The Characteristics of Wire Rope Slings and When to Replace Them

Material handling must be an important consideration, regardless of industry. Any instance where materials need to be moved from one location to another, whether to manufacture, sell, or utilize products requires the proper equipment. Because the mishandling of materials is the largest cause of accidents and injuries in the workplace, we recommend using mechanical means whenever possible. With the proper equipment, most accidents can be avoided.

Some of the most common types of material handling equipment include cranes, derricks, hoists, powered industrial trucks, and conveyors. When using cranes, derricks, and hoists to move material, it is necessary to use slings to hold the suspended loads. This makes slings some of the most commonly used materials handling apparatus available.

Choosing a proper lifting sling

There is no one size fits all solution to lifting slings, and slings must be selected based on their intended use. Choosing a proper sling depends on a number of factors, including the size and type of load, as well as the environmental conditions of the workplace.

There are a variety of sling types that we can classify into three main groups as dictated by their inspection procedures: wire rope and mesh, chain, and fiber rope web. In this post, we will focus on the characteristics of wire rope sling which help you determine whether these are ideal for your application.

Characteristics of wire rope slings

Wire rope slings, also referred to as wire cable slings, have always been a popular choice for material handling. They are more durable than nylon slings and polyester webbing slings and have higher temperature limits; an important concern in industrial applications.

These slings are made of individual wires that have been twisted to form strands; these strands are then twisted together to for a structurally sound rope. Sometimes wire rope slings have a fiber core to give them more flexibility. This additional flexibility may compromise the sling’s resistance to environmental damage, however.

When choosing the right wire rope lifting sling, you must consider strength, ability to bend without distortion, ability to withstand abrasive wear, and ability to withstand abuse. A durable sling is safest and more cost-effective, as slings that can withstand the demands of industrial lifting will last much longer before needing replacement.


Strength is determined by size, grade, and construction. A sling must be able to accommodate the maximum applied load. With continued rigorous service, a sling’s strength is reduced. Older slings should be rigorously inspected before use to ensure it is acceptable.


A wire rope must be able to endure repeated bending without experiencing fatigue. Fatigue failure occurs when the wires experience small crack development from repeated applications of bending loads.

Abrasive wear

A wire sling’s ability to withstand abrasion will depend on its size, the number of wires, and construction of the rope. A rope made with smaller wires will have more flexibility but won’t stand up to abrasion quite as well.


The misuse or abuse of a wire rope sling will cause it to fail before other factors. To get the most out of your slings, make sure you use them safely and properly, per the manufacturer’s suggestion.

When to replace your wire rope sling

Wire Rope Damage Types

Replace your sling if you notice any of the following factors:

  • Severe corrosion
  • Localized wear on the outside
  • Reduction of outer wire diameter by 1/3
  • Damage to end-fittings-hooks, rings, links, or collars
  • Distortion, kinking, or other visible damage
  • Excessive broken wires

If you find it is time to replace your slings, or are looking to add more to your inventory, we carry Lift-All® eye-to-eye Permaloc slings in various lengths with the following dimensions:

Wire Rope Sling

  1. LiftAll Wire Rope 1/2” Permaloc Sling, Eye-Eye
  2. LiftAll Wire Rope 3/8” Permaloc Sling, Eye-Eye
  3. LiftAll Wire Rope 5/8” Permaloc Sling, Eye-Eye

    Lift-All® is a leader in North American sling manufacture, and we trust their products when it comes to venue rigging and staging. These steel slings have good abrasion resistance so you won’t have to replace them as often. You can find an overview of which Lift-All® products we carry here.

    Wire rope slings should always be inspected upon arrival and before each day or shift in normal service conditions. You can find more tips for inspecting your rigging hardware, including wire rope, here.

    You can find our entire line of industrial Lift-All products at