Wire and the resulting products, such as springs, screws and cables, are necessary for technical systems to function. However, products made by the wire and wire-processing industry also play a major role in everyday life – paperclips, ballpoint pen springs, key chains and power cables, for example.

Progress in areas such as transport and power engineering are closely related to ongoing developments in the wire and wire-processing industry, and the increasing miniaturization in many areas of technology is only possible with the help of suitable wire products. These are based on wire made from a variety of metals and with a diameter between 0.5 and 2.5 mm.

The prefix “micro” is applied to anything below 1 mm in all three dimensions. While the dimensions of micro-components are getting smaller and smaller, a steady increase in requirements on technical properties and on the relevant production equipment and its components is evident. Some typical components are micro-screws (with a nominal diameter of 1 mm or less) used in sensors, mobile phones, printed circuit boards, digital cameras, hearing aids and small parts in medical devices.

One cost-effective manufacturing method is cold forging – the shaping of material at room temperature. At the micro-level, however, the physical phenomena that must be taken into account are not the same as in the macro-range. For instance, the structure of such a small workpiece has a far greater effect on the processing method, and friction works differently between the part and the tool compared with the forming of larger parts. Moreover, adhesive forces behave differently than in the macro-range. Micro-forming technology still has room for development. Special metal-forming centers are already in use for industrial purposes, using wire with diameters between 0.5 and 2.6 mm.

The latest equipment and technologies from the cable and wire sector will be highlighted at the Wire 2016 trade fair in Düsseldorf, Germany, the leading international trade fair for the wire and cable industry. The concurrent staging of Tube 2016, International Pipe and Tube Trade Fair, will create valuable synergy effects for attendees. Both events will be held from April 4-8, 2016.