Cold Forming Offers Many Advantages Over Traditional Machining Processes

By Trey Taguchi | March 01, 2022

Cold forming miniature metal components provides cost savings, waste reduction, faster processing, and superior finished component quality compared to traditional machining and cutting processes.

Cold forming, also known as cold heading or cold forging, is a manufacturing and metalworking process that forms miniature metal components such as connector pins without the use of heat or cutting away excess material.

Cold forming is accomplished through a process in which a coil of wire of a predetermined diameter is fed into a cold heading machine and cut to a desired length. This cut piece of metal is then transferred through a series of punches and dies which form, bend, join, and shape the part to create the desired final shape. The high pressure dies use an amount of force or tonnage that is proper for the metal type and desired final product dimensions. No heat is needed in this process and the metal ultimately maintains its original length, width, and thickness (or flatness).

In a traditional machining process, bar stock of a specific raw material is cut to create the shape. Although the starting stock can be close to the final dimensions, cutting is necessary to reach the final size and shape, resulting in excess material. The process involves high heat and subsequent cooling, which subject the metal to stress and impacts the structural integrity of the metal. Many metals are suitable for cold forming, including gold, nickel, copper, steel, brass, and aluminum.

cold forrming vs machining

Cold forming versus machining

Cold forming offers several key advantages over traditional machining techniques:

  • Cold forming can be accomplished at higher production speeds. With this process, production speeds can range from 150-400 pieces per minute. This time-sensitive production results in additional cost-savings and gives companies the ability to respond quickly to client needs; cold formed products can be supplied quickly for assembly with short lead times.
  • Secondary processes, such as deburring, welding, bending, punching, and blanking are eliminated, as the dies help achieve the desired final product shape.
  • Cold forming produces zero material waste, saving costs by reducing the volume of valuable metals needed and eliminating post-production waste handling.
  • It is a more environmentally friendly process due to the reduced energy use accomplished by taking heating and cooling out of the equation. Using cold forming processes helps companies lower carbon emissions, an increasingly high priority as more companies implement higher environmental standards for regulatory compliance or company initiatives.
  • Finally, cold forming produces stronger, higher quality finished components, which help suppliers create superior final components that operate longer in the field. Because cold forming does not interrupt the grain structure or flow of the raw material, the finished part has greater material integrity. The greater product strength that cold forming offers is extremely critical in high-reliability markets and electronics used in demanding operating environments where component integrity is essential to performance under pressure.

Cold-formed components offer meaningful advantages to manufacturers in terms of final product quality. These parts usually have more precise and accurate dimensions since they are not exposed to any heating processes that cause metal to shrink or expand. This is a significant advantage in the world of subminiature or nano-miniature electronics, where components may be just a few millimeters in size.

Heading is a basic cold forming process. Byora’s 1,200 formers and headers produce 12 billion parts per year.

A wide range of component parts can be created through cold forming, including connector pins, electrical contacts, sockets, fasteners, rivets, and custom-made parts. Shapes that can be accomplished through this process include bends, holes, flattening, and press fitting. Secondary processes can add threads, ridges, knurls, grid patterns, rings, and lettering.

cold forming products

A wide range of standard and custom parts can be made through cold forming processes.

Cold forming manufacturers may also offer secondary fabrication processes, including rolling, machining, bending, pressing, fastening, and plastic molding. Plating and other surface treatments can be applied to create a final product.

A specialist in cold forming can work closely with component designers and OEMs to design a complete product that will perform well, provide longevity in operation, and meet time and cost requirements. The end result should be an exceptional product that serves well in the field.

Visit Byora USA to learn more about cold forming processes.

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Trey Taguchi
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