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What is the Difference Between IPS and EIPS Wire Rope and Why Does it Matter?

In the past (pre 19th century), most heavy haulage and lifting needs were met by bulky chains or big ropes made of fiber. In the early 1830’s, a mine in Germany dropped a mine conveyance full of ore to the bottom of their mine and it was found that the heavy chains they were using to haul the conveyance to the surface suffered from work hardening and became severely brittle, leading to its failure.

As time progressed, other nations and people began to experiment with the fabrication of wire rope and, initially, each of them were essentially drawing hot steel through some dyes to create wires which were then laid helically together to form the wire rope. The type of steel that was readily available at the time was the same steel used to create ploughs for agriculture; thus the “Plough Steel” designation was used to denote what grade of steel was used to fabricate the rope.

Improvements were made to the ingredients of Plough Steel that allowed for a higher tensile strength of the wire rope. This new grade was aptly named, “Improved Plough Steel” or I.P.S. for short. Improved plough steel became the de facto steel to be used until it was once again improved upon, to the point where it is actually difficult to find Plough Steel grade wire rope in inventory at a sling shop.

Speaking of improvements made to the already Improved Plough Steel, once the recipe was perfected and it was found that wire rope could be made to have some extra strength. What did the powers that be name this new and improved wire rope…You guessed it, “Extra Improved Plough Steel.” EIPS offers approximately 10-15% increases in tensile strength over the old IPS depending on diameter. The higher tensile strength improves the minimum breaking strength of the wire rope. This, of course, will change the breaking strengths of the rigging mines and other industrial uses. This makes it important to know what type of wire rope your rigging is constructed from. If for example, a worker is referencing a sling chart for minimum breaking strength of a sling they should:

  • a) check to see if the chart is referencing IPS  or EIPS 
  • b) know if his sling is IPS or EIPS.
  • Referencing an EIPS chart while lifting with a IPS sling could result in the sling being overloaded and breaking.

Currently, most rigging shops have transitioned to EIPS or are in the process of doing so. EIPS wire rope should be the standard in a modern day rigging shop and used for rigging such as wire rope slings, winch lines, and wire rope assemblies.


                                                                                  EIPS Sling Chart



Northern Strands has been a locally owned company for over 50 years. We carry the largest supply of wire rope and rigging in Saskatchewan. Contact us today for a rigging quote or visit our showroom.


Visit Northern Strands at any of our three locations:

Saskatoon (Head Office)
3235 Millar Avenue
Saskatoon, SK S7K 5Y3
Hours of Operation: 7:30am to 5:00pm Mon - Fri
Phone: (306) 242-7073
Toll Free: (800) 242-7073

Regina
125 Henderson Drive
Regina, SK S4N 5W4
Hours of Operation: 7:30am to 5:00pm Mon - Fri
Phone: (306) 352-7073
Fax: (306) 352-9112
Toll Free: (800) 242-7073
Email: regina@northernstrands.com  

Esterhazy
816 Park Avenue, Esterhazy, SK S0A 0X0
Hours of Operation: 7:30am to 5:00pm Mon - Fri
Phone: (306) 745-4640
Inside Sales Email: cgriffin@northernstrands.com

Should Miners Have Professional Wirelock® Socketing Training? Seems Easy Enough...

In 1962 there was a breakthrough invention of a revolutionary product that we have all come to know as Wirelock® cold socketing compound. Why was it revolutionary? If a product came along that made it easier and faster to put a stronger termination on a wire rope, it could be argued that a lot of the mining sector would stand to benefit from such a product. 

Wire rope in and of itself is not very useful. To get any work out of a wire rope, something must attach to each end of it to enable it to pull. This is how most raw materials are brought out of underground mines. Usually one end of the wire rope is fastened to a winding drum and large, bulky thimbles or cappells must be installed on the opposite end to provide an attachment point. Although, where space was limited, some wire ropes would have to be terminated with sockets.

How sockets were installed (up until 1962 that is), required sliding the socket onto the rope, prepping the rope end, and pulling it down into the socket. The next step was to melt zinc babbit by heating it up to around 427°C to pour it into the socket. The socket itself would also have to be preheated so that the molten zinc would not stick to the socket wall.

Along came Wirelock®, which is touted as the world’s first “cold-socketing media,” which is much cooler than molten zinc, as it only ever reaches temperatures as high as 100°C after mixing. All of the other steps remain the same, but instead of starting the forge, you just get a stir stick, mix some sand into a pail of resin for 2 minutes, and pour it into the room temperature socket and wait for it to set. 

Wirelock all but eliminates the possibility of burns and other injuries from resulting from extreme heat of the Zinc process and the only real downside is that mechanical failures and downtime are quite prevalent when Wirelock® ends up in the hands of the untrained. Reading the manual supplied with the Wirelock® and hoping for a good socket is like reading the owner’s manual of your car and expecting to be a good driver. 

The best way to minimize socket failures when using the Wirelock® socketing media is to ensure that employees have participated in a formal, hands-on training course that reviews the core fundamental principles that everyone should know before they pour a socket that lives depend on.

The Northern Strands Wirelock® Socketing course reviews the fundamentals from the application manual and includes valuable lessons that we have learned through using this product extensively as a company over the last 50 years. We then walk the students through the process of pouring a socket step-by-step using a 16mm wire rope and corresponding socket.  Once the sockets are complete, they set for the requisite amount of time and then are destructively pull tested to ensure all the steps were followed correctly.

Put simply, Wirelock® has the potential to be one of (if not the) best ways to terminate wire rope. The benefit of using it can be found across many different industries, but just like any other tool in the toolbox, it needs to be used correctly to fully realize these benefits. An incorrectly poured socket that fails can lead to expensive downtime, injuries and even death should a socket fail.



Saskatoon (Head Office)
3235 Millar Avenue
Saskatoon, SK S7K 5Y3
Hours of Operation: 7:30am to 5:00pm Mon - Fri
Email: training@northernstrands.com 
Phone: (306) 242-7073
Toll Free: (800) 242-7073

Northern Strands Is Having a Sale On Tow Kits! Tow Strap, Winch Line or Tow Rope Kits Available

We at Northern Strands thought this would be a great time to have a sale on Tow Kits with the huge snowfall Saskatchewan had this week. We wanted to give everyone a deal on recovery straps, winch lines, and tow ropes when they need them the most. Saskatoon was hit particularly hard and many people were stuck and continue to get stuck on residential streets. And you know this won't be the last snow dump we get this winter! 

All of our Tow Kits come with Soft Shackles. Soft Shackles are an excellent lightweight replacement for steel shackles. Many new trucks have tow lugs on the front that you cannot hook to without wrecking your bumper. This type of shackle can also be easily wrapped around difficult pulling points and not scratch vehicle paint. The Soft Shackle is complete with a locking system for ease of use and a slip ring for extra security. Made with high-strength durable. Dyneema Synthetic Rope, the Soft Shackle is constructed with one piece of material. This means that there are no pins that need to be fastened.

ATV WINCH LINE KITS - Each kit includes a Dyneema Winch Line and Soft Shackle

Package 1                                                                                        Retail Price      Sale Price 
3/16" x 50ft ATV Winch Line - Breaking Strength 5,400 LBS
Orange 5/16" Soft Shackles - Breaking Strength 9,300 KG          $        87.50 $         63.00 

Package 2
1/4" x 50ft ATV Winch Line - Breaking Strength 8,600 LBS
Orange 5/16" Soft Shackles - Breaking Strength 9,300 KG          $     101.25 $         74.00 

Package 3
5/16" x 50ft ATV Winch Line - Breaking Strength 13,700 LBS
Orange 5/16" Soft Shackles - Breaking Strength 9,300 KG          $     118.75 $         88.00 

TOW STRAP KITS - Each kit includes a Tow Strap and two Dyneema Soft Shackle

Package 4
2" Green 32,000lbs x 20ft Tow Strap
2 X 1/2" Soft Shackles - Breaking Strength 44,709 LBS          $     164.20   $       115.00 

Package 5
2" Green 32,000lbs x 30ft Tow Strap
2 X 1/2" Soft Shackles - Breaking Strength 44,709 LBS          $     182.40   $       131.70

Package 6
4" Grey 64,000lbs x 30ft Tow Strap
2 X 5/8" Soft Shackles - Breaking Strength 28,900 KG                  $     270.00    $       196.00

DOUBLE BRAID TOW KITS - Each kit includes a Tow Rope and two Dyneema Soft Shackles

5/8" x 30ft Double Braid Tow Rope Eyes Both Ends
2 x 1/2” Soft Shackles - Breaking Strength 44,709 LBS                   $      208.44    $       142.00 

5/8" x 50ft Double Braid Tow Rope Eyes Both Ends
2 x 1/2” Soft Shackles - Breaking Strength 44,709 LBS                   $      224.62    $       158.00 

3/4" x 30ft Double Braid Tow Rope Eyes Both Ends
2 x 1/2” Soft Shackles - Breaking Strength 44,709 LBS                   $      217.90     $       155.00 

3/4" x 50ft Double Braid Tow Rope Eyes Both Ends
2 x 1/2” Soft Shackles - Breaking Strength 44,709 LBS                   $       245.90     $        196.00 

1" x 30ft Double Braid Tow Rope Eyes Both Ends
2 x 9/16” Soft Shackles - Breaking Strength 54,597 LBS           $       285.34     $        199.00 

1" x 50ft Double Braid Tow Rope Eyes Both Ends 
2 x 9/16” Soft Shackles - Breaking Strength 54,597 LBS                 $       334.34       $        235.00 

*While quantities last

SALES ENDS DECEMBER 30, 2020

Visit Northern Strands at any of our three locations:

Saskatoon (Head Office)
3235 Millar Avenue
Saskatoon, SK S7K 5Y3

Hours of Operation: 7:30am to 5:00pm Mon - Fri

Phone: (306) 242-7073
Toll Free: (800) 242-7073


Regina
125 Henderson Drive
Regina, SK S4N 5W4

Hours of Operation: 7:30am to 5:00pm Mon - Fri

Phone: (306) 352-7073
Fax: (306) 352-9112
Toll Free: (800) 242-7073

Email: regina@northernstrands.com

Esterhazy
816 Park Avenue, Esterhazy, SK S0A 0X0

Hours of Operation: 7:30am to 5:00pm Mon - Fri

Phone: (306) 745-4640

Inside Sales Email: cgriffin@northernstrands.com

Northern Strands Has Lowest Sale Prices on Tow Straps and Tow Ropes in Saskatchewan

It's winter in Saskatchewan and it's colder than a Polar Bear's Toe nails! And before winter's done you know you'll have to pull a relative or friend's vehicle out of the snow. Northern Strands has the lowest sales prices on tow straps and tow ropes in Saskatchewan. Northern Strands is one of the largest suppliers of tow straps and tow ropes in Saskatchewan. Not only does Northern Strands supply Construction, Agriculture, and the Mining industries with recovery straps and ropes, we have a rural Dealer network that we supply with recovery straps and ropes. This means we have the buying power to keep our prices the lowest in the province.


Northern Strands Dealer network https://www.northernstrands.com/dealers.aspx









Contact us for pricing today.

Northern Strands locations:

Saskatoon (Head Office)
3235 Millar Avenue
Saskatoon, SK S7K 5Y3
Hours of Operation: 7:30am to 5:00pm Mon - Fri
Phone: (306) 242-7073
Toll Free: (800) 242-7073
Hours of Operation: 7:30am to 5:00pm Mon - Fri

Regina
125 Henderson Drive
Regina, SK S4N 5W4
Phone: (306) 352-7073
Toll Free: (800) 242-7073
sales@northernstrands.com 
Hours of Operation: 7:30am to 5:00pm Mon - Fri

Esterhazy
816 Park Avenue, Esterhazy, SK S0A 0X0
Phone: (306) 745-4640
Email: cgriffin@northernstrands.com
Hours of Operation: 7:30am to 5:00pm Mon - Fri

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Previous Posts

Saskatoon (Head Office)

  • 3235 Millar Avenue
  • Saskatoon, SK S7K 5Y3

Regina

  • 125 Henderson Drive
  • Regina, SK S4N 5W4

Esterhazy

  • 816 Park Ave
  • Esterhazy, SK S0A 0X0
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