• Thomas R. Hay, Ph.D., P.E

Wire Rope Testing – A Review of Different Non-destructive Testing Methods


Wire rope testing, or bridge cable inspection, is an essential process in fitness-for-serv

ice evaluation of amusement park rides, bridges, cranes, ship loaders and may other load bearing assets. This article briefly introduces the various wire rope testing methods and their respective advantages and disadvantages. The basic wire rope testing methods are visual wire rope testing, magnetic flux leakage (MFL) wire rope testing, long range ultrasonic testing (LRUT) and acoustic emission testing of steel cables.

Visual Inspection of Wire Rope

Visual wire rope is a fast and economical non-destructive testing technique that detects wire breaks on the outside diameter of the wire rope. Wire rope testing is commonly performed using a cloth rag lightly wrapped the rope that catches on protruding wires. Visual wire rope testing is performed routinely across all industries. Visual inspection cannot determine condition under collars, seizing wires, separators, sockets and gatherers since due to accessibility. In addition to wire breaks, this method can detect reductions in diameter, corrosion, birdcage, waviness, kinks and deformations.