When loaded, every wire rope will develop torque; that is it has the tendency:

• to unlay itself unless both rope ends are secured against rotation
• to cause a lower sheave block to rotate and to spin the line parts
together (see picture A)

Rotation resistant ropes can be divided into 3 categories:

Category I
Non-Rotating, 3 layer
(14 or more outer strands)
e.g. Python® COMPAC® 35

Category II
Rotation Resistant, 2 layer
(11 to 13 outer strands)
e.g. Python® COMPAC® 18

Category III
Spin-Resistant, 2 layer
(8 to 10 outer strands)
e.g. Python® MULTI

The characteristic of these wire ropes are that the outer layer is twisted in the opposite direction of their inner layers. The sometimes confusing issue is that many 8-, 9- and 10 strand constructions are 2-layer types but their inner strands are NOT twisted in the opposite direction and therefore these rope are NOT spin-resistant; plus, for the untrained eye these ropes look very much alike their spin-resistant variants. These and regular 6-strand ropes will spin violently and unlay themselves when loaded when one rope end is allowed to spin freely. They may also develop a significant drop in breaking strength and an even larger drop in their fatigue life characteristic (Torsion Fatigue).

To achieve any degree of resisting the tendency of a rope to spin and unlay under load all such rope types (other than 4-strand ones) are constructed with 2 or more layers of opposite twisted strands (see picture on right).

2-layer ropes (MULTI, COMPAC 18) have a larger tendency to rotate than 3-layer ones (e.g. Class 34 x 7, COMPAC® 35). Furthermore, 2-layer spin-resistant and rotation resistant ropes will develop only about 55% to 75% of their breaking strength when one end is allowed to rotate freely. This number increases to between 95% to 100% for 3-layer (e.g. COMPAC® 35) non-rotating ropes.

Another important issue is that 2-layer rotation resistant and 2-layer spin-resistant rope types have shown to break up from the inside. The 8 (e.g. 8×25 spin-resistant) or 12 outer strands (19×7, 19×19, COMPAC®18) are not able to evenly distribute the radial forces and because of the inherent internal strand cross overs (which make the rope spin- or rotation resistant) the resultant severe notching stresses cause the rope core to break up premature (unless the core is plastic coated, e.g. Python® Multi). Unexpected and sudden rope failures may be the result. Moreover, 2-layer spin-resistant or rotation resistant ropes satisfy only low to moderate rotational resistance demands.

3-layer rope constructions (e.g. COMPAC® 35) have many more outer strands which can much better distribute the radial pressures onto the reverse lay inner strands. These ropes should be selected for larger mobile- and ALL tower cranes.