Drying Small Diameter Wires

An overseas company contacted me about an issue with drying copper wires.  Their production process utilized fourteen wire drawing machines in their facility.  They could make very fine wire in the range of diameters from 0.2mm to 2.6mm.  Some of their drawing machines were able to make a maximum of sixteen wires at the same time.

Each wire is made by a process of drawing and annealing.  The machine will draw a thicker copper wire through dies that will get progressively smaller in diameter.  Before the material goes through the dies, the copper is annealed to make it ductile and workable.  Annealing is a process of heating to make the material softer.

In this application, once the wire was to the correct diameter, it would go through a coolant bath to cool and harden.  To remove the coolant from the wires, it would travel over a set of drying cloths.  From there, the wire would travel out of the drawing machine and into a spooler.

The spooler places the wire onto a spool for packaging and shipping.  The reason that they contacted EXAIR was because the wires were not properly dried before it went to the spooler.  If any coolant was left on the surface, it would corrode the wires in that area.  They needed a better way to dry the wires because they started to receive complaints from their customers.

Site for Super Air Knife on exit of Wire Drawing Machine

When the company first contacted me, they had an interest in the Super Air Wipes.  The Air Wipes are designed to blow air in a 360 deg. pattern around the wire to dry the entire surface.  But, after getting more details about their process, the sixteen wires were coming out of the drawing machine at 1.75cm apart.

With the gap between the wires being so small, the Super Air Wipes would not be able to fit around each wire.  As another engineered solution, I recommended the Super Air Knives Kit, model 110212.  The Super Air Knives are 12” long (30.5cm) to span across all sixteen wires.  The kit includes a filter, regulator, and shim kit to accommodate different forces for different wire speeds.

The Super Air Knife can blow a laminar flow of air consistently across the entire width.  Air, as a fluid, likes to “hug” the surface.  Since the air stream isn’t turbulent, the contact time along the surface of the wire will be much longer; making it very effective at removing liquid.

I had the customer mount one Super Air Knife above and one Super Air Knife underneath, spanning across the entire row of wires.  They were positioned at a 45 deg. angle to blow in the opposite direction the wires were traveling.

Being compact, the Air Knives could be placed at a close distance near the drawing machine to blow the excess coolant back into the machine.  This would keep the floor clean and safe from coolant collecting on the ground.  So, no matter the diameter of wires being drawn through the machine, the Super Air Knives would be a non-contact way of drying the surface without having to use the drying cloths which were inconsistent and had to be replaced often.

Super Air Knife Drying Wires

If you require a non-contact way of keeping your product clean and dry, EXAIR has many products to tackle this.  No matter how large or small of a profile, we can efficiently and effectively accomplish this. You won’t have to replace items that wear or cause damage to your product by improper contact.  EXAIR has the ability to use compressed air to create a strong force without scraping or scratching your material.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Super Ion Air Wipe Used to Fix an Encoder

A wire manufacturer contacted me about a static problem that was occurring with their encoder. The customer explained the application problem involving an encoder used to measure the length of wire running through the process.  An encoder is an electromechanical device that can count segments of revolutions as it turns.  They had a small steel wheel attached to the encoder that would ride on a nylon coated wire.  As the wheel turned, the signal from the encoder calculates the length very accurately.  The issue with the steel wheel was slippage.  The friction between the steel wheel and the nylon coated wire was not high enough due to varying tensions.  The result was the length was not counted accurately, and with large spindles of wire, they were losing money.  To fix the problem, the wire manufacturer decided to change the wheel to a fabric type to increase friction.

8462 Super Ion Air Wipe
8462 Super Ion Air Wipe

They did solve their friction problem, but now the issue became a static problem. The two non-conductive (insulated wire and fabric wheel) materials started to generate enough static electricity that a spark would ground out against the encoder body.  The sparks have a high potential to damage the encoder or cause a false count.  Either way the customer knew he had to remove the static.  Once I understood the problem, I suggested the 2” Super Ion Air Wipe, model 8462.  It comes complete with the Super Ion Air Wipe, power supply, filter, and regulator.  It is designed to provide a uniform 360 degree ionized airstream directed conically to a continuous stream of material such as insulated wire.  With the proper mounting, the Super Ion Air Wipe would remove the static from entire area, the wire and the wheel.  This removed the static issue from the process and allowed the encoder to count correctly and accurately.

Static can become a real issue within processes like this, discharging to sensitive components and operators. If you run into issues with static in your process, no matter the shape, EXAIR has the product to help.  You can discuss your application with us by contacting one of our Application Engineers.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Super Air Wipe Blows Wire Clean After De-scaling Process

saw-application

We had a customer recently who processed wire rod. Part of their processing includes de-scaling and polishing the outside of the wire. Their problem was that at the out-feed of the polishing machine, they were getting a lot of carry-out of grit and scale from the wire de-scaling and polishing process.

To counter the problem of carry-out, they decided to mount model 2400 ½” diameter Super Air Wipe at the out-feed section of the machine in order to blow back all the debris and scale into the machine where it could be collected nicely by a drawer in the bottom of the machine base. Prior to installing the Super Air Wipe, the customer would have to clean up piles of debris outside the machine. Now it is all contained nicely within.

Do you have an application where you are processing a continuous, round, extruded material that needs to be cleaned, dried or blown off?  If so, the Super Air Wipe is an excellent choice to provide the full 360 degree wipe around the outside of the material.

Neal Raker, Application Engineer
nealraker@exair.com