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Nonferrous topics such as copper and aluminum, annealing, etc. go here.
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TOPIC: Dirty Copper Wire

Re: Dirty Copper Wire 2 years 8 months ago #1604

Hello again Anthony,

Well you have a fairly large range of hard copper wire. ( The 0.080808" wire is 12 AWG and the 0.01040" wire is slightly smaller than 29 1/2 AWG which is 0.010624") I am not sure that one cleaning procedure will do all your wire sizes but that should be left to the various manufacturers of cleaning equipment to answer. The thing you have going for you is the fact that the wire is hard and thus a little more difficult to accidentally stretch the smaller sizes. You can get an Excel copy of the AWG sizes at

There is no machinery distinction between cleaning hard wire coming from say a live (rotating) reel pay off and coming from an annealed wire source although the wire will be cleaner after annealing and speeds can also be a factor. The more important question is how clean is "clean" from your perspective. Are you indeed enameling after the wire is annealed? Is your annealer(s?) a steam atmosphere annealer and, does it do a good job of cleaning the wire as long as the heavier copper soaps, dirt and copper dust has been removed?

Peter J. Stewart-Hay
Stewart-Hay Associates
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Re: Dirty Copper Wire 2 years 8 months ago #1605

Peter, Anthony,

You are right that it is a fairly large range of wire but if they are making specialties then they probably have a lot of flexibility and their equipment is quite simple. Since state of the art enameling systems are probably running 18 AWG at a DV or about 100 (Diameter in mm x speed in mpm. Since 18 AWG is 1 mm then the speed may be as high as 300+ feet/min.)

If they are using non-state of the art equipment they could have a DV of 5 to 20. Making 10-20,000 lbs per year is less than we used to make a day and we were a very small producer.

We used to coat aluminum, copper, silver plated copper, silver, gold, and other alloys and from sizes 16 awg to 52 AWG, I am not sure how come you are having such a problem.

Cleaning wire is not that difficult. If you are getting wire that is that dirty, it is probably because you are buying so little that you have to take what you get, but I have never seen hard drawn wire that was do dirty that cleaning it was that challenging or the end product so sophisticated that we could not clean the wire enough so that it could be coated.

If you would provide us more details we can probably offer a suggestion that may better suit your need. As it is we are guessing about possible solutions, anyone of which will probably work in most situations.

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Re: Dirty Copper Wire 2 years 8 months ago #1606

To clarify, I do not make the wire. I use it in my manufacturing process. I make polyimide tubing and need clean copper for an efficient process. I currently have one supplier of wire and have been receiving wire that sometimes has copper shavings attached, sometimes is greasy and sometimes has other dirt-related problems. One solution is to buy from an alternate supplier. I have pursued this option but am having trouble finding a supplier who can draw to the sizes/quantities I need. Does anyone know a wire supplier that may be able to supply my sizes and quantities?

Anthony Blevins
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Re: Dirty Copper Wire 2 years 8 months ago #1607

Just saw a new process called Helicord at the IWCS which wraps a moving textile strand around the moving wire. You can get more info and contact them via

Cost as I recall was about 25K USD maximum for unit which operated in both directions. Given the discussion of quantities in use, you may want to consider a simple steam cleaning system although now you have to deal with getting rid of that wastewater.

Erik Macs
VP North American Machinery Sales
Fine International Corporation
148 Oak Street
Natick, MA 01760 USA
508-315-8200 fax: 508-315-3621
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Re: Dirty Copper Wire 2 years 8 months ago #1608


I am fairly familiar with making ML tubing having worked for a number of years for the company that invented it. There are lots of companies that would be glad to sell you wire, the problem is that for such small quantities they also want to charge you far more than the going rate. Even at that if you consider the number of feet of wire in 500# of 14 or 29 AWG and then calculate the $$$ you get for about half that number of feet and I think that you can well afford to pay more for you conductor. Besides you get the scrap value of the copper back.

On the other hand a good supplier should be supplying you good wire at any price. You should not be getting crap just because you are not buying a lot of it. If they are telling you take it or else I would tell them to take a hike. With copper at $3-4/pound plus fab cost, you are spending $100,000+ with someone and you should insist on quality.
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Re: Dirty Copper Wire 2 years 8 months ago #1609

There are all kinds of suppliers of clean copper wire.

Go to WAI's Virtual Trade Show at Select "Copper & Copper Alloy Wire Manufacturer", press the "Submit Query" button and search to your heart's content. By viewing the details, you can visit each of the Company web sites. Have fun.

Peter J. Stewart-Hay
Stewart-Hay Associates
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