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TOPIC: Annealer Pipe should be dry or wet?

Annealer Pipe should be dry or wet? 1 year 9 months ago #1763

I "learned" that steam supply to an annealer pipe is to prevent oxidation on the "surface of the" copper wire, while the "electrical power" is to anneal the copper wire. I noticed "however" that "most" of our annealer outlets are wet (I suspect it's condensate steam.) and thus a suction motor "is needed" to "eliminate" the water droplets at the outlet.

Now my problem is "that" 3 of our machines share an external steam "supply," and have dry annealer outlets. This causes a build up of dirt (or something else) inside the annealer pipe and further affects the productivity (enamel surface blister/wire breakage inside the annealer pipe).

When we "clean out" the annealer pipe with "a" brass brush, we collect "the" dust-like substance and test "it" with nitric acid, it is not copper dust.

Some of this dust hardens and clogs up the "annealer" pipe causing wire breakage and we "have" to drill "it out". FYI, all our production has no oxidation issue (from both dry and "wet" annealers.)

Now my questions are:

1. Is "the" annealer pipe supposed to be damp or dry?
2. Is "the dryness" caused by the external steam generator?
3. Is this due to water purity used in the steam generator?
4. What should we check or improve.

Your assistance and professional opinions "are" very much appreciated.

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Re: Annealer Pipe should be dry or wet? 1 year 9 months ago #1764

Hello Mr. Chan,

First of all, I believe that this is a fine wire drawing and annealing process so stretching the wire at the annealer is of major importance.

You are correct in that the atmosphere in the annealing leg must not have any oxygen in it and this is accomplished in your case by providing a saturated or dry steam environment. In larger wire annealers, there is a cooling (water) leg (Immediately after the a water filled annealing leg. The annealing leg is where wire heat provides a protective steam envelope.) to ensure the wire is properly cooled before being exposed to oxygen. Because of this, the wire leaves the annealer somewhat damp and a supply of clean and dried compressed air which dries the wire. This may be one or two air wipes.

In your case however, I expect the heat sink in the wire is quite small and thus the cooling section of the annealer can supplied with steam so that the wire can properly cool down to the point where oxidation cannot occur.

There are only two places where grunge can get into the annealer.
i) Contamination on the wire.
ii) Contamination in the saturated steam.

In a magnet wire plant, cleanliness is extremely important and I suggest that this extends to all the drawing lubricants.
a) Use water based lubricants mixed with deionized water with a normal pH for your area. (See below)(Change all your tanks and start anew.)
b) Use clean deionized water in your steam generators. Clean all annealers first and then start anew.
c) Clean out all annealers and set up a regular schedule to clean these annealers. Monitor your drawing lubricants.

To answer your questions:
1. The annealer tube should be damp but the wire must exit the annealer clean and dry.
2 Your steam generator may need cleaning.
3) See item b above.
4) See all items above and regularly check your wire for contamination by passing the copper wire over a clean, non-linting, fine weave, white cotton cloth. Do this on a regular basis so you will have some idea when the drawing lubricants need recharging.

We obtained this advice from Spectre07 years ago and it is still very appropriate today. Log the properties for each lubricant emulsion on a regular basis and thereby take control of the situation.

"In most cases, an initial pH of 8.0 to 9.5 (alkaline) is satisfactory but the actual point for each wire mill and lubricant must be determined on the basis of experience. The pH will drop as time goes by for various reasons."

Spectre07 previously provided us with some quick and practical tests for determining the effectiveness of your wire drawing emulsions.

"How good is my drawing emulsion?


"Years ago I found a simple test that works fairly well for testing lubricants (emulsions). You can check the % fat and pH but sometimes these can look good and you still have a problem. Take a sample and measure the pH. Take a shiny stainless steel rod 3/8 to 1/2" in diameter and about 10 " long. Stick it into the sample, then pull it out and hold it nearly horizontal with the end pointing down about 5 degrees from horizontal. Observe what happens to the lubricant (emulsion) that was on the rod when you removed it from the sample. If it tends to slowly roll down to the end of the rod then it probably is coating your capstans equally well. Increase the pH a couple of tenths. Stir and then check lubricant with the rod again. As long as the lubricant tends to roll toward the end of the rod, the surface tension is good. Once you reach a pH that results in the lubricant opening up bare spots on the rod instead of rolling to the end means that the surface tension is not good. It will be the same on your capstans. Reduce the pH some Until the lubricant (emulsion) rolls off again."


"Another test is feel - dip your fingers in the lubricant (emulsion) and then rub your wet fingers together - do they feel slick? If not then the lubricant (emulsion) is not slick."


"Another test is take your dirty hands and dip them into the lubricant - do your hands wash clean?

If not then you need to put some fresh lubricant (compound) into the tank. Some people think that they are saving money by not "using" lubricant (compound)" however I believe that the essential elements in the lubricant (emulsion) breaks down - and adding fresh lubricant (compound) restores those essential elements."

Thank you once again Spectre07

Peter J. Stewart-Hay
Stewart-Hay Associates
519 641- 3212
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Re: Annealer Pipe should be dry or wet? 1 year 9 months ago #1765

Dear Peter,

Thanks for the reply and Spectre07's easy detection method. I try to reply in the forum but it kept locking me in the reply page. So I'm desperately trying to get your attention in the p.m. In return for your assistance, I'll share more of our operation.

Our factory has a RO* water treatment system installed, to treat city supplied water, and used it in our steam generator and water bath (to cool wire from annealer outlet for medium & heavy inline enamel machine). Sadly our drawing lubricant had not use this RO* water to mix with the water based lubricant.

We regularly inspect on all drawing lubricant for concentration (reflectometer) and pH (pH meter), pH was stable (7~8); while concentration might need to be toped up from time to time due to some undetectable leak
(factory been operate for >20 years).

As for the machine having dry annealer issue, they were fine size (0.20 ~ 0.80mm), and had gone through 2 air wipes after annealer. 1 thing I notice, the air pipe is blowing hot air (40'C), Is this concerning? Shall it be cool (RT may be)? Our factory temperature round 29~30'C (lower by night or when raining season), therefore the air wipe is difficult to get "cool" air from the environment.

Annealer pipe had been cleaned with a brass brush; annealer temperature also been reduced (enough to maintain wire softness); annealer pipe start to see some water droplet (damp) but wire coming out from annealer is dry (simple check with tissue paper).

1. Shall we use the RO* water to mix the drawing lubricant?

I believe our steam generator is not contaminated since it's been using the RO* water.

As for your suggestion:

#4) See all items above and regularly check your wire for contamination by passing the copper wire over a clean, non-linting, fine weave, white cotton cloth.
Do this on a regular basis so you will have some idea when the drawing lubricants need recharging.".

Where shall I install the cloth wipe? Before annealer; after annealer before 1st air wipe; before the 2nd air wipe; or after the 2nd air wipe?

We will continue monitor the issue and update here to share.

Thank you

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Re: Annealer Pipe should be dry or wet? 1 year 9 months ago #1766

Hello again Mr. Chan,

With regards to your compressed air supply:

What I am used to is compressed air that goes through after-coolers immediately after compression (The compressed air is hot - heat of compression.) to cool the air and remove the moisture that is still in the compressed air. Then the air is piped around the whole plant for various industrial uses. This compressed air is at say 20 to 25 degrees C. Now air that is used for air wipes or any other industrial machine application goes through small and regularly maintained filter, a regulator and sometimes an oilier but certainly no oilier at an air wipe Thus the air is always very clean and dry at say any air wipe. These are very basic things.

I expect that RO means Reverse Osmosis filtered water. Please confirm my understanding. RO filtered water should be more than satisfactory for your steam generator and for your drawing lubricant solutions (Emulsions). You can use deionized water as well. Don't forget however to clean out your tanks before putting in a new emulsion. You get that recommendation from your drawing lubricant supplier. Properly treat the water for your emulsions.

The minor loss of drawing lubricant that you mention is due to some lubricant still on the surface of the wire when it exits the drawing machine and that is normal. Likewise you may be getting copper soaps which are adhering to the sides and bottom of your lubricant tank.

Likewise use fresh, clean RO water in the cooling section of your annealers. Moreover, do not mix some sort of annealer lubricant in that cooling water.

The cloth I mentioned is not for permanent installation as the wire will quickly cut through it. A non-linting tissue paper is just as effective as you are now using. This is a manual test, carefully done and with all plant/government safety procedures in effect. Make sure you are also wearing safety glasses, clean gloves and a long sleeved lab coat. Test the wire after all air wipes by gently squeezing it between your thumb and finger to see if the wire is carrying copper dust and other grunge (Residual drawing lubricant or some other annealer contaminant.). There will always be a very minor amount of grunge on the wire. Only your experience will provide you with an understanding of the health of your drawing machine emulsions and the satisfactory amount of contamination on the wire for your efficient plant operation. Remember that the emulsifier in the drawing machine emulsion breaks down over time and this component is what keeps your wire clean.

My personal observation is that many, many wire plants and plant engineers do not really appreciate the chemical complexity of their wire drawing emulsions and this includes the cleanliness and the temperature control of same. Residence time before reusing is also very important and that determines the size of the emulsion tank. Again you get that recommendation from your drawing lubricant supplier.

This is really about all I can tell you other than you may be able to get a seminar on your wire drawing solutions from your wire drawing supplier/ manufacturer.

Peter J. Stewart-Hay
Stewart-Hay Associates
519 641- 3212
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Re: Annealer Pipe should be dry or wet? 1 year 9 months ago #1767

Thanks for the reply.
Yes, RO = Reverse Osmosis

After few weeks of monitor(ing), it still happened, so we check(ed) the steam generator. It really was the source.
Seems (that) the generator was not service(d) after we installed the RO system, so the contamination still persisted until (the) steam was contaminated too.

Thanks all for the help.

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Re: Annealer Pipe should be dry or wet? 1 year 9 months ago #1768

Hello one last time Mr. Chan,

We really thank you for letting us know what happened.

Your company may well benefit by sending a few of the engineers and managers to a Kepner-Tregoe Workshop on Problem Solving & Decision Making. I took a similar course from them say 35 years ago and I found it really valuable and highly effective. It also saved my employer a tremendous amount of money.

Peter J. Stewart-Hay
Stewart-Hay Associates
519 641- 3212
The administrator has disabled public write access.
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