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Considerations When Choosing a Wire Rope Sheave for Rigging

Shipboard Crane Sheaves

In the rigging industry, projects are often delayed while waiting on replacement sheaves. Sheaves are either broken or not performing well because the wrong one for the task is being used. Thankfully, there are three factors to look out for that help ensure your sheaves last a long time and perform to the highest level in the rigging industry. The three factors to consider when choosing a wire rope sheave are: size, material, and time.

Below are the three key aspects that will help you decide in selecting the right wire rope sheave for your rigging application.


Depending on the application, various sheave sizes are used in the rigging industry. The most important thing is finding a balance between a sheave that isn't so big it interferes with equipment, but is strong enough to handle any lifting, dragging, or pulling required. 

With size, the outside diameter is not the only factor to consider. Inside diameter (bore diameter), and Groove size compatibility are equally important. Inside diameter determines the amount the belt moves with one rotation of the sheave. Use a string to measure the inside diameter of your existing sheave to see what size you need. The groove cradles the wire rope around your sheave. So, you should pick a groove size that fits the rope without being too loose for the rope to slip out, or too tight for it to get friction damage. 


Picking the right material for a wire rope sheave is crucial. If you are in need of an extremely strong sheave, we recommend solid steel ideally machined from solid 1045 steel round bar. However, if your rigging task is constantly putting pressure in the groove areas of the sheave where the cable sits, we recommend a sheave made from Cast Nylon. Cast Nylon Sheaves are the ultimate heavy-duty wire rope solution that provides a cushioning effect in the groove areas. Choosing Nylon will extend wire rope life by 2-3 times or more. 


Because sheaves are such an integral part of rigging and crane systems, you don't want to spend long waiting for a replacement. The longer the wait, the more difficult your job, maintenance, and keeping profit becomes. When buying a sheave, various OEM manufacturers have excellent sheaves for rigging, yet the wait time for shipping can be weeks and sometimes months. It is important to choose a company that provides next-day shipment to your facility, jobsite, ship, or mine when purchasing stock wire rope sheaves. Luckily, esheaves.com has all the products you need.

Manufacturing Crane System

When selecting a wire rope sheave, we've shown the importance of size, material and time. Not only will lifting, dragging or pulling for your rigging project become much easier when using the right sheaves, you will drastically improve the life of your wire rope sheaves. 

At eSheaves, we customize and stock a variety of wire rope sheaves. If you want to learn more about wire rope sheaves for rigging, please visit https://www.esheaves.com/industries/cranes-and-rigging/. Alternatively, if you have any questions, we can help! Reach out to us by email through sales@esheaves.com, or by phone at 800-321-5667.