Wire and Cable Manufacturing Tension Control

Improve the quality and efficiency of wire and cable manufacturing with automatic tension control.

Wire and cable spools

Wire and Cable Manufacturing Tension Control
The manufacture of wire and cable products requires consistent tension be maintained in order to achieve high operational efficiency with repeatable product quality and reduced downtime.

During the drawing, extruding and annealing processes, precise tension control can help to maintain a uniform wire diameter and smooth surface finish. Stranding performs better as well, protecting individual wires from fewer instances of damage. During the insulation and jacketing processes, tension control helps to maintain uniform thickness around the wire or cable. When bundles of wires are twisted, tension control helps ensure that the twists are consistent and the cable assembly maintains its integrity. Finally, during spooling and coiling processes, tension control prevents tangling and bunching that can lead to wire damage and poor spool unwinding characteristics.

DFE’s family of load cells such as the TriWheel™, LT and VNW transducer provide a variety of different form-factors capable of measuring or controlling wire tension from a few grams to hundreds of pounds or kilograms.

Wire Cable and Composites Tension Load CellsWhen combined with a closed-loop tension controller like the SteadyWeb™ 6, wire & cable plants can quickly commission a turn-key tension control solution affordably, and with minimal training.SteadyWeb 6 Digital Tension ControllerBenefits of Wire and Cable Tension Control:
• Minimize stretch or breakage during manufacture
• Increase manufacturing speeds
• Eliminate or reduce wrap-up and tangling (bird nests)
• Produce a wider range of products on a single machine
• Establish repeatable performance
• Deliver higher quality products
• Reduce reliance on specialized/multiple machine operators

Typical tension control solutions incorporate:
• A closed-loop tension controller such as the SteadyWeb™ 6 Digital Tension Controller
• A load cell such as the TriWheel™ Tension Load Cell, VNW Tension Transducer, Ribbon Filament Tension Transducer or Low Tension Transducer
• A Pneumatic Brake, Magnetic Particle Brake, Hysteresis Brake, Clutch or Motor Drive System

Customers integrating tension control with a PLC most often utilize:
• A load cell signal amplifier such as the TA1 TrueTension™ Amplifier
• A load cell such as the TriWheel™ Tension Load Cell, VNW Tension Transducer, Ribbon Filament Tension Transducer or Low Tension Transducer

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Application Note: Tension Control for Wire & Cable Manufacturing (PDF)