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COURTESY OF WireCO
WRCAA power shovel uses wire ropes manufactured by WireCoto remove minerals from a strip mine.
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oil rig made 2Oil and gas wells on an ocean rig use wire rope for drilling line, anchor line, and hoist rope.
What has the ability to catch fish from a lake or jet planes on Navy carriers at sea? And what carries ski lifts on the slopes of a snowy mountain in Colorado or cable cars in San Francisco?
The answer is wire rope. The largest wire rope producer in North America, WireCo World Group, is headquartered at Kansas City in the Show-Me state.
WireCo ships its products all over the world. Examples of WireCo products are endless, but one place close to home famous for its wire cables is Bartle Hall, a major convention center, in Kansas City, which has a cable-supported roof. The hall is the largest column-free exhibition hall in America. Dennis Scholl, a process quality engineer at the Sedalia plant, says the rope used in oceanographic exploration is a “torque-balanced, heat-treated, three-strand product.”
WireCo also has some impressive examples of its cable’s capabili¬ties. The largest rope ever made was five inches in diameter, with a three-million-pound breaking strength. This rope was used by drag lines in coal and mineral mining, where the machines would remove and put back the top layer of ground so that other machines could dig for the minerals.
The longest rope ever made was 45,000 feet, nearly nine miles. It was an oceanographic rope used in the water by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute during the exploration of the Titanic. Another long rope used by the San Francisco cable cars is 21,700 feet, and it is all one piece, Dennis says. The heaviest rope ever was 68 tons and was used for anchoring an oil rig in the ocean.
WireCo uses three types of wire to make ropes: structural for civil engineering projects, such as bridges or buildings; galvanized for projects where corrosion is possible, such as water; and high-carbon for the majority of ropes, such as ski ropes or oil-field ropes. The company has many different sizes of rope that vary by the number of wire sizes and total wire wound in it. “Wire is much stronger by size and multitude of pieces,” Dennis says.
What is now known as WireCo is a company that has been through several name changes over the years. Originally known as Broderick & Bascom, Keystone Steel & Wire bought the company in 1966. In 1983 it was bought by Amstead, and in 1999 WireCo took over as Wire Rope Corporation of America, changing its name to WireCo in 2007.
Prior to 1980 there were only three plants, all outside of Missouri. In 1980 under the Keystone Steel & Wire name, all the production was moved to Sedalia. Now, WireCo has corporate headquarters in Kansas City, a fabrication shop in Kirksville for making assemblies, and plants in Chillicothe, Sedalia, and Carrollton, as well as others in Latin America, Europe and Asia. Throughout the years, WRCA has acquired several wire rope companies to expand its services worldwide. Its latest acquisition is the Polish company Drumet.
For more information on WireCo, visit www.wirecoworldgroup.com or call 816-270-4700.