Select the Most Well-Suited Materials for your Applications with Lexco's Glossaries

Posted by David Karbin | Thu, Aug 24, 2017 @ 11:11 AM | 0 Comments

When shopping for products you’ve never worked with before, it’s important to familiarize yourself with relevant industry terms in order to ensure you select the best solutions for your specific project.

This is particularly important when choosing wire rope products; it’s critical to have a solid understanding of the industry’s vast terminology. To help you understand important terms and learn more about the various wire rope products available, Lexco Cable has put together six helpful wire rope glossaries, which we created specifically for our customers as well as engineers who wish to find the best possible materials for their project.

Below is a preview of all six glossaries, highlighting the kind of terminology you'll learn about in each glossary, each of which contains images of every product. Thus, if you're a visual person, this will be an especially useful resource for you. Take a look:

Wire Rope Products Glossary

wire-rope-glossary-1-thumbnail-1.pngWire rope products are used in a wide range of environments, applications, and industries. At Lexco, we help guide clients toward the solutions best suited to their unique needs.

There are many unique types of wire rope available, such as:

  • PVC/Vinyl Coated Cable — PVC/vinyl-coated wire rope products are jacketed in a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) coating. The terms "PVC" and "vinyl" are used to refer to the same material.
  • Stainless Steel and Galvanized Aircraft Cable (7x7, 7x19) — “Aircraft cable” refers to any cable that meets commercial (RR-W-410, ASTM A1023) or military (MIL-DTL-83420) specifications for use in aircraft applications. “7×7” and “7×19” are two examples of core constructions. While commercial-grade cable can be made either domestically or abroad, military-spec cable — the only acceptable cable type for critical aerospace applications — is always stranded and closed in the United States.
  • Compacted/Swaged Wire Rope — Compacted/swaged wire rope features flattened strands, allowing for higher breaking strength and abrasion resistance. These products are commonly used in the logging industry.

Wire Rope Fittings Glossary

wire-rope-fitting-glossary-2-thumbnail-1.pngWire rope fittings — end fittings for wire rope assemblies — are used either to close an assembly or to attach it to another product, such as a support riser. There are many types of wire rope fittings available, some of which include:

  • Button Stops — Button stops are small cylinders with inside diameters wide enough to accommodate a single wire rope. Typically crimped at the end of a cable (although they can also be crimped at an intermediate point), button stops are often used as a stopping mechanism on an assembly. While aluminum and copper button stops can be crimped with a hand tool, stainless and carbon steel stops require machine swaging.
  • Thimbles — Thimbles are teardrop-shaped stamped parts that are installed on the inside of a loop at the end of a wire rope assembly. They distribute the load carried by an assembly throughout the bearing point to prevent fraying and kinking.
  • Kwik-Grips — Kwik-Grips are wire rope fittings designed to attach to a suspended object, such as lighting, signs, or display monitors. Easy to install and adjust, these fittings are usually used with 1/16 to ⅛-inch cable diameters.

Wire Rope Hardware and Tools Glossary

hardware-glossary-3-thumbnail.jpgWire rope assemblies sometimes require specialty hardware that does not strictly qualify as a “fitting.” Occasionally, specialty tools are needed for the use and installation of such hardware, which may include:

  • Wire Rope Clips — Usually used for forming loops, a wire rope clip is comprised of a U-bolt, a saddle, and hex nuts. The nuts can be easily tightened with a wrench, making these clips ideal for field installations.
  • Turnbuckles — A turnbuckle attaches to a support structure via an eye, hook, or jaw end. Featuring an externally threaded end that can be mated with an internally threaded wire rope fitting, turnbuckles allow for wire rope or threaded rod assembly length adjustments. The turnbuckle body has a left-hand thread on one side and a right-hand thread on the other.
  • Quick Links — Similar in form to a carabiner, a quick link is a fast-connecting, load-bearing hardware piece most commonly used to connect one or more wire rope assemblies. Available in zinc-plated and stainless steel, quick links allow for fast, easy installation. Typically used in rectangular form, quick links are also available in wide-jaw, pear-shape, delta-shape, and square styles.

Architectural Cable Railings

3d-cover-architectural-glossary-1.pngLexco's deep selection of cable railing fittings allows you to find both the appearance and the function to satisfy your project needs.

  • Stainless Steel Cable Railing 1 x 19 Strand — Typical stainless steel cable railing is 1 × 19 construction. 1 × 19 stainless has minimal stretch, ideal for tensioning. It appears clean and shiny in comparison to other constructions and materials. The most popular diameters are 1/8”, 3/16” and 1/4”.
  • Threaded Terminals — A threaded terminal has external thread on one side and a blind hole for the cable on the other side. It is crimped or swaged onto the cable, then fastened to the end post with a hex nut and capped with an acorn nut. It can be installed at one end or both ends of an assembly.
  • Receiver — A receiver has internal thread and a head, which is used as a bearing point with end posts. Receivers are used in tandem with threaded terminals; the receiver design hides the threaded terminal’s external thread for a more architectural appearance compared to just using a threaded terminal with nuts.

Push-Pull Controls

3d-cover-Push-Pull-glossary.jpgSome conduit assemblies are designed for the inner-cable to be pulled. In this type of control the inner-cable is returned to resting position either manually or with spring assistance.

  • Boots/Bellows — The inner cable goes through the hole on the body of the wire stop and the inner screw gets fitted into place. Fitting is designed to be field installed on one side of a pull control.
  • Equalizer — A rubber, accordion-like fitting. It can provide additional protection of dust, dirt, or moisture from contacting inner cable assembly. It would be mounted between the conduit and cable end fitting. 
  • Clevis — An adapter plate that allows you to connect three push-pull controls together. Two legs from one side, one leg from the opposite side.

Bungee Cords

3d-cover-bungee-glossary-1.jpgLexco fabricates bungee cord assemblies and distributes bungee cord and related materials in bulk. Warning: We do not sell bungee cords for critical load applications such as bungee jumping.

  • Bungee Hooks — Bungee hooks are the most common bungee cord end fittings. The typical hook is metal with a black PVC cover, but Lexco can also supply hooks made from steel and stainless steel.
  • Single & Double Crimp — A solid steel wire is crimped onto the cord. Usually, the cord is folded back before crimping to create additional surface area for the termination. Single crimp means one revolution of wire is crimped around the cord, while double crimp means two revolutions of wire are crimped around the cord.
  • Tarp Straps — Normally used to tie down tarps on flatbed trucks, this option is heavier duty than a bungee cord. It’s a molded strap that has less elasticity. Lexco can provide the rubber in two materials: natural rubber and EPDM. These straps come in specific lengths that are pre-molded, and an ‘S’ hook is attached at both ends.

Learn More

As an industry-leading fabricator of wire rope assemblies and value-added wire rope products — including wire rope fittings, hardware, and tools — Lexco Cable can work with wire rope from 1/32 to 1 inch in diameter, bare plastic or PVC/vinyl jacketed. We can fulfill orders of any volume, from 1 piece to 1,000,000+ pieces, as well as orders of wire rope reels, coils, or cuts. Providing a wide range of custom wire rope assembly fabrication services, we’re proud to offer our clients reliable, long-lasting solutions.

To learn more about our wire rope products, fittings, and hardware, download our free, comprehensive Wire Rope Product Glossary, Wire Rope Fittings Glossary, Wire Rope Hardware & Tools Glossary, Architectural Cable Railings Glossary, Push-Pull Controls Glossary, and Bungee Cords Glossary.


3 Case Study Previews

Posted by David Karbin | Wed, May 24, 2017 @ 09:39 AM | 0 Comments

With spring here and summer fast approaching, the team at Lexco thought it would be a great time to review some of our past outdoor projects — providing cables for an outside shopping complex arbor, working on a living wall featuring vertically planted flowers and plants, and assisting in the creation of a landscaped retaining wall.

Bolingbrook Promenade Arbor

1. Bolingbrook Promenade Architectral Cable Railing.jpgBolingbrook Promenade, a popular outdoor shopping complex in the Chicago suburbs, contracted Nick’s Metal Fabricating of Brookfield, Ill., to design, build, and install a centerpiece arbor. They designed a metal arbor with a wire-trellised top, which initially called for 18 separate wire assemblies to serve as the primary trellising, as well as 36 diagonal assemblies to create a crosshatch pattern.

While we determined that the 36 diagonal assemblies were the best option for this application, we knew that the chosen primary trellising assemblies could be costly and inefficient in terms of installation ease and time. Instead, we recommended a single, long assembly — a less expensive option that was easier to manufacture and required much less installation hardware.

Living Wall Cable Rails

2. Mark's Architectural Cable Railing.jpgFor another project, we were contacted by Mark’s Creative Landscape, a Chicago-based company that designs and installs both residential and commercial landscaping. They had taken on a project for a small commercial client on the North Shore of Chicago and needed help in designing and manufacturing two large-scale living walls.

Living walls are specialty structures used to plant vertical gardens. Premade retail models are available, but none nearly large enough for this application — one wall had to be 12 feet wide, and the other had to be 39 feet wide; both needed to be 14 feet tall. Working closely with the Mark’s Creative Landscape team, we were able to design and manufacture the cable assemblies for the living walls efficiently and cost effectively.

Landscaped Retaining Wall

3. Graham Construction Landscape Retaining Wall.jpgGraham Construction contacted Lexco Cable in regard to a community development project they were working on for the city of Edmonton, in Canada. The development, the Station Pointe subdivision, required a landscaped retaining wall to serve as a separation barrier.

The wall already contained pre-drilled intermediate uprights and required more than 60,000 feet of cable, as well as specific hardware to accommodate the existing components. Meeting all required specifications and successfully working with the preexisting uprights, Lexco was able to deliver the cable in just four weeks.

Learn More

To learn more about these projects and our other past work, view our complete case studies, or contact us today to discuss how Lexco can help with your next project.


Lexco Cable Used in Construction of Suspension Bridge

Posted by David Karbin | Mon, Jun 27, 2016 @ 01:08 PM | 0 Comments

Long Travelled and Treasured

Since the French explorer Samuel de Champlain first set foot in Vermont in 1609, the region has held its reputation as a land of natural beauty and rugged landscapes.  These features have been pondered on by luminaries such as Thoreau and Frost, and enjoyed by visitors from across the globe.

Vermont also features some of the best hiking in the country; it is crisscrossed by over 700 miles of trails and thousands of miles of paths and dirt roads. One of the state's most famous is known as The Long Trail. This aptly named route runs 273 miles from the Canadian border in Quebec to the Massachusetts border in North Adams, where it connects with The Appalachian Trail.

Hikers familiar with The Long Trail can attest to its ruggedness and spectacular vistas as it snakes its way north. It is also the oldest established hiking trail in the United States and was built and is maintained by Vermont’s Green Mountain Club. Construction of the trail began in 1910 and was completed in 1930; its trails and shelters are now maintained by an army of over 1000 volunteers.

Crossing the Winooski River

For over 100 years, the Winooski River crossing in Bolton has been an impingement to full completion of the trail. Crossing the river required the use of a ferry to allow passage from Mansfield to Camel’s Hump or a 3.5 mile road walk.


The idea of a footbridge has been in the works for many years; however, raising the funds needed for the 224 foot span would need contributions from a wide range of sources. Funding for the bridge was finally obtained in mid-2013, and a design was created by the renowned structural bridge engineers at the firm of Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. of Ferrisburgh, VT.

Construction was then carried out by Kleinhans Construction & Welding of Lebanon, NH.

Proper Use of Cables in a Suspension Bridge

Since this is a suspension bridge, its strength and durability would rely mainly on cabling and cable assemblies. These included cable components for the trusses, the deck, and the cross braces that would support the pedestrian walkway and handrails.

One of the major concerns in a project such as this is the environment. The bridge location is just over 70 miles from the Canadian border, and Vermont winters have a well-earned reputation as being long and harsh, especially in the higher elevations.

What Kleinhans Construction needed in this project was a partner that had broad experience in the fabrication and installation of cable assemblies.  For these reasons, they selected Lexco Cable of Illinois to provide all of the required cable and cable assemblies.

Lexco has over 30 years of experience designing and fabricated high strength cable assemblies for some very demanding industries. Their design expertise can be the difference between a good bridge and a great bridge, and their understanding of assembly and installation of structural elements makes the overall build process much easier.

After being contracted, the Lexco team performed a comprehensive review of the architectural drawings. In their study, they identified a number of clearance issues that would have impeded design functions of various support cable assemblies. Without altering the original design, they were able to develop alternatives that would not affect any aspect of the project.


During Lexco’s design process, they created individual engineering drawings for each of the numerous cable assemblies. Each assembly was unique and varied in length and diameter; in addition, each unit required a special turnbuckle.

 Lexco’s manufacturing operation relies heavily on quality control; all components were checked for dimensional accuracy, and each assembly was load tested to ensure a long trouble free service life.

In a short time, Kleinhans Construction had all the parts and components that they required to quickly build a suspension bridge that would provide safe crossing of the Winooski River for thousands of hikers every year.

Lexco Cable specializes in providing services that go far beyond just fabricating parts; they work closely with customers to obtain a full understanding of specifications, design intent, and what is really expected of the finished product.


Lexco Cable Joins Technology Manufacturing Association

Posted by David Karbin | Wed, Mar 04, 2015 @ 11:24 AM | 0 Comments

Lexco Cable joined the Association of Manufacturing Technology on Nov. 12, enabling us to offer customers unprecedented access to resources for almost any project.

Norridge, Illinois — Feb. 17, 2015 — Lexco Cable, manufactures a custom mechanical custom cable assembly. We distribute wire rope, aircraft cable, coated cable, and related fittings and hardware. We are proud to announce our membership in the Technology & Manufacturing Association (TMA). Through this membership, Lexco Cable can offer customers unparalleled access to resources for almost any project, regardless of level of complexity.

Lexco TMA Membership

With 900+ members in North Eastern Illinois, TMA is a non-profit that brings together leading precision manufacturers and suppliers of precision items. The Association is committed to manufacturers of recognition as the value aggregates producers of goods and services and to create high-quality jobs for all citizens of Illinois. It also promotes a strong sense of mutual support among members and throughout the industry in general. With this, finally, the Association advocates on behalf of the interests of its members to generate growth and offer positive benefits to TMA members and communities in Illinois. Finally, the Association advocates on behalf of the interests of its members to generate growth and offer positive benefits to TMA members and communities. 

"Joining TMA was a natural fit for Lexco," said David Karbin, Product Manager at Lexco Cable. "One of the pillars of our quality policy is 'continuous improvement'." Sometimes, these ideas of improvement come internally, but participating in events of TMA, we open ourselves up to a vast wealth of practical ideas that will help us to speed up the improvements of our company." 

TMA offers a variety of services ranging from media relations to leadership training and education. It also provides access to employee training for new skills, seminars, networking opportunities, and guest speakers.

“Lexco Cable joined TMA and immediately did what most members should do—raise their hands and ask a question,” said Kent Gladish, Senior Marketing and Sales Director at TMA. “TMA connects members to others who have solved that problem. David Karbin’s questions are excellent, challenging, and needed by others. In one case, the TMA Marketing committee will be asked to assist with a comprehensive answer.”

Lexco Cable offers a variety of wire rope, aircraft cable, bungee, fittings and other related services. Visit Lexco's website to learn more about their capabilities.

About Lexco Cable:

Lexco has capacity domestically and abroad. We have a network of providers of coated cable, aircraft cable, wire size micro, bungee, accessories and services related to provide your specific custom assembly of cable or rope. We run vinyl coated cable and plastic coated cable. We have hydraulic presses and automatic wire cutters. We have test capabilities for your test and tensile test requirements related to provide your specific custom assembly of cable or rope.  

Lexco Cable is a family-owned and operated business. It began as a hardware store and Schwinn franchise on the west side of Chicago in the 1950s. We continued as a Schwinn bicycle shop on the city’s north side in the 60s. In the 70s, Lexco began using aircraft cable and making bicycle and retail security cables. During the 1980s and 1990s, industrial applications for cable and wire rope assemblies were developed, and capabilities supporting applications fleshed out. In the 2000s, bungee assemblies, push-pull controls, and their unique elements were developed.

We have been ISO 9001:2008 certified since 2009.

We enjoy the challenges of new applications and welcome your inquiries.


Download Important Documents from Lexco’s Technical Resource Library

Posted by David Karbin | Mon, Jan 19, 2015 @ 08:06 AM | 0 Comments

Get useful conversion charts, guides, and much more.

Lexco Cable presents our Technical Resource Library, a range of documents related to the wire rope and cable industry. These are offered as references to easily consult when purchasing wire rope, specifying a new project, or checking measurements.

Procurement Guides and Detailed Charts

Technical Resource Library

Our Resource Library is dedicated to helping you at various stages of any wire rope, or cable application. As a result, we have documents such as the Decimal/Metric Chart, side-by-side comparisons of measurements of wire rope and cable diameter in inches and millimeters.

Also available in our Resource Library is the Wire Rope Diameter and Construction Design Guidelines. This chart recommends the minimum bend required to maximize wire rope life and strength for cycling applications. The document includes various wire rope and cable profiles, helping you find the products compatible with your project requirements.

Customers can also find our Push/Pull Replacement Guides. Each of are quick references on replacement cables in a variety of vehicles and applications, including:

  • Tractors
  • Excavators
  • Cabover Engine Trucks
  • Tow Trucks
  • Generators
  • Work Boats

There are nine replacement guides included in our resource library to help you find the right cable for your specific application, including aircraft cable, vinyl coated cable or plastic coated cable just to name a few.

A Range of Comprehensive Wire Rope and Cable Considerations

Additional documents in the Lexco Cable Resource Library include:

Each of these documents is designed for proper procurement, installation, and care of your wire rope and cable products. Most importantly, these documents can be printed out and hung up in the office, letting you easily check them for quick reference.

Click here or the button below to visit our Technical Resource Library and download any of the above listed documents:

Access Our Resource Library

For all additional questions, including any questions on topics not covered in our library, contact us today. We hope these resources are exactly what you are looking for.


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.




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

blue conduit resized 600

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

Consult a Cable Expert



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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