Wire Form: The Unsung Hero of Mechanical Equipment
Wire form is simple pieces of equipment that fulfill a wide variety of functions. They are really nothing more than pieces of wire that have been shaped to perform a specific purpose.
Two of the most common examples of these forms are the hook and spring.
This equipment is crucial for many functions, in many industries.
Here, we’ll explore different types of wire forms, their materials, and why they are so important.
Which Industries Use Wire Form?
There are many industries that use wire form for essential equipment:
- Medical Technology
- Natural Gas and Petroleum
Most people do not even realize how extensively used wire forms are in their households:
- Battery contacts are made from nickel and are shaped into a small spiral spring that connects to one end of the battery and helps to complete the connection. Once the spring is created, it can then be welded to the base.
- Safety Pins are essential for seamstresses and tailors to hold pieces of fabric together to make clothing. However, they are also used in a variety of other non-sewing applications such as holding socks together in the laundry, craft projects, or emergency zipper pull.
- Mouse traps are made from two different types of forms: spring and curved bar. Once the mouse trips the mechanism, the bar snaps back and the mouse is caught and killed. Then the trap can be reset for the next one.
- Light fixtures have metal forms that safely and securely hold the fixtures in position.
- Electrical devices have many different types of wire including wire clips to hold pieces in place.
Wires can be flat or round, premade or custom made.
Choosing the right wire form for the right job will make the equipment last longer, saving time and energy.
Other important aspects of these forms are thickness, tensile strength, and conditions of operation.
- Thicker wires are stronger but less malleable. Thicker forms must balance the strength needs with the space limitations.
- Tensile strength of wires means the amount of force it can withstand before snapping or warping out of shape. Thicker wires have this hardness and strength thus making them able to withstand more force. Unfortunately, that also means that they are less malleable and may snap easier. Again, space and function need to be considered.
- Conditions of operation refers to the type of environment that the wire will be subjected, such as extremes in heat or cold. This will affect what size and shape of the design.
Types of Forms
There are different types of wire forms that is used for different needs and equipment.
3 popular types of wire form include: flat and round wires, customized wires, and springs.
1. Flat and round wires
These are used throughout the industry. Deciding which to use depends on application and space.
Flat wires are useful in certain situations because there is more surface area, and it can absorb more energy. It is also a perfect design for smaller spaces since the flat wire takes up less space than a similar round wire.
Due to its superior durability, the flat wire is particularly useful in spaces that may have to be opened and closed quickly and repeatedly. There may be cost differences between the two models.
2. Customized wires
These wires are necessary when a standardized form just will not work in the situation.
It is better to have the piece designed and fit for the specific purpose than to risk using a part that does not fit precisely or accurately. The better the fit, the more reliable its function will be.
Working with a specialist to design the wire form will save you time and energy.
Springs are a particularly useful and varied type of wire.
While they all look similarly, they are set apart by their torsion, compression, and tension qualities.
Torsion refers to how much twisting or torque the spring can take. A good example is a spring that helps to open and close garage doors.
Compression springs help to absorb the pressure from being compressed and store that energy. An example of a compression spring is one used in a car suspension.
Wire Form Materials
As in an application, the correct materials must be chosen when deciding to create these forms.
When choosing which material to use, you will want to take into consideration the conditions in which it will be used.
- Stainless steel is known to be non-corrosive and can be used when the piece will be exposed to the weather.
- Alloy steels, including titanium and aluminum, are very sturdy and also resistant to corrosion. These are often used in military equipment.
- Copper alloys, such as bronze, are excellent in marine use due to its high resistance to corrosion.
Choosing a Wire Form Manufacturer
As with any custom fabrication, you will want to thoroughly check out the reputation of the manufacturer.
You might begin with asking others in the industry who they may have used to create their forms.
If you have no recommendations, the next step would be to find several manufacturers on the internet and contact them.
A quick check on the internet may tell you all the necessary information that you will need:
- Materials they can use to fabricate different forms
- The types of wire that they can make
- The available wire widths and finishes
- What equipment they use to create the forms
- Fabrication processes they can utilize
- Services that they provide
- Any additional services that might be added
- How large of a production run they can do
- What their lead in time would be
- If they have experts on staff to help you design the right product
Wire Forms in Use
Mechanical equipment is only as good as the parts that are used in it. Regular maintenance is essential to keep all parts in working order to ensure uninterrupted performance.
One essential but often underestimated piece of equipment is the unassuming wire form. Deceptively simple in appearance, these forms are actually important parts of many pieces of equipment.
They are shaped to fit particular applications and must be chosen and created with care.
In fact, wire failure can be responsible for hours of equipment downtime and an equal number of man-hours to fix the problem. Utilizing the proper wire form, made from the correct material, and replaced at the first sign of wear will save many hours of grief.
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