RopeQ is a special inspection method utilised by Konecranes, one of the largest crane service organisations in the world, to detect non-visible defects in a crane’s wire ropes. A RopeQ inspection can help identify weaknesses in the ropes, even when there are no visible signs of fatigue, reducing the potential for accidents.

The durability of wire ropes is one of the most critical elements for safety in hoisting applications. Over time, corrosion, tension and abrasion can wear away the wires and core of the rope, reducing its working life. However, regular inspection can detect breaks and fatigue, ensuring timely replacement before a dangerous situation can occur.

Optimising the right change intervals for ropes can be difficult, as some types of damage are difficult to observe with the naked eye. According to Mr Joseph Cefai, Consultation Services Manager, Konecranes Australia and New Zealand, rotation-resistant ropes, for example, are prone to suffer from internal wire breaks that are left unseen and go undetected with visual-only inspections.

Internal corrosion is another major problem, which may not be visible in regular visual inspections. For instance, the boom ropes of a ship-to-shore crane are exposed to the elements and are stationary for long periods of time. With time, rain water slowly penetrates the rope and corrodes it from the inside. Lubrication added to protect the rope’s surface can lock the water in, contributing to the damage.

To detect non-visible defects such as these, Konecranes uses a special inspection method called RopeQ.

Combining a regular visual check with magnetic-inductive leakage technology, a RopeQ crane inspection provides accurate data on the integrity of the rope’s interior. This inspection method allows the outside and inside of wire ropes to be inspected in a non-destructive manner.

Mr Cefai explains that the RopeQ method involves the inspection of not only the rope but also other parts of the rope reeving system, including rope fixings, rope drums, rope guides, sheaves and anything that has an effect on rope life and reliability. The inspection team also measures the wear on running surfaces and the diameter of the rope itself.

Benefits of a RopeQ crane inspection

A single, isolated RopeQ inspection yields an assessment of the rope’s current condition and provides information on the remaining usable life of the rope. However, only regular inspections will help Konecranes create a trend line over the rate of wire breaks forming; the flow of continuous information will help the service team optimise the rope change interval, maximising safety and minimising costs.

An optimised change interval reduces equipment downtime and brings down maintenance costs. RopeQ inspections are recommended for all types of wire rope applications, but are especially effective for process cranes in constant use, cranes that are used only occasionally, ropes that are particularly hard to inspect visually, and post-accident inspections.

Crane operators benefit from RopeQ inspections through improved safety from detecting non-visible defects; optimised wire rope change interval; repeatable and reliable results; and a report that is easy to read and interpret, with recommendations for action.

Image: Konecranes RopeQ magnetic rope inspection