Wire forms consist of various shapes and parts that have been fabricated through the manipulation of wire; wire forming techniques include anything that alters the shape of the wire, such as wire cutting, bending or heat treating.
Wire forming is used to create wire products of all shapes, sizes and dimensions, including both 2D and 3D.
Vital to numerous applications, wire forms serve an extensive range of industries such as:
Commercial and retail, medicine and healthcare, energy storage, maintenance, industrial washing, lighting, automotive, aerospace, construction, hardware and storage.
Wire Forms - All-Rite Spring Company
Wire Forms - Wallbank Manufacturing
Examples of common wire form products include: wire baskets, motor mounts, additional hardware used in power transmission applications, pins, clips, springs, wire hooks, wire screens. Additional wire products include grills, coils, rings, guide-wires, wire-stents, tubes, carts and filters.
While there are an extensive variety of wire forms, there are some forms that are much more often used than others. Some of these common wire forms include wire displays, wire hardware and wire guards.
Wire displays: can refer to many different wire forms, including: wire grids, wire racks, wire shelves and wire baskets.
Wire grids, also known as wire grid panels, are frameworks of crisscrossed horizontal and vertical wires. Wire grids are very similar to both metal gratings and wire mesh; however, they work on a much larger scale than wire mesh. Also, unlike metal grating, which is usually made from metal bars, they are formed from wire. Wire racks and wire shelves are very similar to one another; they both protrude from the wall in order to create a flat wire surface used for storage.
Wire baskets are external supporting wire cages that are useful for both display purposes as well as storage and protective devices.
The term “wire hardware” can refer to any number of wire forms that qualify as equipment, accessories or tools. Most often, though, this term refers to wire hooks and wire screens.
Wire hooks are simple constructions of bent wire that can be shaped as s-hooks, c-hooks, j-hooks and more.
More complex, wire screens consist of thin metal wires woven in a crisscrossed horizontal and vertical pattern that form open yet protective barriers to allow for limited material flow, for use as filters or protective barriers.
Also used for protection, wire guards are a class of their own and are used for two main purposes: in order to protect the operator of potentially dangerous equipment or in order to protect fragile equipment from hazardous conditions. Wire guards can include fan guards, finger guards, window or flooring guards, face guards, fixture guards and more.
An extensively used wire form in the automotive industry is the wire spring, which can be found in virtually any machine you come across. In vehicles, heavy springs, like the compression coil spring and volute spring, are widely used for suspension applications. More delicate springs, like torsion springs and tension springs, serve inexhaustible number of purposes. A more specialized spring called a conical spring-which has leg that can be fixed on the base by welding- has applications in the production of battery contacts.
In healthcare, stringent washing and sterilization procedures and standards are followed, and to comply with these standards, specialized equipment is employed. One piece of washing equipment is an ultrasonic washer, which comes with a metal basket. For proper functioning and longevity of washers, a basket is necessary as it holds the parts as well as keeping them away from transducers. Similarly, a large number of wire forms are used in healthcare, from simple gauged tray to hand-held pliers.
Household items, from door closers to music players, to mouse traps and hangers, are wire forms.
Wire forms can be found in a range of electrical fittings. The antennas that you viewed are wire forms. Similarly, spring mechanisms that facilitate opening and closing in many electrical appliances are wire forms.
Commercial and Retail
In commercial and retail industries, wire forms are used for product display. Point-of-purchase displays are the perfect example of this type of wire product. Similarly, wire racks and shelves are used for storing and displaying retail items and goods. Finally, retail workers use wire guards to protect some equipment sold in-store.
Construction and Hardware
Examples of wire form products used in construction and hardware include: clips, wire hooks, springs and pins, wire hooks, and wire screens.
The use of wire and wire forms spans centuries. Originally, people manually manipulated wire to create their wire products. The most common wire product of antiquity was jewelry, and while this tradition is carried on today by some artisans, it is only ever done on a small-scale.
In the second half of the 17th century, wire forming got a big boost with the introduction of the first wire mill in Great Britain. Once this mill was built, many quickly followed. From this time period, manufacturing processes continued to evolve, with more and more different ways to fabricate wire forms.
A more recent development in wire forming processes is the use of computer numeric control (CNC) machines. By working in conjunction with current wire forming machines, CNC machines are able to program these machines in order to perform operations more automatically. For example, once programmed automated wire forming machines are capable of continuously fabricating wire parts or complete wire forms, depending on the complexity of the wire form design. In addition to increasing productivity, CNC machines also ensure a higher level of precision than with other wire forming machines, which are operated manually and left open to a higher level of error and contamination.
Manufacturers can fabricate wire forms from a wide variety of materials, including steel, stainless steel, brass, copper, aluminum and countless alloys. The most common material used in wire forming, though, is steel.
Steel is an alloy, made up primarily of iron and carbon. It is fairly inexpensive and known for its high tensile strength. Sometimes, it’s known as carbon steel.
Stainless steel is a steel alloy. Strong, lightweight, corrosion resistant, rust resistant and antibacterial, it is available for in 15 different grades.
Brass is an attractive alloy; it shines gold-like. In addition, it is relatively resistant to tarnishing, a good thermal conductor and an excellent thermal conductor.
Copper is a naturally occurring element with a reddish tint. It works well in a variety of temperatures and resists rust when exposed to water. It’s also an excellent conductor of heat and electricity.
Aluminum has much to offer wire forms, including corrosion resistance, rust resistance, heat resistance, strength, and durability.
Manufacturers use a wide range of wire types, including: stainless steel wire, coil wire, weld wire, flat wire, spring wire and florist wire.
Typically, wire forming starts with straightening wire, which output in the form of a coil weighing anywhere from 5,000 pounds to as low as 5 pounds.
In the straightening stage, stress disfigurations that are accumulated in the wire are removed. There are basically two types of stresses, one is avoidable and the other is unavoidable. For high-quality wire forms, most avoidable stresses do not occur within processing. However, wire manufacturers can do very little to mitigate the effects of unavoidable stresses. The most common method is for wire straightening is machine rolling, where rolls are adjusted either by an operator or by machines. Sometimes, manufacturers alternatively employ a rotary arbor to straighten the wires.
The wire straightening stage is very important, as any aberrations left at this stage will lead to faulty products. Therefore, only high-quality mill products should be selected and identified. The helix and camber of the wire should be consistent and are considered critical.
Application of Force
To produce engineering wire forms, varying degrees of force (either manual or machine-made) is applied to wire, which changes the shape of the wire. The wire, based on its intended application, can be hexagonal, triangular, round, oval, square, flat and even elliptical and D-shaped.
To give shape to wire, the simplest method involves a hand-held lever and spindle. Other methods involve use of mechanized machines, such as hydraulic presses and benders with dies, as well as air benders.
For-high volume production, alternatives include four-slide machines and the modern computer numerical control (CNC) benders. CNC wire forming allows manufacturers to easily fabricate pre-programmed parts in three dimensions.
To ensure the finished product is free from burrs or sharp edges, manufacturers finish wire forming with an array of secondary operations, such as: cutting, stamping, forming, heading and coining.
When considering wire form design and fabrication method, manufacturers consider several factors:
- Volume required (large or small)
- Tolerance value required
- Mechanical and chemical characteristics
- Configuration of the design
- Intended application
To select a desired wire form, these factors should be considered for both the end-product and the application of the product.
Two other things that manufacturers think about during design are wire form ends and wire form interior geometries. Based on their intended use, machines make both wire form ends and interior geometries. The following are some of the most common ends and interior geometries that manufacturers choose.
Machine Cut End
This is a simple straight cut made by a machine die, such as a guillotine knife. The burrs in the cut are miniscule (0.13mm) and cannot be observed by the naked eye. Therefore, they are acceptable for most manufacturing applications.
When burrs created during machine cuts are unacceptable for safety purposes, the end is deburred by grinding the edges off. With this cut, the wire is contoured marginally-just enough to remove sharp edges-using a machine such as a lathe.
This geometrical shape is also called swaging. To achieve a wing-type shape on a wire, commonly a die is pressed on the wire and carves the wire by displacing the metal.
Pierced swaging is a two-step process. First, the wire is pressed to give it a swaging shape, and the first step is followed by a hole-carving step. A hole is pierced through the metal at the center.
Custom shaped Hole
The process is the same as pierced swaging; however, a custom hole is made at the end. First, the end is pressed by a die to carve and displace the material. In the second step, a custom die punctures the material to form a custom hole.
Chisel Point and Turned End
To get this shape, a die removes metal in a punch operation. The approach is considered coarse but is quite an effective method. Similarly, a turned end can be made. Diagonals, like in the chisel end, are removed as the punch is made in jagged manner.
The ball end cannot be achieved with the use of a die; therefore, a lathe is typically employed. The process makes the end smooth with no edges.
Similarly, like a ball end, a wire drove is produced with a lathe action. Groove in the wire is used for holding a retaining ring.
For making heads in a wire, this process involves a couple of gripping dies. The first die grips the wire tightly, so the wire can withstand the next fairly rigorous die action. As the first die holds the wire, the die smashes the gripped wire, which results either a flat or round head. The button heading, carriage heading, and collar heading are made using this method.
Manufacturers can make custom wire forms that reflect any and all of your requirements. They can, for example, add a powder coating to protect your wire form, or enhance it aesthetically. They can also create custom assemblies with different shapes, sizes and dimensions. They can also work with virtually any wire diameter. In order to create the perfect custom wire fabrications, manufacturers turn to a variety of secondary services, such as nickel plating, painting, anodizing and powder coating.
The most common method involves a hand-held lever and spindle, which is the oldest method of wire form fabrication. Using this method, a professional manually bends wire around a past and an anvil, which is a solid iron block with concave sides and a flat top.
Machine with Preset Pins
Some wire forming equipment comes with preset pins for various bending operations. Machines such as these reflect some of the earliest attempts at semi-automated forming techniques. Technically, however, machines with preset pins still require manual bending. So, while this machine is more robust than manual production, it still brings out a variety of inconsistencies.
Another common method for wire form development involves a press and dies with a hopper. In this method, a resource manually loads material onto the die by moving wire from a straightening machine. The rest of the work is done by the hydraulic press, under supervision of an operator. The straightening of the wire is a critical primary step, where stresses that accumulated during the wiring process are removed. In this step, it is ensured that the wire is consistent in its properties. With the development of technology, the hydraulic method also advanced as an alternative to manual feeding. Pick-and-place robots are installed to eliminate the need for manually moving wires from the straightening machine.
As an alternative to hydraulic presses, manufacturers utilize fourslide machines. These highly versatile machines, which also make stampings, work on a single work piece from four sides. This arrangement increases the production speed. These machines are highly effective in increasing production numbers. Close to 3,500 simple wire forms can be consistently made per hour. Modern fourslide machines come with multi purpose dies, so that production turnaround can be improved even further. The wire bending work is going to make versatile dies, so that production can match with other alternatives.
CNC Wire Bending Machines
The most advanced method of wire bending includes computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines, which have two-dimensional or three-dimensional bending abilities. The versatility of CNC wire forming is unparalleled, as in less than an hour these machines can change over from one project to another. These machines are especially useful in producing custom wire forms, as design, configuration and dimension can be pre-programmed easily, in comparison to other methods.
Variations and Similar Processes
In order to achieve the variety of wire forms available, there are numerous different wire forming processes; the most common of which include coil making, roll forming, metal stamping and welding.
Coil making, also referred to as spring making, or coil winding, is the process of winding wires around mandrels, or metal blanks, in order to create coils.
As a less part-specific process, roll forming is used to produce flat, round and shaped wire parts. A continuous process, roll forming uses calendars and die punches to shape the wire.
Another major wire forming process is metal stamping, in which wire is precisely shaped into various forms through the use of a stamping press. A couple different methods of metal stamping are used for wire forms, including fourslide stamping and deep drawn stamping. During fourslide stamping, also referred to as multislide stamping, manufacturers use a metal stamp press with four horizontal forming slides is used in order to allow for multiple forming in different directions. Deep drawing, on the other hand, enables a deeper depth to the wire form than is possible with other wire forming processes.
Welding can also refer to various spot or seam welding processes, such as electric resistance welding (ERW), metal inert gas (MIG) welding or tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding. ERW utilizes an electric current and the application of mechanical pressure to weld wire. As types of ERW, MIG and TIG also utilize inert gases to reduce any contamination; while TIG welding is the most accurate type, it is much more complex and requires a very skilled operator as well as longer production times, so MIG welding is often used instead. Weaving may also be used in order to create wire forms such as screens, grids or guards.
Wire forming allows you to create or support nearly anything under the sun. Wire forms offer incredible versatility in shape, size, material and tolerances.
Things to Consider
When you’re considering a wire form purchase, we recommend that you seek out a custom manufacturer. This is because custom wire form manufacturers can typically offer you the most in-depth and specialized options. However, it’s important that you look not only at a company’s capabilities, but also its customer service record. The most skilled manufacturing company is of no use to you if its staff does not treat you well. So, look into their customer service record and talk over your specifications with them.
In addition, if you have a particularly complicated request, ask for prototype work. This way, you and your manufacturer can make sure that you’re on the same page before you make a large investment.
To find the right manufacturer, check out the companies we have listed above. Every manufacturer with whom we work creates high quality work. Reach out to one or more to find out what they can do for you!
Wire Form Types
- is wire
wound into rings or spirals.
are flat or curved pieces of steel shaped into a coil; flat springs
have a nearly constant force.
are used primarily in orthopedic and prosthetic devices, and they provide
a positive closure.
wire hooks used to connect or hang components.
are springs that store the energy used to tighten the nut or bolt they
coiled material that deflect when load is applied. Removing the load
will cause the spring to return to its previous position.
- are used in various industries to store and display products.
are often used to display books, food, clothing and various other products.
Wire displays can be custom designed for manufacturer needs and desires.
- Wire fabrications include various forms of wire that can meet a wide range of needs.
- Wire forming refers to numerous processes that in some manner manipulate wire into various shapes, referred to as wire forms.
- Wire grids, also referred to as wire grid panels, are frameworks of crisscrossed horizontal and vertical wires.
- Wire guards are protective equipment used to shield various parts and machinery from damage.
- are curved pieces of metal used to hold things.
- Wire parts commonly referred to as wire forms, are formed from wire that has been manipulated in some fashion into a specific shape or design.
- Wire products comprise of a wide variety of shapes and items composed of wire.
available in various materials and options, and are used in many retail
situations, including those dealing with food and clothing.
- Wire screens are thin metal wires woven in a crisscrossed horizontal and vertical pattern to form open yet protective barriers.
are produced for both industrial and consumer use because they are versatile
and sturdy with a variety of load strengths and wire densities.
Wire Form Terms
Coils that freely deflect when under a load.
- The ends of the
coils touch because the pitch end is reduced on a compression spring.
Machines with a computer memory, often used in manufacturing and production
of wire forms.
- During the application
or removal of the burden, the motion of the spring arms or ends.
- The strain and
manipulation a material can endure without lasting set.
- A technique
of precision blanking in which the material is cut smoothly and accurately
without needing secondary operations.
- The slope between
the torsion spring arms at the unloaded position for the spring wire
- The measurement of the
thickness of a wire used in wire forms.
- In open or closed forms,
the spiral shape of the spring.
- The open ends of extension
- Lost mechanical
energy during a spring's cyclic loading and unloading.
Hysteresis is relative to the space among the loading and unloading deflection
- Applied force that causes
deflection with a spring.
or forming from multiple directions in pieces and segments.
- In the wire of active
coils, the measure of the distance from the center of one adjacent active
coil to another.
- The modification
in load for each unit deflection, typically expressed in pounds per inch
Rod Bending - a broad term that applies to forming machine tools that assemble bends on any workpiece. Rod bending tools range from small, handheld devices, to automated machines.
- Permanent deformation
that happens from the stressing of a spring past the material's
-The ratio of mean
coil diameter to wire diameter.
- Exposing a
spring to a treatment of low heat, which results in the reduction of residual
- Equation measurement
of torsion spring's twisting action, relative to the distance from
the axis of the spring body.
- The forming of wire
Wire Form Parts - a single, flexible, cylindrical rod or strand of metal created via the metalworking process known as drawing. Able to be made in a variety of materials and thicknesses, wire is highly useful and used to create countless parts and products.
More Wire Forms