How to Use Wire Rope Clips

A wire rope clip, sometimes called a u-bolt clamp or u-bolt clip is used to clamp the loose end of a length of wire rope, once it has been looped back to form an eye. These fittings consist of a u-bolt and has a saddle secured by two nuts. Generally, wire rope assemblies need at least two or three wire rope clips to secure the ends properly to the length of the rope.

Drop forged wire rope clips vs. malleable wire rope clips

image of wire rope clips from US Cargo ControlWhile wire rope clips are not designed to be used in an overhead lifting situation (swage sleeves should be used instead), drop forged wire rope clips are a heavy duty wire rope clip that can be used for sustaining overhead loads. Examples include guy lines, support lines, scaffolding, etc. Drop forged clips are galvanized, meaning they have a heavy coating of a zinc solution that will hold up to worksite abuse and the elements for a long time. Drop forged steel are excellent for use as guy wire clamps for heavy duty guying applications because they are both strong and resistant to corrosion.

Malleable Clips are a light duty wire rope clip and are not for anything overhead. As the name “malleable” indicates, it is a softer wire rope clip, thus a lighter duty option. They can be used for fences and other applications that do not sustain loads overhead.

Overhead lifting vs. sustaining overhead loads

The ‘overhead lifting’ versus ‘sustaining overhead loads’ can be confusing, but a good rule of thumb to ask is: “Is the object being moved or being held in place?” If it is being moved, then wire rope clips are not to be used. If it is being held in place, then the next question is: Is it above ground (suspended from ceiling, an awning, scaffolding, etc…) or will it be on a fence or on another object near the ground? If it is above ground, heavy duty drop forged is the best choice. If on a fence near the ground, malleable clips are acceptable.

It’s important to note that wire rope clips diminish the working load limit of the wire rope to generally about 80% of its original strength.

How to use wire rope clips

The proper way to use wire rope clips can be remembered this way: “Never saddle a dead horse.” The saddle of the clip is the piece that fits into the U bolt. The dead end of a wire rope is the end of the eye that contains the cut side. The U bolt should always be in contact with the dead end, while the saddle should be on the live end. To see a video demonstration, see our post on How to Safely Apply Wire Rope Clips to Wire Rope Assemblies.

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Wire Rope Clips and Safety

At US Cargo Control we offer a variety of wire rope clips. It is crazy that such a simple device could be so complicated! There are multiple types of wire rope clips for different applications and there is a right way to use them. Hopefully this clears up some issues on how to use a wire rope clip and what type of wire rope clamp is right for you. More information about the products and the types of clips are also available on our website.

Wire Rope Clip Safety

Wire rope clamps are used to secure the ends of wire rope but it is important to use the steel clamps in a way that secures the rope. The saddle and the nuts should be on the opposite side from the terminated end. In other words, make sure that all of the wire rope clamps are on the same side and that the loops are on the side of the terminated end. For more information on how to tie down wire rope, please call our product experts at 800-660-3585.

Drop Forged vs. Malleable Wire Rope Clips

The wire rope clip strength  is one of the most important factors in determining which type is best for your application. Drop forged steel cable clamps are designed for heavy duty applications. Drop forged steel is strong because the process of pressing the hot steel into dies creates one piece of strong steel. Malleable wire rope clips are designed for lighter loads but offer considerable cost advantages. Applications that malleable wire rope clamps can be used for include fencing, guard rails, hand rails, etc. As a rule of thumb, if it is an overhead or critical system, drop forged or precision cast steel wire rope clips should be used.