The manufacture of cable begins with the drawing of high quality tensile wire. The wire is typically either galvanized high carbon A1S1 C1050/1070 or A1S1 302/304 stainless steel. Cable can be made from other metals, however, these "custom" cables are usually manufactured to order and are not readily available from commercial sources.
Since wire rope and cable are each considered to be a "machine" with moving parts consisting of individual wires and strands moving with and along side one another, they must be made in a very controlled and precise manner. All cable and wire rope is made from basic strand, which is made using either tubular or planetary stranding machines. These machines contain as many reels of wire or strand that is needed to produce the construction being stranded. In a tubular strander, the reels remain stationary and in a planetary strander, the reels rotate.
Most commercial quality "aircraft grade" cable is made using preformed wires and strand. Preforming creates a compact cross section of the outer strands, permitting it to be tightly wrapped around the core. Preforming increases life expectancy of cable particularly in pulley applications.
The Wire Rope Machine
By painting stripes around a wire rope, as shown, and actually bending the rope, we can see the movement of strands as the rope bends. Any time a rope flexes, the movement takes place. The sharper the bend, the more the movement.