Fuse Cutting versus Mechanical Cutting of Wire Rope

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Fuse Cutting

Fuse Cutting of wire rope is a process in which electrical energy is used to cut a conductive wire or wire rope. By delivering a high current to a wire rope cable in between two electrodes the temperature of the rope rises until it melts. This leaves both ends fused with the wire rope structure maintained. There are other benefits to the process that can be seen here.

Mechanical Cutting

Mechanical cutting is the process of cutting wire rope using mechanical means such as shears, cutters, saws, or abrasive wheels. This method is often faster than fuse cutting but does not maintain the integrity of the wire rope. The wire ends are able to unwind, weakening the product and creating sharp and dangerous ends. The process is also demanding on most cutting tools as they are often designed for copper wiring and not steel wire rope.

Choosing a Process

When deciding between fuse cutting and mechanical cutting, it's important to consider the specific requirements of the project and the type of wire rope.

Reasons to mechanically cut:

  • Coated or insulated wire rope - If the wire rope has a plastic coating around the cable, mechanically cutting is often a good choice. The wire rope will not unwind with the insulation holding it in place.
  • Higher Production rate - If the volume for the product is very high, mechanically cutting is a faster process. While both processes can be performed manually or automated, mechanical cutting will be faster with all things equal.
  • Very tight tolerance - When acceptable, mechanically cutting can be held to tighter tolerances than fuse cutting.

Reasons to fuse cut:

  • Preventing unwinding of the wire rope - If it is critical for the wire rope to maintain its integrity and prevent unwinding, fuse cutting is a superior process.
  • Avoiding burrs, sharp edges, or loose wires - A fuse cut will join all wires into a secure hold on the end of the cable. The fuse cut will be smooth and round, ideal for medical and robotic applications.
  • Material and Maintenance - Steel, Stainless steel, and especially Tungsten will quickly wear out any wear points on a mechanical cutting process. Fuse cutting will provide a longer run time in between maintenance.
  • Post Processing - If the wire is used for assembly after cutting, fuse cutting can be a superior process. The rounded end will make the wire rope easier to position or thread into the next step. This saves labor down stream.
  • Automation - Fuse cutting provides a more reliable wire rope to work with when it comes to automation. At Enter Automation one of the things we specialize in is providing value added fuse cutting machines that can perform additional processes.

Both fuse cutting and mechanical cutting can be utilized on many products if proper adjustments are made. In certain situations, depending on what the customer is looking for, a certain process should be selected over the other.

Next Steps

If you are looking for help automating a cut and assembly task, Enter Automation can assist with this decision making process. With over 15 years in the electrical wire and wire rope industries, we will discover or build the correct solution for your product.

Contact us for more information

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