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Rigging Supplies & Rigging Hardware
Wire Rope
Wire Rope

Steel Wire & Cable Rope for Rigging

You can count on us for all your metal rope and hardware needs. We offer both wire rope and cable rope options to accommodate a variety of applications such as crane lifting, suspension bridges, and construction work.

While some use these two terms interchangeably, technically wire rope refers to a diameter greater than 3/8”. Cable rope - also called aircraft cable - applies to all smaller variations. 

Consequently, aircraft cable is only used for lighter-duty purposes, such as winch lines, fences, and railings, while wire rope can be using for lifting, hoisting, suspension jobs, etc. Both are ideal for outdoor environments because the strength and length remain constant regardless of whether they are wet or dry.

If you are looking for a steel cable wire specifically designed for lifting, check out our wire rope slings. They come in a number of configurations - choices include leg count, end hardware, and more.

How is Wire Rope Constructed?

Generally composed of wires, strands, and a core shaped in a spiral pattern, wire rope is incredibly durable. Steel wires are aligned in a precise helix geometric pattern to form a strand in a process known as "stranding." A "closing" comes next, where the strands are laid around the core to form a wire rope.

Steel Wire Rope Cable Variations

There are many metal cable options available - including size, material, and strand count - so it's easy to find the perfect fit for your job.

Rope Diameter

The greater the diameter, the greater the break strength. For example, our selection of 1/8" stainless steel cable has a break strength of less than 2,000 lbs., while our 2-1/2" wire rope has a break strength of more than 600,000 lbs.!

To find the diameter, measure at the widest point. This is an industry standard with wire cable manufacturers and steel cable suppliers.

Steel Grade

The wire rope's steel grade makes a difference when it comes to the strength and corrosion-resistance of the rope.

  • IPS is the abbreviation for Improved Plowed Steel
  • EIPS is Extra Improved Plowed Steel and has roughly 10% more strength than IPS
  • EEIPS is Extra Extra Improved Plowed Steel and is approximately 10% stronger than the EIPS
  • GIPS is Galvanized Improved Plowed Steel and has added corrosion-resistance

Stranding and Closing Directions

Right hand and left hand designations indicate which way the strands wrap around the core of the steel rope, while regular lay and Lang lay designations specify which way the wires that make up the strand are formed in the helix pattern.

Regular lay means the wires are rotated opposite the direction of the strands around the cable rope core. Lang lay means the wires are twisted in the same direction as the strands wrapped around the wire rope core.

Our wire rope lay is right hand regular lay, with strands wrapped around the core to the right, and the wires making up the strand turned and rotated to the left. 

Steel Cable Wire Finish

The standard wire rope finish, known as bright steel, is uncoated except for lubricant, which reduces friction and protects from corrosion.

In applications where more corrosion-resistance is needed, 304 stainless steel, type 316 stainless steel, and galvanized steel are good options.

A vinyl coating is also available for extra protection.

Metal Cable Core Material

Fiber cores (FC) are made of vegetable (sisal, etc.) or synthetic (polypropylene, etc.) fibers. This core is more elastic and can be crushed more easily that other variations. It's also not recommended for high heat environments.

Independent wire rope cores (IWRC) are made from steel, offer more support to the outer strands, and have a higher resistance to crushing. IWRC also offer more resistance to heat and increase the strength of the rope.

A wire strand core (WSC) is similar to an IWRC, but is composed of an individual strand of steel instead of a whole rope.

Metal Rope Strands

This refers to how many strands make up the rope and how many wires make up one strand. For instance, a 6x26 wire rope has 6 strands around a core with 26 wires making up each strand.

Some of the most popular strand classes that US Cargo Control carries are the 7x19 cable rope and the 6x19 / 6x37 wire ropes.

The 6x19 is the most common and offers higher resistance to abrasion, while the 6x37 class offers a higher flexibility.


All steel cable wires consist of layer(s) arranged in a specific pattern around a center. Pattern designation is affected by the size of the wires, the number of layers, and the wires per layer. Wires can utilize either a single pattern style or a combination of them, known as a combined pattern:

  • Single Layer - A single layer with wires of the same diameter
  • Filler Wire - Two layers of uniform-size wire. The inner layer has half the number of wires as the outer layer.
  • Seale - Two layers of uniform-size wire and the same number of wires
  • Warrington - Two layers of wires. The outer layer has two diameters of wire (alternating between large and small), while the inner layer has one diameter.

Steel Rope Inspections

Although wire rope is extremely strong, it can become damaged with improper use, making it unsafe. It's important to have regular inspections for breaks, corrosion, overuse wear, and kinks.

Wire Rope for Rigging Fittings

Complete your setup with snatch blocks, hoist hooks, wire cable clamps, ferrules, and more. 

Stainless Steel Rope Accessories

Our rigging supplies include hardware and accessories for cranes, dredging, excavating, hoists & winches, logging, and marine uses. These include turnbuckles, shackles, and a wide variety of other products.

We also have a wide variety of cable railing and cable railing assemblies. For more information, visit our cable railing page.

If you're unsure what you need or have questions, call for help from our product specialists with expertise in wire rope/cable rigging supplies.