Selecting and Using Swage Sleeves

Swaging sleeves for steel cable assemblies is one of the most commonly performed rigging functions for lighter duty applications. Watch our video for everything you need to know to swage sleeves safely and correctly for your next application.

For a text and picture version of this information, keep reading.
We’re often asked whether it is better to make an eye with hour glass sleeves or with wire rope clips.
Wire Rope Clips vs Swage Sleeves

Swaged hour glass sleeves are stronger, more cost effective, and do not require future maintenance or re-torquing of nuts. They are also more streamlined than wire rope clips.

Where rigging products are concerned, swaging refers to the process of using a tool or machine to apply force to a sleeve or ferrule. Through this process, the sleeve becomes compressed onto and around a portion of cable.

Swaging a Sleeve

Cable Construction

When forming swaged cable assemblies, there are primarily two types of wire rope that are used: 7x7 and 7x19 strand cable.
7x19 Cable Construction
The shape of the cable is not perfectly round and is made of several strands of wires.
Hot Dipped Galvanized 7x19 Cable7x19 Cable Construction7x19 Cable Wires
Shown here is ¼” 7x19 hot dip galvanized cable.
7x19 refers to the cable having six outer strands surrounding the center core strand that counts as the seventh. Each strand is composed of 19 smaller wires.

If you look closely, you can see the V-shaped area between the strands. This is referred to as a “valley.”

Cable Valley
Most commonly, aluminum hour glass sleeves are used with hot dip galvanized cable to form cable assemblies.
Aluminum Sleeves Swaged onto Hot Dipped Galvanized CableAluminum Sleeves Swaged onto Hot Dipped Galvanized Cable
The aluminum is soft. When compressed by the swaging tool, it will be forced into the valleys of the cable, locking the aluminum sleeve into place.

Creating a Swaged Cable Assembly

Make an eye by passing the cable through the sleeve and doubling it back.
Make an EyeTwo Cable Diameters
Before swaging, make sure the “cut end” of the cable sticks out at a length at least 2 cable diameters. This will allow for full contact with the cable when the sleeve expands during swaging.
Place the sleeve into the tool jaws.
Sleeve Correctly in Swage ToolSleeve Incorrectly in Swage Tool
Note the proper orientation of the swage tool cavity with the aluminum sleeve.
The sleeve should always be vertically aligned and never horizontal.
With the sleeve in the proper position, make your first swage by squeezing the swage tool handles together until the jaws are completely closed.
For each sleeve size, there is a prescribed number of swage crimps that must be made.
4 Swage Crimps
In the case of this ¼” sleeve, it requires 4 swage crimps.
Spacing between Swage Crimps
Be sure to leave a small space in between each of the crimps. Your finished assembly should look as shown.

Swages per Sleeve

Different sized sleeves will require a different number of swages.
Two Swages
2 swages are required for sizes 1/16ths" and 3/32nds" sleeves.
Three Swages
3 swages are required for sizes 1/8th" and 5/32nds" sleeves.
Four Swages
4 swages are required for 3/16ths" and ¼ inch sleeves.
Five Swages
5 swages are required for 5/16ths" and 3/8ths" sleeves.

Swaging Sequence

When making multiple swages, it is important to follow the correct sequence for each sized sleeve.
Swaging Sequence
The diagram here can be referenced for the swaging sequences of different sized sleeves.
To make sure the swage crimps are done properly, use an “after swage gauge” like the Tyler Tool Go-No-Go Gauge.
Swage Gauge
Using the corresponding gauge cavity, slide the gauge over the sleeve.
Swage GaugeSwage Gauge
If the gauge turns around the swage crimp area freely, you then know it was done properly.
If the gauge does not slip over the swage crimp area, use the tool to swage again to make sure the sleeve was compressed fully.

Termination Efficiency

Termination Efficiency
When swaged properly, the strength of this termination is 90% of the breaking strength of the cable.

Vinyl Coated Cable

For vinyl coated cable, it is never recommended to swage over the outside of the vinyl coating. Doing so will make a much weaker termination.

Vinyl Coated Cable
What IS recommended is to cut the vinyl back far enough to make sure the sleeve contacts the cable directly.

Lap Splice

Lap Splice
Using the same swaging method, a lap splice can be performed to join two pieces of cable.
Lap Splice
Be sure to leave a small area in between the sleeves.
Lap Splice
Extend the cable end beyond the outer edge of the sleeve by at least 2 cable diameters.
The same number of swage crimps are required per sleeve as are required when making an eye loop.
E-Rigging also carries zinc copper hourglass sleeves which are recommended for stainless steel cable.
Zinc Copper Sleeves

It is important to note that aluminum sleeves are NOT recommended for stainless steel cable because of the possibility of the aluminum corroding when in contact with stainless steel. Over time this may cause the contact between the sleeve and cable to weaken and make an unsafe assembly.

Lifting, Overhead Lifting, and Suspending

Properly installed Aluminum and Copper duplex sleeves have been used successfully to suspend overhead equipment in various industries such as stage rigging, agriculture, marine, and construction for many years. It is imperative to follow the manufacturer’s swaging procedures and verify the swage with a Go/No-Go gauge prior to use. For critical lifting applications, it is recommended that a qualified person design, break test, and validate the assembly for the intended use. The fabrication process and margin of safety must be considered for the intended application. Shock loads should especially be avoided with these types of fabricated assemblies, but copper sleeves are more resistant to cable slippage than Aluminum sleeves in shock loading situations.

At E-Rigging, we carry the Tyler Tool brand of hand swagers.
There are 5 sizes. All sizes have drop forged heads, are powder coated, and have durable rubber handles.
14 inch Hand Swager
The 14 inch tool swages 1/16th, 3/32nd and 1/8th inch sleeves.
24 inch Hand Swager
The 24 inch tool swages 1/16th, 3/32nd, 1/8th, 5/32nd and 3/16th sleeves.
30 inch Hand Swager
The 30 inch tool swages 5/32nd, ¼ inch and 5/16th sleeves.
36 inch Hand Swager
The 36 inch tool only swages the 3/8ths inch sleeve.
Bench Swager
The bench swager swages 1/16th, 3/32nd, 1/8th, 5/32nd and 3/16th sleeves, like the 24 inch tool.
We hope this may have answered some of your questions on Swaging Sleeves.
If you have any more questions, please Contact Us or look to our YouTube Channel for more videos on various rigging topics.
We look forward to helping you complete your next rigging project.

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