The Federal Group is a trusted source for dependable cold heading services. For the past four decades, we have produced exceptional products for businesses in a wide variety of industries. If you require high-quality cold headed parts, our experience and facilities have you covered.
What Is Cold Heading?
Cold heading manufacturing is a multi-step process used to form metal parts at room temperature. Unlike other metal fabrication processes, hammers and dies are used at a high speed to form the metal without heating the material.
A large coil of wire is fed into a blank and pulled through a drawing machine. The drawing machine compresses the material to the desired diameter. It then passes into the cold heading machine.
Inside the cold heading machine, the blank is hit between a die and a punch block, pushing the material into the die to create the desired shape.
We use two separate techniques for forcing the material into the die. With the upset method, the punch block forces the metal out of the die to produce a head larger than the initial blank.
The extrusion technique includes two methods, forward and backward extrusion. With forward extrusion, the cavity of the two dies is smaller compared to the diameter of the wire, which creates compression. With backward extrusion, the metal is forced backward through a punch to create a hole or cavity.
Cold heading is commonly used for creating custom screws, bolts, and other custom fasteners out of round metal stock.
When Should You Choose Cold Heading for Your Parts?
Cold forming comes with advantages and disadvantages compared to other machining processes, such as screw machining.
While using a screw machine may eliminate the need for dies, cold forming requires dies to set the head shapes, which increases the lead time and initial cost. However, cold heading includes many benefits:
- Less waste
- Faster production
- Stronger parts
- Reduced costs
Using cold heading for your parts reduces material waste. More of the material is utilized during the cold forming process. This limits scrap and overall costs.
Cold forming produces net-shaped or near net-shaped parts. This limits the finishing process, resulting in faster production cycles. The process itself is also faster compared to machining with averages of about 80 to 100 parts per minute.
Our cold forming process accounts for grain flow, resulting in stronger parts compared to machining. The grain flow lines follow the structure of the part due to material compression, which increases durability.
We may even help reduce overall unit costs during the design process. Cold forming may allow for a simpler design, limiting the need for multi-die designs or complex geometry. Simpler designs and less scrap help limit the cost of the manufacturing process and decrease your bottom line.
Our Cold Heading Capabilities
At The Federal Group, our cold heading process ensures that your parts match the desired shape and specifications of your project.
We only use top-of-the-line equipment, materials, and processes to form parts. We utilize standard 2 die/2 blow machines and the more advanced 5 die/5 blow cold heading machine.
Our team also has experience working with a variety of materials:
- Stainless steel
- Exotic metals
- Blended material
No matter if you need simple stainless steel parts or complex parts from blended materials, we can produce a high-quality product to meet your needs. We ensure that the finished part matches your specifications, thanks to our thorough quality assurance process.
Advantages of Cold heading
Because the volume of the blank is being hammered into a die and there is no cutting required, the process has little or no scrap. Cold heading creates stronger pieces much more efficiently. In addition, because no heat is required, there is less environmental impact, and workers are provided with a safer environment. The production is fast with no cooling down process required and creates pieces with closer tolerances without secondary operations.
Disadvantages of Cold Heading
Without heat, the pieces must be created with more force. While dies may be cheaper, the machinery required is bigger and more expensive. The pieces cannot be as thick as they may in machining because hammers can only force so much metal into a given space. Harder metals can require multiple blows to fill a die and certain materials cannot be used in a cold heading machine at all. More complex pieces will require secondary operations as cold heading machines cannot perform operations like rolling, stamping, or bending.
Cold Heading Applications
Cold heading has typically been used to create pieces like simple fasteners, though with technology always improving, cold heading can be used to create highly specialized fasteners and specialty pieces. This includes fasteners used in bridges, automotive manufacturing, electronics, and specialty bolts.
The Federal Group’s Cold Heading Capabilities
Our equipment ranges from your average 2 die/2 blow all the way to the most advanced 5 die/5 blow machines available. We utilize a wide range of materials such as Steel, Stainless, Alloy, Brass, Bronze, Copper, Inconel, 17-4ph, exotics, and specially blended materials.
A shortlist of our strengths are automotive components, gear blanks, ball studs, piston pins, sparkplug shells, valve spring retainers, engine poppet valves (intake and exhaust), transmission shafts, agricultural parts, bearings, screws, bolts, nuts, specialty and per print items. If you’d like more information about cold heading or any of our other metal fabrication services, contact us today.