Ever wonder how wire is made? While there are different manufacturing processes for wire, one of the most common involves draw plates. Electrical wire, for instance, is often made via draw plates. Draw plates can convert conductive metal materials, such as copper, into wire. For a better understanding of draw plates and how they work, keep reading.
What Are Draw Plates
Draw plates are dies containing one or more holes that are used to make wire. They are typically made of high-carbon steel. As undrawn wire is forced through a hole in a draw plate, it will take the size and shape of the respective hole. A process known as drawing, it’s designed to make the cross-section smaller. The undrawn wire will have a smaller cross-section going through the hole.
Overview of the Drawing Process
The drawing process is relatively simple. First, the draw plate is attached to a workholding fixture, such as a vise. The end of a piece of raw wire is then inserted into a hole of the appropriate size. After grabbing the same end of the raw wire with a pair of pliers, a worker will pull it through the draw plate.
It’s important to note that drawing is characterized by the use of a pulling force. Workers must pull the raw, undrawn wire through a hole in the draw plate. This is in stark contrast to extrusion. While drawing requires a pulling force, extrusion requires a pushing force.
Advantages of Using Draw Plates
Draw plates are simple and easy to use. You can use them to make wire with just a few basic tools, including a workholding fixture and a pair of pliers.
Most draw plates support the creation of a wire in a variety of sizes. Each hole represents a different American Wire Gauge (AWG). Some draw plates have 20 holes, whereas others have 30 or more holes. As a result, you can often use a single draw plate to make wire in dozens of sizes.
Disadvantages of Using Draw Plates
For low-volume applications, draw plates may work just fine. If you’re looking to produce a large volume of wire, though, you may want to choose a different solution.
Producing a large volume of wire with draw plates can be time-consuming. You’ll have to pull the raw wire through the draw plates. There are commercial drawing machines available, however, for large-volume production processes.