Steel wire rope is subject to corrosion, abrasion, and fatigue, it will fail one day if it is not discarded in time. Premature discard of rope based on stated service time is unwise. Rope should be replaced for a reason, when it reached discard criteria. Among other reasons, rope integrity depends also on the loss of metallic area (LMA) caused by corrosion and abrasion, and the number of localized flaws (LF), e.g. broken wires caused by fatigue due to rope bending and friction between wires. Visual inspection, which is tiresome and time-consuming, can reveal outer broken wires, however it is useless to detect inner breakages and measure LMA. Magnetic rope testing (MRT) simultaneously detects outer and inner LF as well as accurately measures LMA.

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Latest versions of international standards recognize MRT as the important mean to ensure wire rope integrity by measuring LMA and revealing LF. These standards establish requirements for MRT instruments, inspection procedures and personnel carrying MRT, rope discard criteria. Among these standards are:

  • ASTM E1571-11(16) Standard Practice for Electromagnetic Examination of Ferromagnetic Steel Wire Rope;
  • EN 12927:2019 Safety requirements for cableway installations designed to carry persons – Ropes;
  • ISO 4309:2017 Cranes – Wire Ropes – Care and maintenance, inspection and discard;
  • IMCA LR 004 Examination of Steel Wire Rope Through Magnetic Rope Testing.

MRT instrument INTROS enables simultaneous accurate measurement of LMA and detection of outer and inner broken wires. The INTROS can be used during rope production or operation at underground and surface mining, cranes and heavy lifting onshore and offshore, aerial ropeways, cable bridges, elevators, guy ropes of flare stacks and masts, overhead transmission lines, etc.

The instrument operates magnetic flux leakage (MFL) principle that means it contains strong permanent magnets capable to magnetize the rope under inspection up to saturation as required by the above standards. Only in case of magnetic saturation, it is possible to reach good performance of the instrument.

The INTROS kit comprises magnetic head, portable basic unit and software Wintros. The in- house developed software Wintros is designed for downloading and analysis of rope inspection data. Software Wintros RTV (Real Time View) enables viewing inspection data on the screen of the computer in form of traces during inspection.

Results obtained by MRT along with those from visual inspection, provide sufficient information to make reasonable decision on rope extension or discard.