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Wire Rope Cable Materials Guide


Improved Plow Steel

Plow steels are a high-strength steel which contain between 0.5 and 0.95 percent carbon. Improved Plow Steel (IPS) is one of the best grades of wire ropes available. It’s strong, more durable and wear-resistant than normal plow steel. This type of steel has a tensile strength of 1,770 Newton per square millimeter, or roughly 260,000 pounds per square inch.


Extra Improved Plow Steel

Extra Improved Plow Steel (EIPS) has a minimum breaking strength 15 percent higher than Improved Plow Steel. It’s typically used in wire ropes for applications that require maximum rope strength, such as mine shaft hoisting. This type of steel has a tensile strength of 1,960 Newton per square millimeter, or about 285,000 pounds per square inch.


Galvanized Steel

Type of steel commonly used in wire ropes that require at least moderate resistance to corrosion. Wires in these ropes are coated with zinc, providing protection against the elements. One common application is on coastal equipment or even aboard ships. It’s more economical and stronger than stainless steel and is recognizable by its dull, not shiny appearance..


Vinyl Coated

Applying a coating of vinyl to galvanized steel wire ropes helps protect them from abrasion, and the pulleys and sheaves from extra shock or wear. Durable and strong, Vinyl Coated “aircraft cable” ropes are typically used for outdoors applications, such as sailing, towing or other uses that expose them to cold or hot temperatures. They are flexible and resistant to corrosion, and the coating helps protect them from dirt and moisture.

Stainless Steel, 304
The most commonly used stainless steel in the world, often found in kitchens and the food industry in general. This type of steel contains 18 percent chromium and 8 percent nickel. This composition enables it to withstand corrosion from most oxidizing acids. In wire rope application, it provides moderate strength and superior corrosion-resistance. Typical applications include dredging, excavating, logging and highways, as well as an assortment of marine-related uses.


Stainless Steel, 316

The second-most common form of stainless steel. It’s nearly identical to 304 Stainless, with one exception -- it includes 2 to 3 percent molybdenum. The addition of this element increases the corrosion resistance of the steel. This makes it ideal for wire ropes used in high-saline areas, such as coastlines and in cold weather areas where de-icing salts are heavily applied.