Managing Wire Rope Stretch

Compact Wire Rope

Trenchless Equipment (TE) Pipe Bursting machines utilize “Compact” Swaged Wire Rope. This type of wire rope is often used in logging.  Big Timber, a logging series on Netflix, demonstrates how these swaged wire ropes are used in logging. For pipe bursting use, the benefit of this rope is that it is flexible, has high tonnage break strength and will help navigate bends while replacing a pipeline.

The West Coast has had mild rain the past winter, and the forecast is for this pattern to continue. The lack of rain causes the ground to be harder and more compacted. Compacted ground conditions cause pipe bursting equipment to work and pull harder. The pressure on your gauge will be at higher psi levels. This wire rope during pipe burst jobs may reduce the outside diameter of your wire rope. This stretching may reduce the effectiveness of your cable grippers. One recommendation is to place your equipment in the uphill direction and run water with a hose in the old pipe. By pulling the bursting head into a full pipe of water you can reduce the pulling force by up to 50%. The water lubricates the bursting head and softens the ground surrounding the pipeline as the pipe breaks. This can reduce the amount of stretching on your wire rope. Also, by pulling with a lower pressure, the power pack will create more hydraulic flow gallons per minute (GPM) allowing you to finish your jobs faster.

A second recommendation is to compare your wire rope to others you own. If other wire ropes do not slip in your pulling grippers you may need to replace your wire rope. If both ropes slip you may need to replace your grippers.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at or call 510-406-8214.

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