Wire-rods in the automobile industry – Vital to success?
When you think of wire rods, you would probably not picture them being used extensively in the automotive industry. Unlike steel plates, sheets, and rolls, wire rods are rarely in the spotlight as these are not big-ticket purchases with the high order value.
But for over a century, wire rod products have been a critical component in automobile manufacturing.
Each year, the automobile industry utilises more than 2 billion tonnes of steel wire. Steel wire rods are processed into parts that are utilised in the development of the steering and suspension systems, tire cords, and bearings. They are highly versatile, finding application in every part of an automobile, from transmission and fuel injection components to brakes, fasteners, shock springs, and exhaust systems (yes, even in engines).
To attain the desired qualities, wire rods are frequently combined with other types of steel, creating what are known as composite steels. This is because each application has a very specific strength and performance requirements. Steel wire rods can thus be classified based on the type of steel used, which include –
Alloy steel (83%) – Steel alloys with various metals, including titanium, chromium, magnesium
Carbon steel (7.3%)
Stainless steel (9.7%)
Without further ado, let’s now take a look at some important applications of wire rods in the automotive industry.
4 key applications of steel wire rods in cars and two-wheelers
Application in manufacturing the sensitive components of an automobile
Steel wire rods are used to fabricate sensitive components such as steering wheels, engine mounts/mountings, transmission gears, suspensions, and many others. These parts of the car are "sensitive" because they are required to withstand mechanical stress or vibrations, and are essential to the car's safe operation. All of these components require expensive manufacturing and testing.
Steel wire rods are an excellent choice in the manufacture of sensitive auto components as they cost less than other alloy materials, while offering greater strength, flexibility, and the capacity to maintain their shape even at extremely hot or cold temperatures.
For the production of such components, medium and high carbon steel wire rods are typically preferred.
Application in automobile electronic components
Steel wire rods are used extensively in automotive electronics. Thin, lightweight, and excellent conductors, steel wire rods are used to create circuit connections between different electrical components, and to facilitate the flow of electricity throughout circuits. Some examples include -
Connecting the battery cable to the starter motor or alternator
Manufacture of filler wire used in motors and electrical components
Connecting electrical components like circuit breakers, ignition coils, spark plugs, etc.
Wiring up an electrical system (engine, lighting, and so on).
Application in chassis structural elements, and interconnections
Chassis design and development is one of the most demanding stages in car-making due to its inherent manufacturing complexity, and its importance in vehicle safety. Steel wire rods are used in the more intricate parts of chassis design, as well as its interconnecting components. Wire rods made of medium-carbon, high-carbon, and stainless steel are used for this purpose.
Steel wire rods are preferred in chassis manufacturing over other materials and alloys due to the following reasons -
Greater adaptability, which enables the creation of intricate shapes with minimal waste.
They are lightweight compared to other metals (about half as heavy)
A higher strength-to-weight ratio leads to less distortion during bending
Wire rods have strong resilience to wear and fatigue, which reduces cracks and deformation.
They are less expensive per unit weight, which lowers the cost of production and testing.
The wire rod has a low friction coefficient and is also non-corroding.
They are excellent materials because they make assembly simpler—there is no need to drill holes through each piece. This means that you can produce your product faster and at a lower cost.
Application in auxiliary automotive components –
The automobile industry also uses wire rods in the manufacture of tire cords, wheel bearings, pistons, brake drums, brake lining rod electrodes, fastening (bolts, nuts, screws, etc.), ropes, wires, and other components.
For these applications, the steel grade utilised varies depending on the required mechanical characteristics of the end product. Commonly utilised steel types include low-carbon, medium-carbon, high-carbon, and alloys.
With its versatility, ease of use, and ready availability, steel wire rods play a key role in automobile manufacturing. If you’re an MSME supplying the automotive industry, consider JSW One MSME for all your steel wire rod needs. Choose from a wide range of wire rod coil grades!
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