New Cable Replacement Guides from Lexco

Posted by David Karbin | Wed, May 21, 2014 @ 12:33 PM | 0 Comments

At Lexco, we firmly believe that a little bit of knowledge can go a long way. That is why we are excited about the release of our latest set of guides to various industrial cable replacements. 

When you are on the worksite, the last thing you want to worry about is a faulty or low-quality cable. Not only can it put you behind schedule, it also can be a major safety issue. For decades, leaders in a wide variety of industries have relied on Lexco for their custom cable assemblies.


Through the years, we have received many questions about the correct replacement cable for very specific applications. It is for this reason that we are offering our latest set of cable replacement guides.

Guide to Excavator Cable Replacement

Excavators are a critical piece of equipment on any construction site. Our guide breaks down the different cables you many need to replace and the Lexco products that fit the bill perfectly.

Guide to Oil Pump Jack Cable Replacement

This guide identifies common cables used on oil pump jacks and the Lexco replacement products.

Guide to Log Skidder Cable Replacement

Like all of our guides, this one points out the most common cables used on a log skidder. It also charts the five different types of cables Lexco offers for replacement.

Guide to Tow Truck Cable Replacement

No one wants to worry about their tow truck due to a faulty cable. This guide identifies the most common cables and also offers a reference guide to replacement cables from Lexco.

Guide to Garden Tractor Cable Replacement

This guide provides a good overview of the most common cables and Lexco replacements for your garden tractor.

Guide to Work Boat Cable Replacement

Work boats have a number of different vital systems that must work at all times. This guide points out the cables used and the replacements offered by Lexco.

Guide to Generator Cable Replacement

A failed generator can mean slowed production or worse. This guide will point out the key cables and replacements from Lexco.

Guide to Cabover Engine Truck Cable Replacement

Lexco identifies the critical cables and their replacements for cabover engine trucks. Failures in these cables can cost you money and time.

To get or learn more about these critical guide, please visit our website or contact Lexco today.




Getting Wire Rope over a Barrel

Posted by David Karbin | Wed, Apr 23, 2014 @ 03:07 PM | 0 Comments

( customer spotlight)

Barrel Enterprises is a Canadian craft manufacturer of high-quality personal facilities made from very large wooden barrels. These unique offerings include saunas, hot tubs, wine cellars, dog houses, bath tubs, play houses, and even above-ground pools. Their products are made from Western Red Cedar staves fitted tightly together and bound by tightened wire rope. The cables maintain the structure of the units while under internal pressure, keeping them from expanding.When you think of wire-rope products, you’d probably never expect to hear about custom-made saunas and hot tubs made out of oversize barrels, as well as their new line of campground yurts. Well, it’s one of the many, many uses we find all the time for our line of cables. Here’s how these ones work. 


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According to the company, “it was the wooden hot tub that began the experience of social bathing in North America.” Barrel Enterprises’ hot tubs and other personal entertainment products are shipped to customers as kits requiring assembly, including the cabling. No special tools or skills are required for their assembly, and a detailed installation manual is included with every unit sold.

scenicviewsauna4The company’s unique saunas come equipped with polymethylmethacrylate bubble windows to enhance the user’s experience. As the company’s website explains, “Sauna is the Finnish word for ‘bath’. Finns who immigrated to North America brought with them a unique bathing custom, which has become popular here over the past decade.

Often confused with a steam bath, a true sauna bath is very different, even though both types of baths offer the same therapeutic benefits.” Solid wood is the only choice for true sauna construction. Although the steam room enclosure must be non-porous and steam tight, the opposite is true of a sauna room. A sauna must be constructed of porous materials (meaning some type of wood), and it depends on air circulation through intake and outlet vents.

The wood actually “breathes” absorbing and purging moisture. Many varieties of wood are acceptable for sauna construction, but care must be taken when selecting the type and grade due to leaching of pitch or slivers, according to Barrel Enterprises. You can learn more about Barrel Enterprises on their or you can call toll free with any questions 1 877 866 5151.

Whether manufacturing cable for specialized projects or working with more traditional applications, Lexco Cable sets a high standard for quality and on-time delivery. Lexco Cable is an ISO 9001:2008 certified factory and warehouse located in Norridge, Illinois (minutes from O’Hare Airport, Chicago). Learn more about Lexco Cable or contact us today if you have any questions. 

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Austin YMCA Project Puts Cable from Lexco to Good Use

Posted by David Karbin | Thu, Apr 10, 2014 @ 10:26 AM | 0 Comments

There’s an experiment in community enhancement going on in Texas that we’d like to promote a little here. A small design firm in Austin is leading a novel partnership between public and private entities to create a sustainable community garden on public land to be managed by a private charitable organization. The North Austin YMCA Community Garden could be a model for future environmentally friendly urban resource projects, not just in the Texas capital but around the country. And we’ve got a hand in it, too.

describe the imageIn early 2012, the Thoughtbarn design studio won a commission from the City of Austin Art in Public Places Program to design the first “artist-led community garden” in the state. The plot of land chosen was city property adjacent to the North Austin YMCA. According to the people at Thoughtbarn, the “project is an experiment on many levels – in defining a garden as public art, in making publicly-owned land available for community gardening, in growing food at a YMCA facility – and is an example of expanding citywide efforts to support local, sustainable food production at the institutional level.”

 Thoughtbarn currently described its Community Garden as follows: “The radial site plan is beginning to take shape, in the form of gravel paths and pie-shaped mulched areas. Over the next few weeks we’ll be installing a sculptural fence and toolshed, raised and handicapped accessible garden beds, fruit trees and wildflowers. The intention is for the garden to work for both individual gardeners and YMCA programming. The sculptural fence will form a secure boundary around the members’ garden plots while a ‘public spine’, open to everyone, will contain YMCA-managed demonstration beds and a shady gathering space beneath an existing Arizona Ash. Future phases will hopefully include a teaching pavilion, greenhouse and additional teaching and member plots.”

YMCA Garden 140221 web 02 Fence

The goals of this public art project, according to the organizers, include:

  • Integration of artist views and perspective into the design of a community garden.

  • Creation of a gathering space for the local community that will be maintained and used by local neighbors.  The hope is that it will engender stewardship and a community sense of pride.

  • Development of a sustainable and ongoing community garden that will produce fresh vegetables for the area.

  • Providing a place to reflect on concepts of “mind, spirit and body’ via the visual art that will placed in the garden.

The North Austin YMCA Community Garden will officially hold its Grand Opening and Documentary Film Screening (the project is being filmed for a documentary) on May 17, 2014.

Here’s the kicker: the sculptural fence mentioned above is being constructed using Lexco Coated Cable by local volunteers, including members of the Girl Scouts of America, one of our partners. We’re proud to be associated with such a fine project and wish its organizers continued success in bringing it to fruition.



Making Music with Wire Rope ( customer spotlight)

Posted by David Karbin | Fri, Mar 28, 2014 @ 12:28 PM | 0 Comments

predator drum resized 600Wire rope assemblies are a staple in construction, manufacturing, and other applications across a range of industries, and our company has been designing and fabricating cables and ropes since 1978. There is one function they serve that many people do not expect: mechanical cables help make music.

The Evolution of the Hi-Hat

The hi-hat produces one of the most recognizable sounds in modern music. It consists of two cymbals that are mounted on a stand on top of one another, with a pedal that is used to clash and hold the cymbals together.

A remotely controlled hi-hat employs a cable to allow for more flexibility in assembly. The hi-hat can be placed in a convenient position and is controlled by a foot pedal connected to the cymbals by the cable. This configuration allows the hi-hat to be played in different configurations, limited only by the length of the cable attached to it.

Innovative New Design

Partnering with a cutting edge percussion manufacturer, Trick Drums, Lexco Cable provided the cable for the Predator Remote Hi-Hat. Lexco’s high quality cable is part of a push direct drive system (instead of pull, like many other models) that closes the cymbals whenever the pedal is pressed.

Instead of a vertical cable design, the Predator’s cable comes from the pedal horizontally. This allows for rotation at different angles to avoid the kinks and bends that dampen the feel of the pedal. The unique design of the Predator lets drummers place hi-hats in convenient and comfortable positions without sacrificing feel or performance.

This hi-hat was designed with extensive cable adjustment capabilities. In addition to being aligned for the most direct route to the cymbals, it has a wide range tension adjustment feature that allows drummers to accommodate hi-hats of many different weights. This tension adjustment covers 18 steps, letting the drummer precisely tailor the feel. The Predator is machined to very tight tolerances, and comes with 3’ or 7’ cable lengths for maximum flexibility in setting up the drum kit.

The design of the Predator also features a footboard that doesn’t use legs or feet. This leaves valuable space when setting up a kit, and means that the pedal doesn’t get in the way of any other pedals in the drum configuration. The baseplate is large and features industrial strength hook and loop material at four points behind the plate for added stability.

Finally, the Predator looks every bit as good as it sounds. The cable travels through a low-friction conduit for maximum protection and aesthetic appeal. When combined with the brushed metal look of the whole apparatus, the ensemble has a sleek, modern look that matches its innovative design.

A History of Innovation and Quality

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Whether manufacturing cable for specialized projects or working with more traditional applications, Lexco Cable sets a high standard for quality and on-time delivery. Lexco Cable is an ISO 9001:2008 certified factory and warehouse located in Norridge, Illinois (minutes from O’Hare Airport, Chicago). To learn more about how we helped to create the best remote percussion instruments or how we can help with your project, contact us today.


Wire Rope Assembly Testing Ensures Quality

Posted by David Karbin | Thu, Feb 06, 2014 @ 10:00 AM | 0 Comments

DSC 0559 (1)To ensure the quality and strength of your cable assembly or prototype, Lexco Cable offers pull-testing and proof-loading services. These tests supplement engineering calculations and material certifications to establish the strength of our products. The most commonly tested cables are fall protection cables, military cable assemblies, and any critical load bearing cables.

Fall protection cables are used to arrest a person’s fall. In compliance with the Department of Labor and OSHA, all professionals who work at a height must be protected from fall injury. Such professionals include construction workers and airline crew. For the health and safety of these workers, it’s essential that the quality of any fall protection cable be verified before use.

DSC 0613 (1)Cable assemblies in the military are among the most extensive, so it comes as no surprise that they require pull-testing and proof-loading. The military requires cable assemblies for a variety of applications, including missile launch systems and airfield lighting systems. As with any product made for the military, these cables must be tested and proven before they are distributed.

Proof-loading and pull-testing can be performed to meet the requirements of MIL-DTL-5688. That means that the breaking strength of terminals or wire strands must be 60-percent of the terminal Minimum Breaking Strength (MBS), 60 percent of the wire rope MBS, or 60 percent of the wire rope assembly MBS, based on a gradual linear pull.

In general, all load bearing cables, be it a hoist or tow cable, should be tested before the design is implemented in the field.  Lexco Cable is happy to perform pull-testing and proof-loading in-house for loads up to 50,000 pounds.  Our calibration procedures adhere to ISO/IEC Guide 25, ISO 9002, ISO 10012-1, and ANSI/NCSL Z540-1. In addition, all of our calibration equipment is directly traceable to the National Institute of Standards and Technology. 

Fall Protection

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How Steel Cable Supports the Super Bowl SkyCam

Posted by David Karbin | Wed, Jan 15, 2014 @ 08:07 AM | 0 Comments

When you’re watching a football game, you’re not supposed to notice the cameras. But with the Super Bowl approaching, and the world's attention on the biggest game in American sports, let's look at how the game is captured. It's all run by an ingenious system rigged with the same super-reliable steel cable that we provide everyday to our customers.

Skycam1The Skycam system traces its origins to a filmmaker named Garrett Brown, who was also one of the inventors of the handheld Steadicam. Back in the Eighties, he came up with the notion of mounting a Steadicam-type camera to a remote-controlled, aerial rigging arrangement that would enable cinematographers to capture even more startling moving shots for the movies (for which he would eventually be honored with an Oscar Award).

By 1984, Brown’s system was adapted for TV coverage of NFL football games, where it soon became a standard part of the broadcast. Today, nearly all big sporting events, and even political conventions, employ some type of Skycam (or the competing Cablecam) system to provide live coverage of the action close up.

Officially, the owners of the Skycam system (Skycam LLC of Fort Worth, Tex.) describe it as a “remote controlled, computer assisted, cable suspended mobile platform for the conveyance of equipment such as a camera.” Unofficially, though, the term “skycam” has become something of a generic description of any cable-controlled camera system (as the original patents have expired). For example, Fox Sports (which will be airing the Super Bowl) uses a system called the DLP Ultimate Picture Cam.

The intricate Skycam system at football games consists of:

  • A mobile spar made up of a gyroscopically balanced control unit with gimbals and stabilization sensors, a power distribution module, electronics for radio and fiber-optic signaling, and a high-definition video camera with pan and tilt functionality mounted in a yoke. 

  • Hardware and software controls linked by a fiber-optic cable link from the camera to a customized computer workstation where operators pilot the spar and manipulate the camera to focus on particular images using joysticks.

  • And an arrangement of four steel cable reels anchored at high fixed points at corners of the stadium, affixed to the gimbals, equipped with a 3.4-kW electric servo motor and disc brakes using winches and pulleys to ride along a path above the field.

Using joysticks, the pilot operator has the ability to move the spar at speeds of up to 25 mph to follow the action while the camera operator can simultaneously tilt, pan, and focus the gyro-stabilized camera to zoom in on every angle. Here’s a video clip of how the system works.

So, while you’re enjoying the big game on Sunday, take a quick timeout to consider the humble role that those steel cables supporting the Skycam are playing. And think of us whenever you have a question about steel cable for your next project when you get back to work on Monday. 

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Cable + Hops = Beer

Posted by David Karbin | Tue, Dec 10, 2013 @ 09:00 AM | 10 Comments

The art of micro beer brewing as well as home beer brewing have become a popular pastime in the U.S. over the past decade.  Many small breweries have opened across the country creating artesian and specialized beers.

Part of this new trend has been the increase in small and large scale farming operations that produce the secret ingredient for beer – Hops.

Fotosearch k15395594Hops are a flavoring agent in the brewing of beer.  The first recorded use of hops for flavoring in beer comes from the 11th century.  Hops are female flowers (sometimes called seed cones or strobilus) of a Hop plant.  The flower provides a bitter, tangy flavor to the beverage.

According to Beer Advocate, “Hops are the age old seasoning of the beer, the liquid gargoyles who ward-off spoilage from wild bacteria and bringers of balance to sweet malts. They also lend a hand in head retention, help to clear beer (acting as a natural filter) and please the palate by imparting their unique characters and flavours {sic}. Basically, hops put the ‘bitter’ in beer.”

Just like the brewing of beer, the growing of hops is a fine art itself.  Very much like the art of growing grapes in France or Northern California, there are particular ways to grow and maintain a crop of hops.  Fortunately, hops can grow in a variety of agricultural zones. 

The Hop plant likes to climb, similar to grape vines, so planting next to a wall, post or trellis is important.  Commercial and home hops growers utilize an extensive network of vineyards that provide height and stability to the plant as it grows and becomes heavy with leaves and the pinecone flower.

According to the University of Kentucky Agricultural Department, “The overhead trellis system is most often used for commercial production, particularly in hopyards over one-half acre. This elaborate, 16- to 18-foot-high system consists of a number of wooden poles buried 3 feet into the ground approximately every 5 plants.  The poles are connected by overhead wire cables that run both down and across the rows, although some growers just run the wires down the rows. Edge poles, which are generally thicker than interior poles, are installed at a 60- to 65-degree angle outward. Guy wires attached to edge poles are securely fastened to deep-set anchors in the ground. Approximately 55 poles are required per acre.”

Then a series of strings or twine are tied to the cable and then attached at the ground level.  The plant grows up the twine as it matures and bushes out.  Having a strong cable system is one of the main ways that the heavy hops-laden plant keeps from collapsing into a messy heap.  Vines growing vertically produce more flowers than those growing horizontally.  If grown horizontally, it is difficult to maintain the plant, rid it of bugs and/or diseases, and also to harvest the flowers if the plants are not grown in an organized vertical fashion.

Lexco Cable has been a long time supplier of cable for many hop farmers.  The most common wire that we sell to them is 1/8”, 3/16”, 1/4”, and 5/16” galvanized cable in bulk.  Lexco can supply both the horizontally installed cable and hardware for vine support and also the diagonally installed guy cable and hardware for end post support.  For cable to post connections, Lexco supplies either machine thread eyebolts or lag (wood screw) thread eyebolts.  For field installation we can supply a cable cutting tool.  And for tensioning we can supply turnbuckles.

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Halloween Thrills Thanks to Lexco and Gore Galore

Posted by David Karbin | Mon, Oct 28, 2013 @ 11:20 AM | 0 Comments

You might get a few jaw dropping thrills this Halloween, thanks to Lexco Cable and Gore Galore. Behind the scenes of the larger-than-life costumes in haunted houses all over the world, are the cables that make them come to life with realistic movable jaws. The cables and accessories that make these creations “talk” are the same ones that we use for bicycle brakes, such as hand levers, inner cables, and cable housing.

ggCostumes with movable jaws rely on the same cable mechanisms that allow puppeteers to animate loose-jointed dolls with lifelike gestures.  The jaws are attached to light and flexible bicycle cables that run through the costume and are connected, on the opposite end, to a hand lever. Depending on circumstances, the cables will either operate on a pull-pull system or push-pull system.

In a pull-pull system, the actor or puppeteer will use one hand lever to pull the jaw open, and another to pull it closed.  A push-pull cable system, on the other hand, utilizes one stiff wire that is capable of both opening and closing the jaw. This conveniently reduces the number of levers and wires that the actor must manage. 

The weight, size and complexity of these petrifying costumes are all significant considerations. Larger costumes, which can range anywhere from 7 to 10 feet tall, naturally require longer and stronger cables. Most of these costumes also incorporate cables and levers that allow the actor to move the head and arms. Ideally, these components can be streamlined into just a few controls so that the actor is not unnecessarily burdened by multiple levers.

The scariest costumes are the most realistic, with lifelike arm, head and jaw movements that make you truly believe in zombies and goblins. With the help of Lexco’s cables and accessories, your next visit to the haunted house could indeed be the most terrifying. 



Lexco Cable, the Hip-X, and the 49ers

Posted by David Karbin | Sun, Sep 29, 2013 @ 08:22 AM | 0 Comments

At Lexco Cable, we have had the chance to work with some interesting clients over the years. One interesting sector that has an ongoing need for cable assemblies is the fitness industry. Typically we make re-placement cables for fitness equipment but sometimes we have the chance to assist an equipment manufacturer in the production of new equipment.    


Recently an exercise equipment manufacturer, Perform-X Training Systems, sought us out to help design a cable assembly for their innovative performance training system. Perform-X has manufactures fitness equipment that can be found in weight rooms, fitness facilities, therapy clinics, hospitals, and professional athlete fitness camps.

One of Perform-X’s latest projects is the design and fabrication of specialized equipment for athletes. The result is the Hip-X machine which is a state-of-the-art fitness device that works well for performance and high intensity circuit training programs. The Hip-X is the only piece of equipment to have maximum weight up to 590 lbs and integrates explosive cord loaded training.

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The company’s designers wanted to design a machine that would build strength in the hip girdle area for improvement on speed, agility, stability, and performance.

Perform-X’s goal of having a working load limit of 590 lbs, required cable that was strong enough to not only lift that amount of weight, but also to be sturdy enough to endure repetitive movements while being used by an athlete. When it came time to build the Hip-X, Perform-X came to Lexco to create the tension cables that could handle the quantity of weight needed for this high performance training equipment. The tension cables had to be custom designed and fabricated to meet the exact needs of Perform-X’s unique equipment design. 

49ers HipX (2)Lexco’s custom fabricated cables met the weight demand for the Hip-X and of course the professional athletes who push the machine to the limits. One of the many places that the Hip-X is seeing action is in the training room of the current Super Bowl champs – the San Francisco 49ers.

To learn more about the amazing products from our friends at Perform-X, please visit their website. For more information about Lexco Cable, you can continue reading our user-friendly website or contact one of our custom cable assembly experts today.

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Lexco Teams Up with Kayacht

Posted by David Karbin | Mon, Aug 19, 2013 @ 08:09 AM | 0 Comments

Offering a unique boating experience, Kayacht is the leading manufacturer of electric watercraft. These boats are 100% electric powered, easy to maintain, and very easy to operate. 

Kayacht’s Touring 130 electric kayak is specially engineered to be the best in the industry. And, because Kayacht demands the best, they have come to Lexco for an integral component of this craft. Working closely with Kayacht, Lexco is manufacturing a custom motion control assembly. This assembly enhances the smooth and efficient operation of the Touring 130 making it perfect for a relaxing day on the water.

kayachtManufactured to Lexco’s highest quality standards, this assembly features extremely durable materials that will withstand the fresh water and salt water marine environment.

Kayacht demands the highest quality components in all of its watercrafts and relies on valued partners like Lexco. We are proud to be a part of this wholly American made venture.  

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