Lubrication of elevator ropes

Many elevator rope end-users have a common question regarding the frequency of periodic lubrication. Being an experts in elevator wire rope service allows us to state the following:

  • One of the main conditions of long-term and safe operation of elevator equipment is strict operation and maintenance regulations of wire ropes compliance. Wire ropes are the main load-bearing element of elevating constructions. Periodic lubrication of wire ropes is as important as correct construction and load characteristics choice, correct installation and periodic inspection. 
  • Violation of lubrication rules of elevator ropes causes corrosion, increased wear of rope itself and sheave groove, decreases load characteristics, structural defects appearance and in the end decrease wire rope lifespan. 
  • Most manufacturers grease wire rope strands during production, while the rope itself is not greased (in compliance with EN 12385-5 regulations). Such lubrication amount is enough to withstand corrosion during transportation, short-term storage and initial exploitation period. 
  • The most common lubricants for elevator ropes are Торсиол-35Б (for GOST ropes) and Elaskon-20 (for EN 12385-5 ropes). Compatible lubricants for appliance during exploitation are Торсиол-35Э and Elaskon-30 accordingly. 
  • Fiber core used in production of elevator ropes can be produced of natural fiber (jute, hemp, sisal) or synthetic fiber (polypropylene). During natural fiber cores production they are lubricated with E-1 lubricant, synthetic fires cores are not lubricated. 
  • While long-term storage of wire rope it is recommended to check it outer surface and lubricate with compatible lubrication at least once in 6 months. To achieve the best possible wire rope lifespan it is necessary to regularly check the rope during exploitation and aplly compatible lubricant.     
  • There are no fixed regulation about how frequent the lubricant should be applied during exploitation. Some manufacturers advice to apply lubricant once a year or 250000 working cycles, others at least once in 4-8 weeks. Our opinion in this case – the lubricant should be applied when necessary. However elevator ropes should never be used without lubrication. Frequency of exact wire rope lubrication is based on several factors

    • Storage conditions
    • Rope condition during installation 
    • Air temperature and humidity 
    • Amount of operation cycles
    • Aggressiveness of environment
  • The easiest way to understand whether the rope should be lubricated or not is absence of lubrication traces after touching the rope. It is better to lubricate ropes more frequently, but inexpensively. Rope lubricant should be applied evenly, in a thin layer across the surface. Before the lubrication rope should be inspected and if necessary remove old dusty lubrication.

Rules of elevator ropes lubrication can be found in ISO 4344:2004, EN 12385-5. Leading manufacturers of elevator equipment as well as wire rope producers recommend to lubricate wire ropes during exploitation. As wire rope lubrication directly influence on wire rope lifespan.