Winding wires are in numerous electric and electronic devices we use every day, a key component which enables them to perform properly, safely and in an energy efficient manner.
They are ubiquitous in cars, fridges, diswashers, washing machines but also generators, electrical tranformers and wind turbines, to name but a few. The are the unsung heroes of insulation and conductivity.
“I would say that each day, enough winding wire is produced to go around the earth at least ten times”, describes Andreas Levermann, who heads one of the working groups inside IEC TC 55, the IEC Technical Committee which prepares standards for winding wires.
In electric motors, winding wires transform electrical energy into mechanical energy by creating electromagnetic fields. Most of the wires are made of very pure copper, a highly conductive material, which can be densely packed into small areas.
The technology to produce these wires is very complex. “So many different properties are required: thermal, electrical, dimensional, chemical, insulating… The IEC 60317 and IEC 60851 series of standards, which together comprise more than one hundred publications, deal with those aspects”, Levermann explains.
New publication specifies reliable test methods for continuity
Just before the end of 2019, the working group headed by Andreas Levermann issued a new edition of IEC 60851-5, which includes amendments made in 2008 and more recent ones added in 2019.
The new edition improves and clarifies the continuity tests for winding wires, making them more reliable and reproducible for on and offline measurement
“The important aspect we wanted to specify in the new edition is continuity measurement. When you produce millions of kms of winding wire, it is impossible to avoid insulation weaknesses. IEC 60851-5 specifies reliable test methods and a low number of defects for a given length of wire. We worked hard to make this standard as international as possible – it is a compromise that makes it suitable for a wide number of countries”, he says.
IEC TC 55 members reflect this striving for compromise: all continents are represented, with participating National Committees from China, France, Germany, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Russia and the US as well as many observing countries, including Australia, Brazil and South Africa.