CeramTec GmbH Mechanical Applications Division

wire 2012: CeramTec Buzzing with Excitement

CeramTec wireBees

For those who aren’t immediately reminded of soccer when they see the combination of yellow and black, bees and wasps are probably the first things to come to mind. This is precisely what the staff at CeramTec GmbH in Plochingen was thinking when they created the new trade fair concept for wire 2012 in Düsseldorf. This is because the striking yellow and black zirconium oxide drawing tools, a ceramic-steel composite, look very much like the bodies of these insects. The plan: to use the actual wire shaped by forming rolls to create an oversized wasp as the key visual for the trade fair – the wireBee.

A project group comprising six second-year CeramTec industrial mechanic trainees took on this challenge. Together they analyzed images, drafted plans and built the first prototypes. In hours of painstaking manual work they created five insect bodies – two eight-stage and three ten-stage forming rolls – with heads, feelers, wings and legs welded around them. This involved bending an up to four millimeter thick filler wire, soldering and sandblasting it and painting it black. The results are impressive: The two smaller insects, which are amazingly life-like, are around 60 centimeters long and the three longer insects are about 80 centimeters long. All five models are sure to attract visitors’ attention at this year’s wire.

The wireBees once again underscore CeramTec’s wire drawing expertise and the company’s willingness to put innovative ideas into practice. This is also how the Plochingen-based company acquired its pioneering role in the use of zirconium oxide in the wire drawing process. Thanks to their excellent tribological properties, these advanced ceramics help wire manufacturers optimize wire surfaces and reduce corrosive damages to coated wires. The wire also features a uniform thickness once it has been processed by ceramic drawing tools. This means that wire breakage rarely occurs in the production process, which significantly reduces maintenance costs for the manufacturer. Increased tool life shortens the total set-up times. What’s more, extended running times for machines result in maximum process reliability while at the same time steadily increasing product quality.

The CeramTec experts will be showcasing their wire drawing expertise and the wireBees from March 26-30 at wire in Düsseldorf in Hall 10, Stand 10F21.