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Magnetic flux leakage technology advances wire rope inspection

Home Metals Corrosion Magnetic flux leakage technology advances wire rope inspection

TECHNOLOGY that helps to give a more accurate assessment of the state of wire ropes without damaging the ropes in the process are a boon for inspectors and companies using this type of equipment.

Regular inspection of wire ropes is critical to avoid catastrophic failure and potential harm. Traditionally, if inspectors were concerned about the state of a wire rope, they would have to inspect it using ‘destructive’ testing where a portion of the rope is unwound or counter-twisted to allow visibility of the inside of the rope.

However, in recent decades there has been significant development in the area of magnetic flux leakage (MFL) technology. Colin Ford, the managing director of Lubrication Engineers (LE) South Africa, and one of the country’s foremost experts on the use of MFL for wire ropes, explains that the technology uses magnetic fields and complex computerised systems to determine the state of a wire rope, right from the centre of the strands to the outer layers of the rope.

“South Africa has been involved in the development of the computer systems used for MFL since the 1980s, so it is fitting to see this technology now being more widely used in South Africa,” says Ford.

LE is the Southern Africa agent for the TST FDSys.P Flaw Detection System, which is a portable steel-wire-rope inspection solution that enables 100% accurate non-destructive inspection of wire ropes with diameters ranging from 6 to 70mm.

The TST portable wire rope tester provides instant, real-time, portable detection of wire rope flaws, and is ideal for inspecting wire ropes in applications like mine hoisters, cranes, elevators, cableways, power grids, suspended bridges and drilling platforms.

How the TST works

The TST portable wire rope tester uses magnetic inductive sensing technology and MFL wire rope inspection techniques. Fault events leave a magnetic signature, which the detector can pick up. This allows for high-speed, accurate and user-friendly inspections

The TST portable wire rope tester can inspect upwards of 5 m/s (or as limited for safe operation). It offers >90% repeatability of quantitative detection for flaws, and 100% accuracy of severe flaw signals.

Ford explains that the four key things that need to be monitored in wire rope inspections are corrosion, fatigue, abrasion and broken wires. Tools like the TST tester can pick up internal flaws as well as external flaws to ensure that all of these four aspects are thoroughly assessed.

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