Our Event Sessions bring together small high-level audiences to discuss the hottest topics influencing the industry, from the challenge of engaging Generation Z through to how brands can approach customers.

Post-Show Plant Tour
Nissan Motor Company's vehicle assembly plant, Smyrna, TN Bus leaves at 9:00 a.m.; returns at 2:00 p.m. Company details: The opening of the Nissan Smyrna Vehicle Assembly Plant in 1983 was a groundbreaking moment, bringing automotive production to Tennessee for the first time. The plant has become a force for economic development, creating thousands of well-paying jobs and inspiring other auto companies and suppliers to set up operations in the state. For more than 30 years, the Smyrna team has been assembling quality, award-winning cars, trucks, crossovers and SUVs. The plant has grown significantly over that time and transformed from a domestic manufacturer to a global one. Tour guests must wear shirts with at least a 4-inch sleeve and closed-toe shoes; no flips-flops or sandals are permitted on the tour. Tour guests must be 10 years of age or older. Seating is limited and reservations are required. Weapons of any kind, cell phones, cameras and all other recording devices are strictly prohibited on the plant tour.
Fundamentals General Track
Presenter: Frank Kraft
This course presents fundamental engineering principles and process calculations that are used to design, analyze, and improve metal rod and wiredrawing operations. Topics include a basic overview of wiredrawing mechanics with respect to material behavior and process parameters. Die angle and reduction are addressed in light of the Delta-parameter and its practical application. Drawing limits, friction and lubrication, work-piece heating, and temperature effects are also discussed.
Fundamentals General Track
Presenter: Tom Maxwell
This presentation focuses on the die, the most important part of the drawing process. Without it, the best drawing machines, lubricant, and treatment systems cannot reduce the wire diameter. However, with a die, vice pliers, and a hammer, wire can be drawn, albeit slowly, as it has been for over 2,000 years. The intention of this course is to provide an understanding of what makes a die work, how it is designed, causes of failure, and problems with drawing larger sizes.
Fundamentals General Track
Presenter: David Gzesh
The wiredrawing process generates significant heat that affects its ability to ensure quality wire production. The amount of generated heat is influenced by the interaction of factors that include the metal composition, surface preparation, production equipment and routine maintenance. This presentation reviews basic lubrication principles, typical lubricant compositions, and routine lubricant maintenance procedures for both ferrous dry drawing and ferrous and nonferrous wet drawing.
Fundamentals General Track
Presenter: Horace Pops
This course presents a classification of wire breaks from a perspective that compares material defects to process-related problems. Rod defects will include both casting and rolling issues such as internal voids, foreign contaminants, rolled-in scale, hot cracks, and surface porosity. The effects of wiredrawing speed and lubrication will be discussed with respect to generation of fines, shaving, galling, and other surface defects.
Fundamentals Ferrous Track
Presenter: Anand Bhagwat
This introductory course is designed to provide a general understanding of ferrous metallurgical concepts, including phase equilibrium, transformation, strengthening mechanisms, heat treatment, and an overview of steelmaking, and their relevance to wire technology.
Fundamentals Ferrous Track
This course presents the fundamentals of cleaning, pickling, and coating of ferrous wire and rod in preparation for drawing and processing. Proper control and handling in these areas ensures quality of the finished product. The design of these processes impacts the economics of the operation. It is imperative that rather than individual stages, this department should be viewed as a whole as it is critical to success. The course deals with zinc phosphate processes and the advantages and limitations as well as specialty coatings such as salt carriers, lubricants, dry film polymers, and new technologies on the horizon.
Fundamentals Ferrous Track
Presenter: C. Richard Gordon
This course discusses tensile, coiling, wrap, reverse bend, torsion, fatigue, and hardness testing procedures. It illustrates interpretation of test results in terms of sample properties.
Fundamentals Ferrous Track
Presenter: C. Richard Gordon
This course focuses on heat treatment of ferrous metals. It includes basic heat treating principles applicable to many metals with specific examples related to heat treatment of steel rod and wire.
Fundamentals Nonferrous / Electrical Track
This presentation documents the stranding process for nonferrous conductors, specifically bare copper and tinned wire, as well as assembly of multi-conductor cables. Different processes that are addressed include bunching and concentric constructions, silicone blocked stranding, as well as cable assembly techniques, and rationale for each type. Specific applications include industrial and energy sectors, electronics and data communications, the automotive industry, consumer products, and appliances.
Presenter: Curt Cronin
A big believer in “human innovation,” Curt Cronin knows what it’s like to face seemingly unattainable goals. In the midst of combat, he transformed an offensive unit of Navy SEALs into a defensive Presidential protection unit; he also single-handedly created the model for multi-disciplinary counter-terrorism operations out of a widely disparate patchwork of organizations as part of an Embassy team in the Middle East. In Navy SEAL training, as he tells audiences, leadership purposefully places trainees in situations that are so much more difficult and stressful than those they would likely face in combat. The goal? To ensure that SEALs are ready for anything. In this keynote address, Cronin shares stories from his time as a SEAL trainee and leader to reiterate that with the proper preparation and fortitude, anything is possible. Cronin will be followed by Mid-South Wire Co. President John T. Johnson.
Ask the Expert

Visitors to the exhibition floor have a unique opportunity to get their questions answered in a one-on-one setting with esteemed industry veterans. This group of select experts from the ferrous and nonferrous segments are available to all comers in a sort of open house setting at WAI’s Ask the Expert kiosk in the center of the show floor. Attendees are invited to drop by during these “office hours” for these respected professionals to ask questions, seek advice, and generally tap in to the decades of experience and knowledge these distinguished industry figures have to offer. No appointment necessary.

The panelists are prepared to speak on the following areas of expertise:

C. Richard Gordon, C. Richard Gordon Consulting LLC (Ferrous)

  • Mechanics of wiredrawing
  • Ferrous testing and properties
  • Ferrous heat treatment
  • High-carbon wiredrawing torsional ductility improvement opportunities
  • Wire tensilve strength prediction
  • Stainless steel wire processing
  • Steel specification optimization for product quality performance and cost reduction

Paul Kulongowski, Neil Lowdon, and Rudy Vey, Chemetall US

  • History of steel phosphating and why it was developed
  • Principles of cleaning metal and hard surfaces
  • Why are both acid pickling and alkaline cleaning recommended before phosphating?
  • What are the reasons to use reactive lubricants as well at dry soaps lubricants?
  • The importance of using the entire phosphating process including water rinsing
  • How to select the best lubricant for drawing applications

Horace Pops, Horace Pops Consulting Inc. (Nonferrous)

  • Principles and technology of electrical conductors
  • History of copper and wiredrawing
  • Continuous casting
  • Chemical composition of electrical conductors
  • Formation, analysis, and measurement of fines
  • Annealing principles and practice
  • Wiredrawing, dies, and lubrication
  • Wire breaks
  • Aluminum rod and wire
  • FRHC vs. ETP copper
  • ASTM standards
  • Magnet wire
Member Rewards Breakfast, Annual Meeting, Mordica Lecture
Presenter: Gary Spence
2018 Mordica Memorial Lecture: Significant Milestones in Continuous Casting The 2018 Mordica Memorial Award recipient Gary Spence reflects on the most significant events that transformed the copper rod and wire industry. It is a story of invention, innovation, creativity, and technology that has evolved over the course of his career.
Workforce Engagement
Presenter: Dan Shervin
This presentation outlines the Nexans Excellence Way (NEW) program to drive operator involvement in continuous improvement. Based on the Lean approach, the program is designed to improve safety, quality, productivity, and customer service. Discussion focuses on how Nexans utilizes its biggest asset – its people – in conjunction with Daily Management Routines to continuously improve in these areas.
Workforce Engagement
Presenter: Joe Metcalf
This presentation details Leggett & Platt’s development of a simple, flexible, yet effective and data-driven safety system. It focuses on two critical safety theories—hazard identification and elimination, and employee engagement. The presentation shows the positive effects the program has had on injury and illness rates, discusses culture-building through employee involvement, and explains the tools that were developed to identify, track, and correct unsafe conditions and behaviors in the workplace.
Presenter: Darin Nicol
There are several characteristics of a well managed wire die inventory. Dies should be properly designed for the drawing application, well organized for easy identification, clean and in proper working order, and in optimal stock levels. This presentation describes practical considerations for managing wire die inventories.
Presenter: Joao Noroña
Pressure die systems direct and capture molten lubricant within a chamber through which wire must pass before entering the die. Very high pressure is built up in this chamber due in part to the constriction created by a small radial clearance between wire and pressure die. This “pressure” clearance, if tuned properly, greatly increases lubrication. However, determining the optimum clearance for a pressure system requires the evaluation of many factors within the drawing process. This presentation investigates what factors should be considered when choosing pressure die clearance for optimized lubrication and wire process efficiency.
Presenter: Keith Donahue
This presentation examines measurement and controls for hot rod rolling, wiredrawing, extrusion, insulation, and jacketing. It discusses the requirements of each process for measurement of diameter, shape and profile, temperature, eccentricity, capacitance, surface defects, spark faults, wall thickness, and length and line speed. It also describes the technologies available to address these needs, including laser scanning, X-ray systems, multi-axis scanning, infrared “heat flow” sensors, and ultrasonic technology. The course also outlines advantages and disadvantages of these solutions.
Bezinal®, Bekaert’s improved version of the Galfan coating (Zn95Al5) was designed both for final coatings and redrawing applications, and outperforms Zn with regard to weldability and corrosion resistance. In the last decade, more advanced Zn90Al10 (Bezinal® 2000) and Zn95Al5 (Bezinal® 3000) coatings have been developed with specific advantages for abrasion resistance, deformability, cut end corrosion resistance, and corrosion resistance in specific environments. This paper illustrates these advantages with laboratory results and relevant field experience data.
Workplace Organization
Presenter: John White
This presentation discusses the need for advanced controls in quality. It examines the scope of Critical to Quality (CTQ) and Critical to Process (CTP) factors for production. It describes how automation can help monitor these in real time, how programming can take human error out of the equation, how engineering limits can be used to bind processes to run or not run based on CTP feedback, and includes real-life examples on continuous manufacturing operations. It also considers how automation can hurt an operation, with consideration to startup and integration costs, maintenance, complex CTQ detection, and ROI.