Wire Forming

 Introduction to Wire Forming

Wire forming is a method for applying force to change the wire contour by bending, swaging, piercing, chamfering, shearing, or other techniques. The various methods for wire forming can produce any shape, form, or configuration. The process starts with a coiled wire that is straightened before being formed.

Wire forming is the process of shaping metal wire to make useful parts such as springs, fasteners, and retaining rings. Wire generally refers to flexible metal strands that can be coiled. While it often has a round cross‑section, the wire may also be flat or shaped to have square, rectangular, or trapezoidal cross-sections.

Wire Forming Materials

Carbon Steel Alloys

  • Carbon Steel Alloys: Widely used for springs and high-strength parts. Conductive, strong, and inexpensive. Higher carbon content increases hardness and strength (e.g., music wire) but reduces flexibility, making low-carbon steel suitable for low-stress springs. Prone to rust, unsuitable for moist environments.

Stainless Steel

  • Stainless Steel: Contains chromium and other metals, offering greater rust resistance than carbon steel. Common grades include:
    • Stainless Steel 304: High corrosion resistance, tensile strength of 621 MPa, suitable for mild corrosive environments and heavy loads. Durable and long-lasting, usable in temperatures between 1500°F (815.5°C) and 2500°F (1371°C). Non-magnetic.
    • Stainless Steel 316: Superior corrosion resistance, tensile strength of 579 MPa, handles heavy loads and caustic environments. Usable up to 1400°F (760°C).
    • Stainless Steel 434: Ferritic alloy, pitting-resistant, no nickel content (cost-effective). Usable below 1500°F (815.5°C), suitable for industrial applications like baskets.

Copper

  • Copper: Strong, flexible, excellent electrical and thermal conductor, ideal for electrical applications. Resistant to rust and corrosion, forms a green patina over time when exposed to the atmosphere.

Bronze

  • Bronze: Corrosion-resistant and an excellent conductor, often used for conductive springs.

Aluminum

  • Aluminum: Corrosion-resistant, lightweight, and flexible, but not as strong as steel. Often alloyed with metals like copper, zinc, magnesium, manganese, or silicon to enhance properties.

Nickel

  • Nickel: Highly corrosion-resistant, stable across a wide temperature range, non-magnetic, and poor electrical conductor. Suitable for non-magnetic components.

Bright Basic Wire (BBW)

  • Bright Basic Wire (BBW): Low-carbon steel with a bright polished finish, cold-drawn to increase tensile strength. Suitable for bending, straightening, welding, and various coatings (epoxy, plastic, galvanized, powder-coated). Common grades: 1008C and 1018C.

Galvanized Wire

  • Galvanized Wire: Carbon steel coated with zinc via electroplating or hot dipping. Rust-resistant and strong, available in various gauges. Zinc coating binds to steel during the hot dipping process.

Brass Wire

  • Brass Wire: Alloy of 67% copper and 33% zinc, combining copper’s conductivity and malleability with enhanced strength. Sometimes includes antimony, arsenic, iron, or tin for improved properties.

Steel Wire

  • Steel Wire: Alloy of iron with carbon to improve strength and resistance to fracturing. Known for its tensile strength and cost-effectiveness. The addition of carbon and other alloys improves hardness, strength, and durability.

Wire Forming Process

Before the wire is formed, it must be drawn through a die until it reaches the desired dimensions. A drawing die is a tool with a funnel-shaped opening that gradually narrows. As the wire is pulled through, pressure from the die’s sides reduces its diameter. To avoid breaking or stretching, the wire typically passes through multiple dies, gradually decreasing in diameter until the final specification is achieved.

Wire forming involves several key steps and processes:
  1. Straightening: Drawn wire is straightened by passing it through a series of rollers.
  2. Bending: Tools are used to bend and shape the wire. For example, a bent pin is created by pulling the wire over a tool that creates a bend of the desired angle before it is cut to the final length. Bending is the most common wire-forming process and can produce intricate three-dimensional shapes.
  3. Cutting and Chamfering: The wire is cut to length and may have its ends chamfered for a smooth finish.
Wire forming employs several additional processes to achieve the desired shape, features, and mechanical properties:
  • Upsetting: Deformation by compression in the axial direction to widen and shape the wire.
  • Extrusion: Shaping the wire by forcing it through an opening narrower than the wire’s diameter.
  • Swaging: Includes pressing a die along the axial direction to shape the wire or deforming the wire by applying a tool at right angles to the axial direction (side pressing).
  • Stamping: The wire is passed through a stamping press which uses forming tools called dies to bend and shape the part.
  • Twisting: Wires are twisted to combine multiple lengths, form specific shapes, or take advantage of spring-back forces.
  • Stretching: Lengthening and thinning the wire by applying opposing forces along the axial direction. Excessive stretching leads to necking, where elongation and thinning focus at a single point, weakening the wire.

Additionally, manufacturers may use other processes such as roll forming, welding, knurling, chamfering, and weaving to create complex parts.

Wire forming transforms straightened wire into various shapes through bending and other techniques. The process can apply forces in the axial direction, perpendicular to it, or at other angles as needed, using various methods to achieve specific geometries and mechanical properties.

wire spring clips factory

Processes Complementing Wire Forms

Wire forms often undergo additional processes to enhance their functionality and aesthetics. Key processes include electroplating, E-coating, bending, and welding.

Electroplating and E-coating

Electroplating: This involves immersing the wire form in an electrolyte solution and passing an electric current through it to deposit a layer of metal. Benefits include:

Enhanced appearance

Increased corrosion resistance

 

Electrophoretic Deposition (E-coating): In this method, the wire form is immersed in a paint bath, and an electric charge causes paint particles to adhere uniformly. Benefits include:

  • Excellent coverage
  • Superior corrosion protection
  • Even finishes on complex shapes

Both electroplating and E-coating are crucial for improving the aesthetics and durability of wire forms, with the choice depending on the desired finish, functionality, and cost.

Bending and Welding

Bending: Our workshops are equipped with advanced bending equipment, allowing us to create intricate and precise wire forms that meet exact specifications. The bending process can produce complex shapes and designs with high accuracy.

 

Welding: We offer precision welding services to join wire components seamlessly. Our skilled team ensures high-quality craftsmanship, producing sophisticated assemblies that meet the most intricate and complex product designs.

 

By leveraging processes such as electroplating, E-coating, bending, and welding, we enhance the functionality, durability, and aesthetic appeal of wire forms. Our commitment to quality craftsmanship and advanced technology ensures the production of high-quality components and assemblies tailored to your specifications.

Types of Wire Form Manufacturing

Wire forming involves various methods and equipment, typically classified as manual or automatic. Manual machines require human operation, while automatic machines utilize advanced CNC programming for fully automated production.

 

Manual Wire Forming

  • Uses hand levers and spindles to bend wire. Suitable for low-volume production and prototyping.

Coil Wire Forming

  • Involves winding wire around a metal blank, used for springs (torsional, extension, compression) and electrical coils.

Roll Wire Forming

  • Cost-efficient for producing flat, round, and shaped wire parts, including undercuts, knurls, chamfers, grooves, collars, and threads. Provides extra strength and prefinished edges.

Bending Wire Forming

  • Shapes wire into various configurations. The process involves no scrap or waste as bending occurs before cutting.

Fourslide Wire Forming

  • Uses a stamping machine with multiple slides controlled by cams, forming wire from four sides. Suitable for high-volume production, but setup is complex and costly for smaller runs.

Hydraulic Wire Forming

  • Utilizes a hydraulic motor and CNC programming to drive shaping rollers. Automatically discharges wire shapes post-formation.

Pneumatic Wire Forming

  • Feeds wire into a straightening machine, shapes it, and pneumatically cuts it to the required length.

CNC Wire Forming

  • Computer-controlled machines capable of producing two- and three-dimensional wire forms with high precision. Ideal for custom wire forms, low-volume production, and prototyping. Handles various wire types (music, hard drawn, basic or coated metals, 300 series stainless steel, brass, beryllium copper) and diameters (0.008 into 0.250 in or 0.0203 mm to 6.35 mm).

Most wire forms are created using a combination of these processes, with manufacturers continually developing tools and techniques to enhance efficiency and sophistication.

wire spring clips 320

Wire Forms UsedApplication

Wire forming is a versatile manufacturing process used across various industries to create components and parts. It can produce both standard shapes and custom designs, adapting to different conditions, materials, and engineering needs. Here are some key uses of wire-formed parts in different sectors:

Medical Industry

  • Materials: Primarily stainless steel due to its durability, smoothness, and ability to withstand high temperatures and multiple sterilizations.
  • Applications: Medical components that protect against nicks, cuts, and punctures to gloves and garments.

Industrial Operations

  • Components: Wire-formed baskets for organized and convenient part delivery to production lines.
  • Applications: Enhances efficiency and precision in assembly and manufacturing processes.

Automotive Industry

  • Components: Various wire springs, compression coils, and volute springs for suspension; torsion and tension springs for tailgates; conical springs for battery contacts.
  • Applications: Used in suspension systems, tailgate mechanisms, and battery compartments.

Athletic Equipment

  • Components: Wire-formed masks for protection in contact sports.
  • Standards: Must comply with the National Operating Committee Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE).

Telecommunications

  • Components: Steel wire guides and trays for cable management.
  • Applications: Open design allows easy access for installation, inspection, and upgrades; routing rings for handling various wires; trays, troughs, and support hardware for cable management.

Retail Industry

  • Components: Product display racks.
  • Applications: Lightweight yet sturdy racks for product display and storage; can be relocated easily to high-traffic areas.

Food Industry

  • Materials: High-grade stainless steel that is corrosion and rust-resistant.
  • Applications: Storage and processing racks that meet FDA sanitary standards; constant sanitization and washing.

Construction Industry

  • Components: Wire forms for holding wires, support hooks, springs, pins, wire guards, equipment frames, and screens.
  • Applications: Used as construction materials and decorative elements in buildings.

Wire forming is a popular manufacturing process used in various industries for its ability to produce different lengths, sizes, and diameters of wire components. It is suitable for both small-scale and mass-industrial applications, making it an essential process for sectors such as medical equipment, food production, automotive manufacturing, telecommunications, retail, and construction.

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