Cold forming is an established metalworking technology that can be both cost-effective and environmentally friendly. It can be used across different industrial sectors including transportation, automotive, aerospace, agriculture, and mining, as well as medical technology.
The Advantages Of Cold Forming
In contrast with hot forming, cold forming (a.k.a. cold forging) can be done without heating the metal to extremely high temperatures which makes it a much more economical and environmentally friendly way to work with metal.
Precision cold forming technology has been around for many years and is gaining popularity due to its ability to reduce costs, increase efficiency and improve product quality while at the same time being environmentally friendly. It can produce intricate designs such as multiple surface profiles which traditional forging methods are unable to do thus increasing efficiency by reducing equipment duplication.
What is Cold Forming?
Cold forming is a type of metalworking process which involves the use of a die for bending, shaping, or joining metal without heating it. High pressure dies are used to deform metal pieces into desired shapes while maintaining their original length, width, and thicknesses (flatness).
Cold-formed components usually have more precise and accurate dimensions since they do not need any heating process — sometimes to make components that are just a few millimeters in size since the metal being formed will not expand nor shrink due to the heating found in hot forming.
The Additional Benefits Of Cold Forming
Lower Production Costs
Cold forming reduces the cost of production because it makes use of dies which have been precision engineered and need less energy input than other techniques that require high temperatures for shaping metal pieces. As a result, cold forming allows higher production rates and increased productivity regardless of whether precision or non-precision methods are used.
The savings gained through reduced material waste/scrap during production are further augmented by better yields from the original materials since there is no risk of overheating them; a practice that leads to material waste, inefficiency, and less precise dimensional tolerance.
Precision cold forming is, therefore, an ideal process for industries that are environmentally conscious since there is reduced waste; it reduces energy consumption and costs which leads to more profits. Precision cold forming does not require any special environment.
Near Net Final Shape
Cold Forming is a method that can achieve near-net finished dimensions with very little machining required. The benefits are reduced material use and shortened lead times, which results from eliminating secondary operations such as punching and blanking operations, and welding. Other additional benefits are dimensional accuracy, surface quality (smoothness), controlled geometry, and electrical performance characteristics.
Secondary Operations Reduced Or Eliminated
Since the process uses a die to perform the work, secondary operations often can be eliminated. This is especially useful for high-precision parts or parts that call for tight tolerances. Examples of these processes would be punching, deburring, and blanking. Forming can also eliminate some weldments in many cases by bending existing pieces into the desired shape without any additional work.
Improved Strength And Toughness
Cold-worked components have metallurgical properties that differ from those produced through hot swaging methods and therefore exhibit improved tensile strength and toughness when compared with products made using conventional techniques. Due to this, precision cold-formed components require less maintenance and as a result extend the lifespans of mechanical devices such as machines, gears, etc.
Cold Forming vs. Hot Forming
Cold forming is a type of mechanical working that involves the use of a die for bending, shaping, or joining metal without heating it. Forming techniques can vary widely depending on what specific material is being worked and the desired end result, but in comparison with hot forging, cold forming offers several advantages: cold forming tends to take much less energy than a comparable hot process would require making it not only more economical but also vastly more environmentally friendly. Cold forming also offers greater precision when compared with hot forging; at least theoretically speaking since some metals can be susceptible to cracking during rapid cooling, which is not an issue when heat isn’t a factor.
Cold Forming is Cold Heading
Cold Forming is also known as cold heading, cold working, cold drawing, or cold rolling. It is a metal forming process that involves the shaping of metals without the use of heat. The term “cold” refers to the fact that no heating takes place during this process. This makes it immensely popular in industries where production processes need to be cost-effective or environmentally friendly at all costs.
Cold Forming vs. Machining
The traditional machining of parts requires metal removal by way of a cutting tool to obtain the necessary part geometry. Cold-forming can form the metal parts in a way that is faster and less wasteful than if you were to machine it.
Best Materials For Cold Forming
The process of cold forming can be used to make almost any type of metal part, but each material has its own benefits and drawbacks. Copper, brass, and aluminum, or softer materials that are easily cold formed, but with regular die maintenance, it is common to utilize steel, stainless steel, steel alloys, and other specially blended materials.
Get a more technical look at cold forming with our Cold Forming Overview and Reference Guide.
Common Products Created With Cold Forming
Virtually any complex geometry to support the automotive, transportation, agriculture, mining, aerospace, and medical industries including pins, shafts, bolts, retainers, and custom-designed parts.
Above: A big bolt manufactured by The Federal Group via cold forming.
Work With The Federal Group On Your Next Cold Forming Project
Whether you’re exploring prototyping options for a new product, or you have an existing product that you’d like to put into production, The Federal Group USA can help you with your next cold forming project. We’ve provided high-quality metal fabrication services to a wide variety of industries for more than 30 years. Contact us today to request a quote for your cold forming project.
Looking for more information on cold forming? Click here to read our blog article, Why Use Cold Forming.
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