Page 12 - Wire Rope News & Sling Technology
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         intensive. “First small iron lumps were
         hammered into a long shape and then,
         after sharpening one end, they were
         successively  pulled  through  the  bores
         of  a  die…which  became  thinner  and
         thinner  until  they  finally  became  the
         desired  diameter.  At  that  time  many
         wire drawers spent their working day
         on a swing: after they had set it in mo-
         tion they grasped the wire end sticking
         out from the die with a pair of pliers and
         pulled it out bit by bit using the energy
         stored in the movement. Of course, the
         swing would abruptly slow down so that
         it had to be ‘recharged’ before the proce-
         dure could be repeated.” **
           Albert continued to test and perfect
         his  rope, and eventually determined   Verreet, who inspects wire rope for clients worldwide, checks the equalizer drum of an 800t crane.
         that three strands created a triangle
         shape, which  was not the best shape   invention, says Verreet. “In 2009 a sym-  ing for me. I started school at the age
         for wear. So he created the four strand   posium  was  held  in  Clausthal  for  the   of  five,  one  year  earlier  than  usual.
         rope. “Of course,”  Verreet chuckled,   175th birthday of steel wire rope at the   The effect of that was that wherever I
         “that made it more like a square.”  Technical University of Clausthal. Peo-  went, I was always the youngest… You
           The rope that Verreet owns was dis-  ple remarked that steel wire rope was   get used to a situation like that, until
         covered in a flooded mine after WWII.   invented in Clausthal. The town has a   one day you look around and you find
         When the mines were operating, they   very respected University of Technolo-  that  something has changed: all your
         were  pumped out  regularly.  But as   gy, but nobody at the Clausthal Univer-  former colleagues have retired and now
         Verreet says, “after the war people had   sity would lecture about steel wire rope.   you are the oldest. That is shocking!
         more important things to deal with.”   So  it  was  decided  that  I  would  teach   Then you begin to realize that all these
         U.S. troops were ordered to pump the   about ropes and reeving systems there.   youngsters around you have little or no
         mines for possible treasures left behind   I have had the honor of giving these lec-  idea what their industry was like 40
         by Hitler. In one in Clausthal, a mining   tures every year since 2010.”  years ago. Many of them were not even
         engineer discovered two meters of what                                born at that time.”
         he thought was strand. But it was iron   Past his “discard state” but still   But  Verreet remembers.  And  he’s
         rope, and it fit the description of Wil-  unstoppable                 played  an important  role in  using
         helm Albert’s three-strand rope which   “I was  born  in  June  1950, and in   ever-more-sophisticated technologies
         had operated in this mine.         June 2015 I reached my discard state,   to improve wire rope fabrication meth-
           “My  wife  got  it  for  me  for  my  50th   as rope engineers  would call it,” Ver-  ods,  resulting  in  longer  rope  life  and
         birthday,”  Verreet  says, smiling, “She   reet said in his introduction for his   better safety.
         never told me how she got it. I’m the only   presentation at the 21st International   In the 21st century, when engineers
         person who has pieces of both the 3 and   Offshore Crane & Lifting Conference.*  design steel wire ropes with advanced
         the 4 strand rope designed by Albert.”  “But I did not retire. The crane and   computer programs,  many  forget  that
           Today Clausthal celebrates Albert’s   rope  businesses  are  far  too  interest-  the computer age was in its infancy as
                                                                               Verreet began his career in the 1970s.
                                                                                 “At that time steel wire ropes were de-
                                                                               signed using empirical factors for strand
                                                                               diameters, wire diameters, and rope and
                                                                               strand lay lengths. These factors were
                                                                               arrived at through trial and error, and
                                                                               the customers were the guinea pigs.”
                                                                               How can you make wire rope
                                                                               without wire?
                                                                                 Embracing the  latest advances in
                                                                               technology, Verreet uses his own 3D
                                                                               printer to design and test rope. Al-
                                                                               though the printing material is plastic
                                                                               filament, “I try to establish a relation-
                                                                               ship between the test I make on steel
                                                                               rope and plastic rope. Up to a point the
                                                                                                continued on page 14

                                                                                 *Ropes and Reeving Systems, The last 40 Years,
         For many years, Verreet worked with artist Rolf Bunse to find humorous ways to illustrate his   by Roland Verreet,
         technical papers. Bunse sketched this cartoon to show  an important aspect of inspection:   **A Short History of Wire Rope, by Roland Ver-
         looking at all the right places.                                      reet,
         12     Wire Rope News & Sling Technology   February 2018
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