Latest improvements in HMPE rope design for steel wire rope applications
In the last few decades, high performance synthetic fibres have increasingly substituted steel wire ropes in many applications. One class of high performance synthetic fibres are the so-called High Modulus Polyethylene (HMPE) fibres. In the meantime this fibre is employed in all kind of applications where strength, weight, endurance and protection come into play. Present applications are in personal protection, technical textile products, medical applications, sports goods and last but not least in the rope industry. Starting with smaller diameter ropes in sports, over the last 25 years HMPE based ropes have been introduced in industrial environments such as harbour towing, ship and rig mooring, commercial fishing, forestry and electrical cable pulling. Due to further performance improvements in recent years also “running” wire rope industries like deep-sea installation, space tethers, cranes and mining have shown interest in the advantages of light-weight, equal strength to diameter ropes based on HMPE fibres to improve or replace steel wire ropes. In this paper the latest developments in research and development are presented for ropes with HMPE fibres showing that important design parameters can match or exceed steel wire rope properties especially where high payloads together with long rope length are necessary.
Author(s): P.J.H.M. Smeets, P.J.H.M. , Vlasblom, M.P. & Weis, J.C.