Northern Strands
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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

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

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

Northern Strands Offers Unique Suspended Access & Fall Protection Solutions for Regal Towers

Both Regal Towers have been part of Saskatoon's skyline for decades. Yet they are some of the most well kept and upgraded buildings in the city. Currently Boardwalk Communities is replacing Regal Towers windows. Candor Build Construction Company was in need of Swing Stage Equipment for this project. They subcontracted Northern Strands to install the suspended access equipment that would be needed to install the windows. 

Being an older building, Regal Towers lacked fall protection anchors that are commonplace in newer buildings. This meant there was nothing conventional for the outrigger beams or lifelines to anchor to (Outriggers are horizontal beams that extend over the parapet wall for the suspension cables of the swing stage platforms to connect to. This presented some unique challenges for our Suspended Access team.

The Northern Strands Swing Stage team had to devise solutions to overcome the lack of traditional anchor points:

  • Engineers approved the installation of D-Plate points. Multiple anchors were installed at various points across the roof. All anchors were labeled and softeners were included at potential wear points.

  • Wood cribbing boxes were fabricated to raise the outriggers over the parapet wall.

  • To anchor the outriggers our team used the utility building that sits on top of the main roof, after engineers had deemed the structure was adequate. Our Suspended Access crew wrapped cable around the entire building structure and softeners were once again employed on the wire rope at the structure corners to prevent damage. This was a unique and forward thinking solution

  • Panoramic views of the overall set up:

Northern Strands has the largest Suspended Access equipment fleet in Saskatchewan. We are locally owned and operated out of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. 

Contact Northern Strands to quote your next job

Vitali-Intl Hoists vs.The Competition

How does your current hoist brand stack up against Vitali-Intl? Vitali-Intl hoists are equal to or better than the next two major competitors!

We often hear, "I like my current hoist brand and supplier. Why would I change?". The simple answer is . . . the price!

Vitali-Intl Hoists also have the SAME SAFETY CERTIFICATIONS as the competition. Every Vitali-Intl hoist comes with a manual, parts list, and Certification of Compliance. Vitali-Intl Hoists are ANSI/ASME b30.21 and HST-3 compliant.
Why are you playing 2-3 times more money for your current hoist brand? Simple . . . the brand name! Make the switch today.

Contact us for more information on how to switch hoist brands, or for more details about Vitali-Intl!

“We loved all the Vitali-Intl products. We used everything from the lever hoists, chain hoists to the beam clamps on our last job. Would recommend these products to any company.”

-Steve Slusar WS Plumbing and Heating

Synthetic Rope The New Standard for Tow Trucks

Northern Strands is able to offer a large variety of products for tow trucks. Between our five divisions, we can equip tow truck operators with numerous products to help get the job done. 

We offer wire rope as well as Dyneema rope cut to customized lengths for tow truck drivers. Dyneema rope is a synthetic rope that has a comparable breaking strength to that of wire rope. This synthetic rope won't kink, curl, or splinter and has minimal stretch with no rotation. 

Northern Strands can also provide tow truck operators with different configurations of Grade 70 Transport Chain. This chain is high tensile carbon steel, heat treated, and is available in custom lengths. We also offer Grade 70 Grab and Slip Hooks along with Ratchet and Lever Style Load Binders.

Northern Strands Provides Wire Rope for Cloudraker Skybridge

During the spring of 2018, Northern Strands Wire Rope Division provided the wire rope for the Cloudraker Skybridge at Whistler Peak. Ranging 130 m from Whistler Peak to the West Ridge, the Cloudraker Skybridge crosses above the Whistler Bowl.

Northern Strands supplied the galvanized rope with a breaking strength that exceeds 500,000 lbs that was used for the bridge.