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 have 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
While 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 heavy-duty wire rope clips 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 the 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.