New Product Spotlight: Contact Wire

A new drawing line now makes contact wire for railway applications.

Contact wire – also known as trolley wire – is a shaped line that comes into contact with the pantograph of an electric train, tram or electric bus, as well as the overhead catenary wiring, helping it to collect current. It’s a highly specific, unusually shaped wire that isn’t round but grooved so it can be properly clamped and connected to the train’s wiring system.


Contact wire


Now, to ensure customers have the convenience of one supplier from copper cathode to final product, Nexans is producing this specific wire in Montreal where a continuous casting drawing line is already in operation. The new line is fully dedicated to contact wire and can produce a large range of products that meet European (EN 50 149) and U.S. (ASTM B47-95a and B9-90) standards using pure copper (ETP) and copper alloys (CuAg, CuMg and CuSn) for high-speed solutions.


It’s not just its shape but its physical properties that make contact wire so unique – it must have high mechanical resistance while still maintain good conductivity. To measure these properties, along with elongation, Nexans installed a new characterization laboratory along with its contact wire drawing line. Here, a 2D profile supplied by Keyence is used to measure the geometry of each wire to ensure easy clamping. Finally, to round out the process, Nexans collaborates with several external laboratories that have been set up for third-party certification.


To learn more about Nexans contact wire and other industrial products visit us online.