The major buyers of aluminum wire include the power suppliers in the USA, which started to use this kind of wire instead of copper wire for their power grids around 1990. Copper wires with the same electrical conductivity have a smaller diameter but nearly twice the mass. The necessity to reduce the weight and the strong increase of copper prices during the past years have resulted in the replacement of copper wires with aluminum wires, also in automobiles.
Depending on their characteristics, wires made of aluminum and about 40 aluminum allows are fashioned into welding rods, pivoting and bent components, clips for cold cuts, staples for tea bags, knitting needles, bicycle spokes and many other things. Aluminum metallisation wire is used to add a metal layer to paper and foils or to create the holograms on the Euro banknotes.
Composite wires, e.g. bi-metal wires, consist of two or more components containing at least one metallic material and are characterised by the ensuing combination of different properties. Copper-clad aluminum wire (CCAW), for example, is meant to replace certain copper wires in vehicles. This wire is lighter in weight than copper wire, possesses better electric conductibility and strength than aluminum wire and is also easier to solder, since the oxide film typical for aluminum is non-existent. Copper-clad steel wire (CCSW) combines the high strength of steel and the excellent conductibility and corrosion resistance of copper.
Since basically all areas of life rely on wire and the products made thereof while their property potential is seemingly not yet exhausted, the wire, cable and wire processing industry is constantly faced with new challenges.
To meet these challenges, it requires machinery and systems that are as low as possible in the use of energy, raw and resource materials, that produce little waste during start-up and production, that generate high production quality regardless of the skill-level of the operator and that can be adapted easily to enhanced specifications and standards.
The trade fair wire, which is held from 12 to 16 April 2010 in Düsseldorf, has a long-standing tradition as the ultimate location where all renowned cable and wire machine producers introduce their innovations. The trade fair location Düsseldorf is the information and order platform for visitors from all over the world who want to gather information about future-oriented production concepts. Synergy effects are generated through the International Tube Trade Fair, Tube, which is being held simultaneously at the same location.
Naturally, the current economic situation also upsets this industry, especially since about 60% of its members supply the heavily crisis-ridden automotive industry and its suppliers. Nevertheless, Heinz Rockenhäuser President of the umbrella organisation of the European Wire and Cable Machine Producer Association (IWCEA) maintains an optimistic outlook. The managing director of the internationally active wire and cable machine producer Maschinenfabrik Niehoff points out that the sector, because of its close connection to industry and technology, has always experienced economic fluctuations from time to time.
The innovation pressure in many sectors such as the automotive industry, the upcoming modernisation of the power grids in the USA, for example, and the urgently required expansion of the infrastructure in countries such as India, China and Brazil are only a few factors that give rise to the expectation that the wire industry and its suppliers will continue to work to capacity.
wire 2010: wire – indispensable, versatile and future-oriented