Why Use Cold Forming | The Federal Group USA
September 16, 2021

Why Use Cold Forming

Cold Forming is an innovative metal forming process that creates parts with near-net-shape accuracy, low scrap rates, and minimal secondary finishing. This technology has been used to produce complex parts for the aerospace industry, but virtually every industry can benefit from this cost-effective technology.

Precision Cold Forming: What Dimensional Accuracy Do You Need?

As you design a part for Near-Net Shape cold forming (a.k.a. cold working), you must realize that holding tight tolerances is possible. Still, the tighter the tolerance, the more costly it is to manufacture.

What Is Cold Forming & Why Is It Important?

Cold Forming can produce products that are Near-Net Shape as they come out of the forming die.

There are many benefits to using Precision Cold Forming over traditional manufacturing processes like machining: 

  • Lower scrap rates
  • Reduced raw material usage (with associated cost savings)
  • Effective use of existing equipment
  • Reduced downstream processes to get to finished tolerances and surface finishes quicker.

Function vs. Cost: Economic Advantages of Cold Forming

As engineers, we must conceive and design a component to do the job using the most economical capabilities and keep the cost down. Function Analysis examines a part to understand what function it must perform and then develop that element to perform that task. As an engineer, you know the functional questions to ask.

The design of a component need not be a personal statement about your drawing and engineering abilities. You’ll be the hero if you come up with a part that does the job and is cost-effective to produce.

The following information should help you create a near-net-shape cold-formed component.

Precise Dimensional Tolerance: What Factors Affect Dimensional Accuracy?

Manufacturing conditions govern the accuracy of a cold-formed part. The most important factors include:

  • Machinery Type & Condition
  • Tooling Accuracy
  • Raw Material Quality
  • Operator experience
  • In-process controls
  • Lubricant Type

Communication between Design and Manufacturing Engineering is essential but not done enough. When producing a part, make it mandatory to talk with the manufacturing engineers when your initial design is ready. The value of including these folks is invaluable. In designing your product, be mindful of the machines you have and what they can do. The experts who maintain them know their capabilities and will help guide design decisions when necessary.

Focus on these points as you go through the following steps:

Guidelines for the Cold Forming Process:

  • Use practical tolerances on all dimensions.
  • Avoid sharp corners, undercuts, & chamfers.
  • Specify simplified geometry if possible.
  • Call out practical concentricity, flatness, & parallelism.
  • Define functional surface finish requirements.
  • Consider materials optimized for cold forming.
  • Understand the mechanical properties specified by the design.

Cold forming yields high-quality components. They have a good surface finish and little need for secondary operations to the surface.

Cold Forming Surface finish depends on:

  • Material state before forming
  • Forming process used
  • Lubricant employed
  • Tooling finish & wear

Near net shapes can be machined or ground to the desired shape to meet a specific need.

With cold heading and forming, the finished part’s accuracy depends on the condition and quality of the machinery, operator, and manufacturer in-process controls.

cold forming diagram tfg usa

Why Cold Forming To Near Net Shapes?

Cold forming saves money in a variety of ways:

  • Lower material consumption
  • Higher production rates
  • Added strength
  • Consistent quality – because better quality material will perform better to cold forming pressures

Selecting The Right Part For Cold Forming

Cold forming is a process that uses pressure to change the shape of workpieces, and as such, every part needs to be explicitly designed for it. You should consider the following when designing your cold-forming parts:

  1. Volume:

The most crucial consideration when choosing a cold-forming component. Will the volume be enough to support the tooling and development expenses? Our size-to-volume guidelines are intended to keep pricing competitive while offsetting set-up and tooling expenditures.

  1. Complexity:

Is the component suitable for cold forming? Seeking assistance from a specialist engineer is essential for creating cold-formed parts, as it involves complex criteria and understanding design parameters. TFG USA has the talented and experienced engineering personnel to collaborate with you.

  1. Strength:

Cold forming generally produces a strong part, but not all materials have good cold-forming properties. Material selection will depend strongly on the desired shape of the part and the type of secondary operations that will be required. The material selection guide gives a general ranking of the material for cold forming. National Machinery‘s list of materials is considered a reliable source for determining your needs.

  1. Present Price:

In general, cold forming will result in a less expensive component than material removal. Price, however, is determined by the degree of intricacy and quantity.

In Summary

This article is about using cold forming as a method to produce production parts. We talk about function, cost, and economic advantages. We also provide guidelines for the cold-forming process and selecting the correct part. Cold forming is a great way to produce parts.  These are general guidelines for material selection and process optimization.

Instead of using a manufacturing process to remove material, cold forming gives you a near-net-shape part to save money.

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 40 years. Contact us today to request a quote for your cold forming project.


Article By:
Robert Levy

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