If you’re looking at your options in custom manufacturing, one term you’re likely to come across is custom wires or custom wire forms. Not to be confused with electrical wires, these are important products that have a wide variety of uses, and even though they’re not particularly high-tech or exciting to discuss, you may find they’re exactly what you need. Here are your top five questions about custom wires, answered:
- What Are Custom Wire Forms, Exactly?
Wire forms are products made through a custom wire bending process that allows them to be formed into various shapes. Some are very simple, while others are quite complex. They’re generally made through roll forming or metal stamping processes.
- How Do Wire Forms Differ From Springs?
You could say that springs are a subset of custom wires, since they can be formed through a technique called coil making. However, helix wire forms — springs — tend to be referred to as a separate category than most others. You may find that most companies that produce one also produce the other, though some producers of custom coil springs may not make other types of wire forms.
- What Are Wire Forms Generally Used For?
Wire forms are used in a wide variety of industries. One of the most common is in retail, where they’re used to form wire baskets for point of sale displays. But they’re also used in medical storage, as mounts in automotive transmissions, as pins in a variety of manufacturing processes, and as guards on power tools.
- What Options Are Typically Available?
Custom wire forms have two important factors besides their shapes: their material and diameter. Both of these contribute to their strength and, therefore, suitable applications. For example, a company might offer wire forms ranging from 0.4 mm to 7.9 mm in diameter and give you an option of chrome silicon, oil-tempered wire, music wire, Inconel or stainless steel.
- What Manufacturing Considerations Are There?
Beyond ensuring that a manufacturer can make the wire form you need for your application, the most important thing you’ll need to check is the minimum run available (maximum runs are very unlikely to be a problem). While some manufacturers cater to larger companies needing large batches of wire forms, you’ll be able to find several offering you smaller batches — which, in turn, makes the process more affordable on your end.
What other questions do you have about custom wire forms? Ask or share your information in the comments.