Elevator rope lubrication
Like any other mechanism, a wire rope requires lubrication. The type of lubricant is selected according to the use of the rope. The lubricant is essential in providing corrosion protection and reducing internal wear but at the same time not reducing significantly the coefficient of friction between the ropes and the drive sheaves.
Lubrication during manufacture:
Lubricant is usually applied in the manufacturing process during the stranding operation so the lubricant covers every wire in the strand. The sisal core of the rope is also impregnated with a suitable lubricant. There is a common belief that the core serves as a sort of lubricant reservoir that will lubricate the rope through its entire lifetime. In fact, the main role of the core is to provide support for the strands. In normal use, the lubricant impregnated in the core will be squeezed out after a relatively short time. When the core becomes dry, it starts to deteriorate, doesn’t support the strands as it is supposed to and the immediate result is reduction in rope diameter, rouging and fatigue wire breaks (mostly “valley” breaks). To avoid that, periodical lubrication of the ropes after installation is of extreme importance.
Lubrication in service:
Proper lubrication of elevator ropes as a maintenance routine is important for a number of reasons:
Frequency of lubrication:
The quantity of lubricant and the frequency of field lubrication depend on many factors such as local atmospheric and climatic conditions, machine type, speed and service factor of the elevator.
It is not possible to define a set period of time for re-lubrication that will apply to all elevators. We recommend checking and if necessary, re-lubricating at least every six months. Lubrication is required when the grooves feel dry to touch. Carefully wipe with your finger the inside of the groove on the bright surface of contact with the ropes (the elevator should be out of service of course). There should be a thin film of lubricant on the surface of the groove. If it is dry, lubrication is required.
As we are all aware, during the construction phase of a project both concrete and dry wall dusts are in abundance, both of which act as drying and abrasive agents
Under these conditions we recommend that the ropes be cleaned and a light dressing be applied to them two weeks after installation, and from that point whenever the ropes feel dry to the touch.
Unless the ropes have been stored for many years there is no need to lubricate a new set of ropes after installation.
Method of lubrication:
The most convenient way to lubricate is using a regular paint roller. The roller should be dipped in lubricant and wiped as done with paint, then it should be rolled on the ropes while the elevator is running at low speed (service mode). We recommend doing that at the end of the day when the elevator is used less frequently and the lubricant can penetrate inside.
Felt wick type lubricators are available from many suppliers. They may also be used but they should not be left on the machine continuously. They should be removed after a day or two.
Do not over lubricate. Excessive lubrication may reduce the friction too much and cause slippage. Also, the excessive lubricant is thrown by centrifugal forces when the rope runs over the sheaves and sticks to the machine and the machine room.
Do not lubricate governor ropes. Lubricant may interfere with the safety mechanism jaws or the proper functioning of the speed governor.
Do not use lubricants with Molybdenum additives (MoS2).
Never use solvents to clean the ropes. Solvents penetrate and dilute the lubricant inside the strands and the core of the rope. The diluted lubricant bleeds out and leaves a dry rope. If cleaning is required, a clean piece of thick felt or natural fiber carpet should be placed against the ropes while the machine is running. After a few days it should be removed.
If the ropes were over-lubricated, the same method can be used to wipe the excess lubricant.