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Are you planning to or currently running a wire or cable through your pulley? In addition to selecting an appropriate size and working load, it’s important to look at the material of the pulley wheel, commonly known as the sheave. Not all sheave materials are suitable for use with wire or cable – choosing the wrong material will shorten the life of your pulley.

Acetal is one of the most common materials used in sheaves due to its high strength, UV resistance, and self-lubricating properties. Acetal sheaves are a great choice when running rope through pulleys, however a metal wire or cable will damage the material rather quickly. Therefore, it is not recommended to choose a pulley with an acetal sheave for wire or cable applications.

Nylatron® is a material known for its supreme wear-resistance, vastly outperforming other forms of premium nylon plastics. The strength, rigidity, and self-lubricating nature of the material makes it a great choice for applications where a metal wire or cable will be running through your pulley. Many Ronstan pulleys are available with either an acetal or Nylatron® sheave, with the Nylatron® version identified by an HL suffix. For example, RF40100 (acetal sheave) and RF40100HL (Nylatron® sheave).

Similar to Nylatron®, aluminium alloy sheaves are exceptionally hard wearing and will hold up well to use with a wire or cable. More expensive than Nylatron® or acetal, aluminium alloy sheaves are commonly found in high-end pulleys designed for the most demanding high-load applications. Ronstan’s Orbit Blocks™ are a great example of this: a no-compromise product range for customers who need the ultimate performance across a wide load range. Other products are available with either an acetal or aluminium alloy sheave, identified by an AW suffix. For example, RF64100 (acetal sheave) and RF64100AW (aluminium alloy sheave).

Not to be forgotten is Ronstan’s purpose designed Wire Block range, featuring Nylatron® sheaves, grade 316 stainless steel cheeks and housings, and accommodating working loads from 440-1870 pounds. This no-frills product range offers incredible value for the price and its narrow sheaves and grooves are designed specifically for use with wires and cables. Certain models in this range feature removeable sheaves, making it easy to redirect or load a wire or even to replace the sheave without replacing the entire pulley.

For assistance specifying the best product for your application or for general product inquiries, please contact us and our team of product experts will be happy to help you navigate our expansive range of products.