Wire Strippers and Wire Stripping Machines
Wire strippers and wire stripping machines remove the insulation from electrical wires, coaxial cables and similar types of wiring. A wire stripper generally refers to a portable hand-held device while a wire stripping machine is an industrial version used for heavy duty casing removal.
Both wire strippers and wire stripping machines are available in automatic and manual types. Additionally, different types of wire stripping methods are available:
- Cutting – The simplest way of moving wire casing is simply to cut it away.
- Abrasive – The abrasive method uses a rough wheel that wears away the insulation and polishes the wire clean.
- Thermal – The thermal method melts or burns away the wire’s insulation.
- Mechanical – Mechanical wire strippers typically use the abrasive or cutting method combined with a mechanial power source.
- Chemical – The chemical stripping method uses chemicals that react with the insulation and cause it to dissolve.
- Laser – A high tech method used mainly in special applications. With this method, the laser removes the insulation without disturbing the conducting metal underneath.
Manual Versus Automatic Wire Strippers
A manual wire stripper normally consists of a scissors or wire cutter-like device that has two opposing blades with a series of different sized notches. The user places the wire in a notch of appropriate size for the wire and cuts through the insulation to the wire. Since the insulation does not bond to the wire, the user can easily strip it off by pulling it down the wire after cutting.
An automatic wire stripper grips and strips the wire in a single motion. They are faster than manual wire strippers and are appropriate for people who need tools capable of facilitating higher volume stripping. These tools though usually have limited capability in handling different wire sizes. Users will have to check that the automatic wire stripper has the appropriate range in wire size. People who deal with many different wire types will probably be better off using a manual wire stripper.
A manual wire stripper has an added benefit in that it also acts as a wire cutter and bender, and a cable stripper for coaxial cables.
Industrial Wire Stripping
Many companies and individuals strip off the insulation from large quantities of wire in order to sell the conducting metal to junk yards, recycling centers and other buyers. For this type of work, wire stripping machines are generally capable of much higher volume output than hand held wire strippers.
When the user only needs the equipment for a temporary job, it is possible to rent rather than buy the wire stripping machines. Whenever stripping large industrial wires and cables, machines are preferable because they are also capable of cutting through thick, strong wires.
Abrasive Wire Stripping Machines
With these machines, the user places the wire between two abrasive wheels, typically made of wire or fiberglass. The abrasive wheel must have the right material and texture to deal with the insulation and wire gauge involved. The wrong wheel material may result in damage to the conducting metal. Tension must be correct or the wire will break.
Chemical Wire Stripping
Chemical wire stripping typically involves treating the insulation with a chemical stripper, then with a neutralizer and alcohol. The stripper causes the insulation to “melt” away from the metal. Rinsing and wiping removes the previous chemical after each step in the process.
The chemical stripping method is highly toxic and strict government regulations are in place to protect workers along with the environment. Despite the danger and the painstaking process, the chemical stripping method is preferable in situations that require minimal damage to the underlying metal.
Thermal Wire Stripping
The thermal wire stripping method can involve using flames to melt away the wire casing. With this procedure, the hottest upper tip of the flame heats the insulation. Another thermal method involves using heated blade strippers.
Because the thermal method requires significant resources to create heat, it is an expensive option. There is also the possibility of heat damage to the conducing metal and in some cases; the resulting residue from the procedure can influence the material’s conductivity.
Thermal strippers come with adjustable gauging to deal with different types of wire sizes along with adjustable heat settings. They can strip single strand wire, multi-strand wire, shielded wire and coaxial cable. The strippers also work on different types of casing including neoprene, Teflon and vinyl.
Mechanical Wire Cutting Stripper
The mechanical cutting method for wire stripping involves using sharp blades that cut through and remove the wire casing.
These machines have adjustable blade settings and positive stops to help prevent conductor damage. However, there can still be problems in which the blades produce scrapes, cuts, nicks and other damage to the underlying metal.
Laser Wire Stripping
An expensive option typically used only in high tech laboratories or factories. The laser burns away the insulation with exceptional precision. The method is necessary when it is essential to avoid even slight damage to the conducting material.
Laser wire stripping machines are useful when dealing with fine gauge wires; however, they are also appropriate for dealing with shielded and twisted pair wires; with coils; and with screened, shielded, coaxial and screened cables.
Advanced Wire Stripping Machines
Many products on the market today are high tech machines that use microcomputers with pre-programmed stripping options.
These machines cut the wire automatically and will have multiple cutting and stripping procedures available. Length and distance are programmable and they will typically support complete strip, middle-strip and half strip procedures.
Finding Manual and Automatic Wire Strippers for Purchase
Our product section is a great tool for finding wire stripping devices. Many websites offer these products for sale or at least allow comparison of different products.
Wire strippers are available for U.S. and international customers and the price ranges will depend on your specific needs.
You can compare, sort, and browse our results, and please contact us to make a purchase or ask any questions you may have. We’re glad to put together a solution specific to your needs. You can also make us of our Eraser Certification Program to save time in finding the product that best fits your needs. With our E.C.P. we will test and validate your cable, tubing or wire material specific to your business and is designed to provide you with industry-leading equipment to solve your specific production and processing needs.
Our engineers provide great insight into the pros and cons of each wire stripper or wire stripping machine. Feel free to interact with us through email or over the phone to ask for advice on any particular wire stripping product.
Manufacturers often specialize in particular types of wire strippers and the quality and customer service can vary significantly. Eraser offers excellent products and you may research those products further by visiting http://www.eraser.com/wire-cable-strippers/.