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Drawing high carbon wires: a comparison...

DRAWING HIGH CARBON WIRES A comparison between theoretical analysis and actual experience on a multipass line with efficient high heat exchange capstans

By Eng. Angelo Zinutti: Research & Development Manager and Quality Assurance Manager of Wire Technologies S.p.A. and Eng. Giancarlo Saro: Technical Director of Wire Technologies S.p.A.

This report intends to analyse, both theoretically and experimentally, the cooling methods of multipass dry-drawing lines utilized for the production of high and low carbon steel wires. In the drawing of high carbon wires, it is essential for both the process and the product s quality to be able to efficaciously cool the material being processed: for this reason many drawing machine manufacturers have studied and produced capstans in such a way as to improve the heat exchange capacity. This analysis intends to evaluate the construction and environmental parameters which affect the capacity of absorbing heat from the wire being processed: this task is for the most part performed by the capstans as the environment and the die boxes have a limited heat absorbing capacity. Therefore the analysis has been integrated with tests and measurements performed in the workshop, in order to verify how the study of a new machine, with the aid of theoretical thermal parameters, has optimized the cooling of the wire being processed.

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Heat generation in the wire

Before proceeding with the determination of the parameters which define the heat exchange it is necessary to evaluate the quantity of heat generated during the drawing process: in fact a part of this must then be absorbed by the capstan. By equating the drawing power with the quantity of heat which the material being processed is able to absorb in the time unit, it is possible to determine the maximum theoretical temperature increase in the wire in adiabatic conditions. For this analysis we can neglect the difference in temperature between the core and the surface of the wire since this usually is eliminated before it touches the capstan. The increase for each pass can be determined as follows: (1) where: T FPULL A2 CS max. theoretical temperature increase (K); pull force necessary for drawing (Newton); wire cross section at exit of the die (m); specific heat of the drawn material (joule/(kgK)); material density (kg/m3).

PULL pull stress that is applied to the wire (N/m);

It can be noted that in the final formula the speed factor is not present, so theoretically it does not concur to increase the temperature. Actually, this factor will be considered when analysing the cooling methods; in fact the time period during which the wire is in contact with the capstan is related to the number of wound wire spirals, to the capstan s diameter and to the wire speed. Formula (1) supplies the maximum theoretical temperature increase in adiabatic conditions; it does not consider the heat reduction either in the die boxes or in the free atmosphere preceeding the contact point of the wire on the capstan: in this zone the temperature, besides becoming uniform in the wire, decreases because of convection and radiation. Moreover, as soon as the wire is wound on the capstan, it is struck by a flow of forced air which creates a further heat loss. It can be estimated that the actual increase in temperature, evaluated on the first wire spirals wound on the capstan, is 10
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- 30 % lower than the calculated value using the above formula (1). The increase in temperature, as a function of the pull stress and the presumed percentage of heat loss, is represented in fig.1.

The following empirical formula determines the water flow rate normally used for cooling the capstans for each pass of wire reduction: (2)

P INST power installed per pass (kW); WH2O cooling water flow rate per pass (litres/min); f empirical coefficient ranging from 0.7 to 1.

Once defined the water flow rate, the capacity to cool the wire depends largely on the effectiveness of the heat exchange obtained in the capstan. The aim is to not accumulate the increases in temperature in the passes of the line because it may compromise the process or even the final product.
Heat exchange with the capstan

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After several wire spirals have been wound on the capstan (fig.2), a heat exchange process initiates with the water flowing inside the capstan. The heat flow from the wire to the water can be evaluated through a heat exchange coefficient (KT) which is dependent on both the physical and geometrical aspects of the elements present between the wire and the cooling fluid as well as on the physical and dynamic features of the flowing water. By determining this coefficient one is able to define the quantity of heat transferred from the wire to the capstan and the efficiency of the cooling system. The quantity of heat transferred can be determined by the following formula: (3)

therefore: (4)


heat transferred to the capstan (Watt); global exchange coefficient (Watt/(mK)); conventional exchange surface (m); average wire temperature (K); average water temperature (K); cooling water flow rate per pass (kg/sec); wire speed at exit of the die (m/sec); water specific heat (joule/(kgK)); increase in the average water temperature (K); decrease in the wire temperature (K).

It can be noticed that the exchange coefficient KT and the conventional exchange surface S determine the quantity of heat exchanged. From an operational point of view it is opportune that the diameter of the capstan, which with the height of the wound wire spirals determines such surface, should not increase excessively while it is
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extremely important that the water inside be fully in contact with the surface through which there is the heat exchange. Formula (4) shows how the possibility of decreasing the wire temperature diminishes when increasing its speed and therefore the line productivity. The exchange surface is conventional because the wire is in contact with the capstan only on a limited part and not on its whole semicircle; this fact can be considered in the global exchange coefficient through a parameter which considers the heat resistance between wire and capstan (Rw). It is also important to keep under control the water temperature at the entry point of the capstan, which generally should not exceed 20-25C. Formulas (3) and (4) show how the water flow rate is directly proportional to the quantity of heat exchanged; therefore in order to reduce the wire temperature, it is fundamental to control all the parameters which influence this value (feeding pressure, crossing sections, water speed, etc.). Since the capstan s diameter is always much greater than its thickness, the exchange coefficient can be determined as follows:



heat resistance between the wire and the outside surface of capstan (mK/Watt) heat resistance of each layer of material between the wire and the water with thickness si (m) and conductivity (Watt/(mK)); in this parameter the possible deposits inside the capstan should also be taken into account; convection coefficient of water with the inside surface (Watt/(mK)).

With all other conditions being equal (i.e. wire diameter, surface condition, lubricant used, etc.), the heat exchange between the wire and the capstan can be improved by lowering the outside temperature of the capstan. To do this, all the manufacturers efforts have been focused particularly on the improvement of . In reality it is also very important to pay close attention to the other parameters, in the denominator of formula (5), which can add resistance that may jeopardise the heat exchange. Due to this special care should be taken in avoiding the formation of deposits and adopting only coatings with high conductivity. In order to theoretically determine the water convection coefficient on the inside surfaces ( ) one can use the dimensionless

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values normally indicated in the technical literature: Reynolds number, Prandl number and Nusselt number. The Reynolds number defines also the type of exit flow: laminar, mixed or turbulent. In order to have an ideal heat exchange it is better to have a thoroughly developed turbulent flow i.e. it is necessary that the speed by which the water laps the surface exceeds a certain value in relation to the narrow gap sn. By joining the relevant equations it results that in case of turbulent flow: (6) That is, the convection coefficient with the surface: a) is proportional to a coefficient r related to the fluid characteristics; b) increases with the speed VH20 by which the water laps the exchange surface; c) increases on reducing the narrow-gap sn.
Degree of various parameters influence

Water velocity and narrow gap. The Reynolds number depends on the narrow-gap sn and on the water velocity in contact with the inside surface: therefore it is determined by the construction characteristics of the capstan. In particular it is important to define whether the internal chamber of the capstan is solid to it or is fastened. The first case is generally marked by a laminar flow where the water velocity is mainly determined by the flow rate and the passage section. On the contrary it is important to try and make the fluid motion turbulent by increasing the velocity: this can be achieved by conveying the flow of the water under pressure in a spiral direction through the narrow gap instead of making it flow along the capstan s axis. Thus the passage area is reduced thereby increasing the velocity to such values as to obtain a good convection coefficient . In the second case the water is subject to a dragging shear effect by which its velocity is a fraction of the periferical speed of the capstan and therefore, in this operative condition, it is extremely difficult to determine the type of fluid motion. As can be seen in formula (5), the global exchange coefficient is not only determined by the convection coefficient of the water but also by the conductivity and thickness of the capstan. Capstan s and coatings thickness The steel capstans on the market often appear to be too thick considering the pull stress they support. Although it is important to pay attention to vibrations and to a
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certain thermal inertia which are useful in transient times, in some cases these thickness could be reduced. Equally, it is fundamental to pay attention to the coatings to be used. It is useful to point out, in particular, that the painting of the inside capstan wall by resinous and polymeric products is to be avoided since a thickness of 100 is the same as adding a cast iron thickness of 20 mm: it is much better to use metallic coatings that are oxidation-resistant. Similarly on the outside wall, while the use of tungsten carbide does not endanger the heat conductivity, the use of ceramic should be avoided when producing high carbon wire, (the conduction coefficient is lower than that of the surface). Finally, an incorrect inner or outer coating can double the equivalent thickness of cast iron or steel wall and consequently the thermal resistance to heat exchange. Deposits What has been said for the capstan s coatings is valid also for deposits: since their conductivity is very low it is important to avoid their formation (use of softened water, coatings and outside surfaces such as to prevent rusting and calcareous deposits) and to periodically carry out checks and maintenance so as to eliminate the problem. Regarding this, the significant increase of the exchange surface, which theoretically can be obtained through internal threading of the surface, can be easily vanified by the higher tendency to form deposits on the same threads. The fig. 3 shows how even small deposits can endanger the heat transfer in comparison with a newly installed, and therefore clean, capstan: the graph shows how the water-capstan heat transfer coefficient can be reduced by up to 50%.

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Performed Tests

To verify the effectiveness of the heat exchange a device was manufactured to measure in real time, and with the machine in operation, the actual water flow rate in a capstan and the inlet and outlet temperature of the same. The device, as shown in picture 1, is able to measure the flow rate with a precision of one per cent and the temperatures with a precision of one tenth of a degree. Picture 1 - Heat flow measuring device

In this manner the effective heat quantity removed by the water, flowing in the capstan under examination, can be easily registered. A nine draft machine, with horizontal capstans (see picture 2) which are cooled with water under pressure in a closed circuit, was utilized for the tests. Picture 2 - View of the multipass line

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The wire collection was performed by a drawing coiler equipped with capstan cooled by water under pressure. A water cooled die box was present in the drawing coiler. Picture 3 - Drawing Coiler

The regulation of the cooling water flow rate in the various capstans was obtained by varying the feeding pressure. The capstans were designed to obtain a spiral flow in closed chamber so that, with different working conditions, the water velocity was always such to obtain a completely developed turbulent flow (Reynolds > > 10000). This permitted not only to obtain an excellent heat exchange coefficient between water and inside surface but also the possibility to optimize the water quantity even in the presence of low feeding pressures. The measuring device was connected to the eight draft of the drawing line and therefore the registered flow data refers to the operative conditions on this pass. The tests were performed by drawing two types of
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entry material (see table A): 1. G7 low carbon used for production of welding wire (mechanically descaled 2. C63 high carbon typically used for spring production (pickled and phosphatized) Tab.A Characteristics of the two entry materials

Rm N/ mm C % Mn % Si % Cr % Ni % 515.5


S % Ceq.


0.090 1.489 0.872 0.046 0.031 0.017 0.014 0.36



0.630 0.638 0.214 0.044 0.028 0.009 0.009 0.75

The die drawing sequence in the multipass line was maintained constant for all tests while both the die and the cooling of the coiler were varied in accordance with the material being tested. The following table shows the working sequence: Tab.B Drawing sequence - Material G7: Low Carbon Steel.
Draft Diam. Reduct. Tot.Red. N (mm) (%) (%) Tot.Red. Pull Speed

(daN/mm) daN (m/sec) 2.1 738 503 416 344 282 228 192 158 130 98 2.8 3.7 4.7 6.1 7.8 9.9 12.6 15.9 20.0

5.500 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8* 9 10 4.800 4.210 3.700 3.260 2.880 2.560 2.270 2.020 1.800 23.83 23.07 22.76 22.37 21.95 20.99 21.37 20.81 20.60 15.97 23.83 41.41 54.74 64.87 72.58 78.34 82.97 86.51 89.29 91.00

51.5 63.7 72.4 78.2 84.0 89.5 94.1 99.9 105.2 109.4




* Capstan subject to heat flow measurement

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Tab.C Drawing sequence - Material C63 High Carbon Steel.

Draft Diam. Reduct. Tot.Red. N (mm) (%) (%) Tot.Red. Pull Speed

(daN/mm) daN (m/sec)

5.500 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8* 9 10 4.800 4.210 3.700 3.260 2.880 2.560 2.270 2.020 1.800 23.83 23.07 22.76 22.37 21.95 20.99 21.37 20.81 20.60 10.80 23.83 41.41 54.74 64.87 72.58 78.34 82.97 86.51 89.29 90.45

95.0 107.7 120.7 128.3 135.9 143.1 150.0 163.6 177.4 188.2 936 778 629 507 407 321 281 234 195 88

2.1 2.8 3.7 4.7 6.1 7.8 9.9 12.6 15.9 20.0




* Capstan subject to heat flow measurement To ensure the worst possible working conditions, a narrow band of wire spirals i.e. 100 mm equal to 50 wire spirals, was intentionally maintained on the capstan under examination. On the remaining capstans the average band width was equal to 110 mm for the G7 and 120 mm for the C63 material. During line operation the wire temperatures, in the pass under examination and in the final part of the coiler capstan, were registered using an infrared optic pyrometer.
Synthesis of the test measurements

During the tests was registered a great number of data which for the simplicity is synthesised in the following tables Tab.D
Low Carbon G7 Wire Initial Tensile Strength: 515.7 N/mm - Final Tensile Strength: 1116.1 N/mm Initial diameter: 5.50 mm - final diameter: 1.65 mm Without cooling on the coiler - Air temperature: 16.2 C

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Speed Multipass on Coiler Water exit the speed flow speed analized capstan m/sec 5,0 10,0 15,0 20,0 m/sec m/sec 5,9 11,9 17,9 23,8 4,0 8,0 12,0 16,0 m3/h 2,09 2,10 2,09 2,09

Water inlet temp.

Water outlet temp.

Heat Wire temp. : on the Water transferred by capstan temp. coiler increase the water

C 15,4 15,7 15,8 15,3

C 16,8 18,7 20,0 20,3

C 1,4 3,0 4,2 5,0

Watt 3403 7327 10209 12153

C 45 70 89 93

High Carbon C63 Wire Initial Tensile Strength: 952.5 N/mm - Final Tensile Strength: 1916.0 N/mm Initial diameter: 5.50 - final diameter: 1.70 mm With cooling on the coiler - Air temperature: 17.1 C Wire temp. on the capstan coiler C 54 70 105 122

Speed Multipass Water Coiler on the Water exit inlet speed analized flow speed temp. capstan

Water outlet temp.

Heat : Water transferred by temp. increase the water

m/sec 5,0 10,0 15,0 20,0

m/sec 5,6 11,2 16,8 22,4

m/sec 4,0 8,0 12,0 16,0

m3/h 2,08 2,10 2,09 2,10

C 14,9 15,1 15,0 15,2

C 16,6 19,2 20,4 22,2

C 1,7 4,1 5,4 7,1

Watt 4112 10013 13126 17340

From other test measurements it was noticed that by increasing the flow rate, while maintaining all other conditions constant, the heat flow rises even if the water temperature increment diminishes. Using formula (3), in combination with the registered data, one is able to determine the speed at which there is an equilibrium between the heat flow absorbed by the water and the deformation work. Under the test environmental conditions and with the approximation in the calculation of the heat

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dissipated by the wire (fig. 1), this equilibrium is theoretically at about 19 m/sec for the low carbon wire and at 16.5 m/sec for the high carbon wire (coiling speed). Furthermore it was noticed how the relation between the heat removed from either the high carbon or low carbon wire corresponds roughly to the behaviour of the wire temperature increments as calculated with formula (1). According to this formula the temperature increment is proportional to the pulling force in the pass under examination, in our case 48%, while the measurements indicated an average flow increment of approximately 35-40%. It was also possible to verify formula (5) and (6) by carefully analysing the influence of the various heat resistance in the total exchange: in particular an excellent water exchange coefficient with the inside surface was registered ( > 3500 Watt/(mK)). Furthermore the elaboration of the test data illustrated the importance of a correct regulation of the water flow rate and of the speed with which it laps the internal capstan surface. It is important that this speed be independent of the capstan rotation velocity, which as well-known varies from the first to the last pass, since the cooling requirements are almost constant along all the entire line (second part of formula (3)).

One must note that, even if the positive heat exchange was facilitated by the low inlet temperature of the cooling water, this was compensated by the intentionally severe working conditions adopted in order to discover any eventual critical conditions of the equipment and of the cooling system. In fact for this reason it was decided to operate with the following severe working conditions:
1. working band width of wire wound on the capstan limited to 100 mm with time of permanence of the wire on the 8th pass analized at only 5.5 seconds at the maximum coiling speed; 2. Partial capstan coating with a ceramic band (for a section of about 20 mm), with consequent limitation of the heat exchange between capstan and wire; 3. Limitation of the water flow rate to only 35 litre/minute (2.1 cubic metre hour). The line used in the test is also able to work with a flow rate of 50 litre/minute; 4. Maximum working speed sufficiently high (approximately 24 m/sec.) for the above mentioned operating conditions; 5. The tests were not performed under laboratory conditions but on a line operating regularly in a workshop.

In consideration of these rigorous and severe working conditions, one can conclude that the adopted technical solutions, and in particular the original cooling system (exclusive Pittini Impianti Industriali technology), confirm the design indications furnished by the theoretical parameters illustrated in the first part of this paper.

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The resulting excellent heat exchange values permit not only to save on water consumption, during low carbon wire production, but also to have large margins for increments in the heat exchange, with high carbon wire, by increasing both the band width of wire on the capstan and the water flow rate. Therefore the analytical definition of the heat exchange, and the consequent design optimization, has permitted the carrying out of reliable tests of verification which have widely confirmed the validity of the technical solutions adopted.

1. Wire Association International Inc., Ferrous Wire Handbook, The Wire Association International Inc., USA, 1989. 2. G.Perotti, Tecnologie siderurgiche. 3. L. Mattarolo, Trasmissione del Calore, CLEUP, Padova, Italia, 1980. 4. P. Bartolini, Scambiatori di calore, CLEUP, Padova, Italia, 1982.

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