and aqueduct 220 feet long at Horse Shoe Bar on the Middle Fork of the American River. During 1856, whilst working on the construction of a flume at a mine at American Bar, the now, Andrew Smith Hallidie was consulted over the rapid rate of wear on the ropes used to lower cars of rock from the mine to the mill. These ropes wore out in 75 days—unsatisfied with this, Hallidie manufactured rope for the project consisting of three spliced pieces one-eighth of an inch thick, 1200 feet long. These lasted for two years—a vast improvement from the previous 75 day standard.

Hallide invented the Hallidie Ropeway, a form of aerial tramway used for transporting ore and other material across mountainous districts in the west, which he successfully installed in a number of locations, and later patented. After a few years of drifting from camp to camp working claims, narrowly avoiding disasters both natural and man-made, and briefly running a restaurant at Michigan Bluff in the Mother Lode, he abandoned mining in 1857 and returned to San Francisco. Under the name of A. S. Hallidie & Co., he commenced the manufacture of wire rope in a building at Mason and Chestnut Streets, using the machinery from American Bar.

In addition to aerial tramways, his rope was used to build suspension bridges across creeks and rivers throughout northern California. He was often away from the City on his bridge projects until in 1865 he returned to San Francisco and focused his energies entirely on manufacturing and perfecting wire rope. The discovery of the Comstock Lode silver mines in Nevada increased the demand for wire rope.

The city became a major industrial center for mining operations in the 1860s and Hallidie prospered, becoming a leading entrepreneur, US citizen, husband to Martha Elizabeth Woods, and in 1868 President of the prestigious Mechanic’s Institute.

Hallidie’s ‘Endless Wire Ropeway’—Precursor to Cable Cars

It was about this time that Hallidie began to implement a scheme for urban transportation he had been considered for some time, based upon his use of wire rope for the aerial tramways. He worked on improving the tensile strength and flexibility of his wire to develop an “endless” wire rope that could be would around large pulleys, which could then provide continuous underground propulsion for a car that could be attached or released at will from the cable. Hallide took out a patent Endless Wire Rope Patentfor this “Endless Wire Ropeway” and for years it dominated the construction of tramway at mines throughout the West. However, it was the implementation of his Endless Wire Ropeway for moving streetcars in San Francisco that brought him lasting fame and a place in the history books.

It is here accounts differ as to exactly how involved Hallidie was in the inception of the first cable car at Clay Street Hill Railway. One version, has him taking over the promotion of the line when the original promoter, Benjamin Brooks, failed to raise the necessary capital.

In another version, Hallidie was the instigator, inspired by a desire to reduce the suffering incurred by the horses that hauled streetcars up Jackson Street, from Kearny to Stockton Street.

There is also doubt as to when exactly the first run of the cable car occurred. The franchise required the first run no later than August 1, 1873, however at least one source reports that the run took place a day late, on August 2, but that the city chose not to void the franchise. Some accounts say that the first gripman hired by Hallidie looked down the steep hill from Jones and refused to operate the car, so Hallidie took the grip himself and ran the car down the hill and up again without any problems.

The named engineer of the Clay Street line was William Eppelsheimer. Given Hallidie’s previous experience of cables and cable haulage systems, it seems likely that he contributed to the design of the system.

wire rope cable car

The Clay Street line started regular service on September 1, 1873, and was a financial success. In addition, Hallidie’s patents on the cable car design were stringently enforced on cable car promoters around the world and made him a rich man.

A. S. Hallidie & Co. became the California Wire Works in 1883 with Hallidie as president. In 1895, it was sold to Washburn and Moen Co., the oldest manufacturers of wire in the United States (established in 1831).

Hallidie died on April 24, 1900 at the age of 65 of heart disease at his San Francisco residence, but his name lives on. In San Francisco, Hallidie Plaza (near the Powell and Market Street cable car turntable) and the Hallidie Building (an office building in the city’s Financial District) are named after him.

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Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

 

Steel Wire Rope – How, Where, What and Why

steel wire rope

Steel wire rope is several strands of metal wire twisted into a helix forming a composite “rope”, in a pattern known as “laid rope”. Larger diameter wire rope consists of multiple strands of such laid rope in a pattern known as “cable laid”.

In stricter senses the term “steel wire rope” refers to diameter larger than 3/8 inch (9.52 mm), with smaller gauges designated cable or cords. Initially wrought iron wires were used, but today steel is the main material used for wire ropes.

Historically, steel wire rope evolved from wrought iron chains, which had a record of mechanical failure. While Fraying_steel_wire_ropeflaws in chain links or solid steel bars can lead to catastrophic failure, flaws in the wires making up a steel cable are less critical as the other wires easily take up the load. While friction between the individual wires and strands causes wear over the life of the rope, it also helps to compensate for minor failures in the short run.

Steel wire ropes were developed starting with mining hoist applications in the 1830s. Wire ropes are used dynamically for lifting and hoisting in cranes and elevators, and for transmission of mechanical power. Wire rope is also used to transmit force in mechanisms, such as a Bowden cable or the control surfaces of an airplane connected to levers and pedals in the cockpit. Only aircraft cables have WSC (wire strand core). Also, aircraft cables are available in smaller diameters than steel wire rope. For example, aircraft cables are available in 3/64 in. diameter while most wire ropes begin at a 1/4 in. diameter. Static wire ropes are used to support structures such as suspension bridges or as guy wires to support towers. An aerial tramway relies on wire rope to support and move cargo overhead.

History

Modern steel wire rope was invented by the German mining engineer Wilhelm Albert in the years between 1831 and 1834 for use in mining in the Harz Mountains in Clausthal, Lower Saxony, Germany. It was quickly accepted because it proved superior to ropes made of hemp or to metal chains, such as had been used before.

Wilhelm Albert’s first ropes consisted of three strands consisting of four wires each. In 1840, Scotsman Robert Stirling Newall improved the process further. In America wire rope was manufactured by John A. Roebling, starting in 1841 and forming the basis for his success in suspension bridge building. Roebling introduced a number of innovations in the design, materials and manufacture of wire rope. Ever with an ear to technology developments in mining and railroading, Josiah White and Erskine Hazard, principal owners[9] of the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company (LC&N Co.) — as they had with the first blast furnaces in the Lehigh Valley — built a Wire Rope factory in Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania in 1848, which provided lift cables for the Ashley Planes project, then the back track planes of the Summit Hill & Mauch Chunk Railroad, improving its attractiveness as a premier tourism destination, and vastly improving the throughput of the coal capacity since return of cars dropped from nearly four hours to less than 20 minutes. The decades were witness to a burgeoning increase in deep shaft mining in both Europe and North America as surface mineral deposits were exhausted and miners had to chase layers along inclined layers. The era was early in railroad development and steam engines lacked sufficient tractive effort to climb steep slopes, so incline plane railways were common. This pushed development of cable hoists rapidly in the United States as surface deposits in the Anthracite Coal Region north and south dove deeper every year, and even the rich deposits in the Panther Creek Valley required LC&N Co. to drive their first shafts into lower slopes beginning Lansford and its Schuylkill County twin-town Coaldale.

The German engineering firm of Adolf Bleichert & Co. was founded in 1874 and began to build bicable aerial tramways for mining in the Ruhr Valley. With important patents, and dozens of working systems in Europe, Bleichert dominated the global industry, later licensing its designs and manufacturing techniques to Trenton Iron Works, New Jersey, USA which built systems across America. Adolf Bleichert & Co. went on to build hundreds of aerial tramways around the world: from Alaska to Argentina, Australia and Spitsbergen. The Bleichert company also built hundreds of aerial tramways for both the Imperial German Army and the Wehrmacht.

In the last half of the 19th century, steel wire rope systems were used as a means of transmitting mechanical power including for the new cable cars. Wire rope systems cost one-tenth as much and had lower friction losses than line shafts. Because of these advantages, wire rope systems were used to transmit power for a distance of a few miles or kilometers.

Safety

The steel wire ropes are stressed by fluctuating forces, by wear, by corrosion and in seldom cases by extreme forces. The rope life is finite and the safety is only ensured by inspection for the detection of wire breaks on a reference rope length, of cross-section loss, as well as other failures so that the wire rope can be replaced before a dangerous situation occurs. Installations should be designed to facilitate the inspection of the wire ropes.

Read more about Wire Rope here

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLR, Hercules Machining & Millwright Services, Spartan Industrial Marine, Stellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

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