Stainless Steel Wire: From Raw Material to Finished Product

The myriad qualities of stainless steel are outnumbered only by the multiplicity of forms which this crucial material can take and the applications these forms can be subsequently used to facilitate. In this edition of our blog, we're going to look at how wire, one of the most widely-used forms of stainless steel, is made.

The primary materials used to make the various types of alloy referred to as stainless steel are chromium and iron. To these two crucial ingredients, a variety of other elements can be added; these include carbon, molybdenum, copper and nickel, all of which will imbue the finished material with the required qualities for any given application. 

When the correct amounts of these various elements have been determined and sourced, they are all put into an electric arc furnace where, subject to extremely hot temperatures, they begin to melt. When completely molten, they blend evenly together to create a homogeneous mixture. This mixture is then poured into moulds, where it is allowed to cool until it forms solid slabs.

The next step is hot rolling. Each slab is passed through a series of heated rollers, which act to reduce the slab's thickness and elongate it at the same time. At the end of this painstaking process, the material is in the form of long strips which are referred to as 'rods'.

These rods now move on to the next stage in the long and complex process of producing stainless steel wire. After being heated to a precise temperature, the rods are allowed to anneal, which essentially means to cool down at a slow and measured rate. The annealing process reduces the alloy's hardness while relieving internal stresses; this in turn makes the rods more ductile and thus prepares them for the next procedure, which is known as cold drawing.

Cold drawing involves a series of dies, through which the annealed rods are passed under high levels of tension. Each die in the series is smaller than the preceding die and so, during this process, the length of the rods is increased while their diameter is reduced until the specified diameter is achieved.

Now that the raw material has been transformed into stainless steel wire, all that remains to be done is to apply any required surface treatments, such as lubricating the wire in order to reduce friction for further processing or to enhance its corrosion resistance. The finished wire can then be cut into precise lengths, which are often coiled into reels to enable efficient storage and transportation.

BS Stainless proudly supplies a comprehensive collection of stainless steel wires of all types and grades. For further details about the range and the applications for which they are used, please browse our website or get in touch with a member of our expert technical team. 

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