A wedge socket is a type of hardware used to connect objects to a wire rope. They may be used to fasten wire to the ground, or to connect a hook or similar lifting mechanism to the end of the wire. These hardware devices are often found in lifting and hoisting operations, and may also be attached to cranes or wrecking balls. The wedge socket allows for quick and easy connections, yet also allows crews to disconnect the wire as needed. These connectors must be used according to manufacturer's instructions to ensure loads are safely supported at all times.
Each wedge socket is made up of two components made from steel and other heavy-duty materials. Users feed the wire down through the larger of these two pieces, which is known as the socket. The end of the wire then wraps around a groove cut into the smaller of the two components, which is known as the wedge. Crews must then feed the wire back up through the socket, which pulls the wedge into the body of the socket without allowing it to pass all the way through. An attachment pin built into the socket body allows for quick connections to hooks and other fasteners.
Buyers should select wedge sockets based on the demands of each specific project. These devices are rated to accommodate a maximum load, which should not be exceeded. It's also important to match the wedge socket to the wire diameter it has been designed to support. The wire should always be fed through the larger side of the socket, so that the dead end of the wire extends up through the shorter edge of this device. Finally, it's critical that all wedge and sockets are kept together and used as a set, not mixed and matched with other wedge socket components.
One of the primary concerns associated with the wedge socket is how the loose, or dead, end of the wire should be secured. In applications that involve no vibration and only a temporary connection, the wire can be left unsecured. Some users loop the dead end of the wire back and clip it against itself. Most manufacturers and safety personnel emphasize that the dead end of the wire should never be clipped to the live wire. The only time this wire can be attached to the live wire is when a special sliding safety clip is used.
The wedge socket features a fairly basic, yet effective design that helps to maximize performance and safety. The more the load exerts force on the wire, the more tightly the wedge will be forced into the socket, which helps to increase the hold on the wire. These devices are also easy to install and remove. They serve as one of the most widely-used connectors for wire ropes that must be replaced or adjusted often.