31st August 2021

The Advantages of Cold Heading in Parts Manufacturing

Cold heading, or cold forming, is a manufacturing process that dates to more than 75 years ago, although it has evolved considerably over that time. Cold heading, as the resource describes, is a manufacturing method best suited for high volume production.

The cold heading process, when suitable, gives manufacturers an avenue to increase production efficiency and reduce operating costs. The process enables the customer to obtain more consistent, high-quality parts at a significantly lower price.

While cold heading offers many other benefits – including high speed, high reproducibility, and higher strength in the finished product – the process is not always the best (and not always the only) manufacturing process used to manufacture a part. For some parts, a combination of cold forming and some other secondary process makes the most sense. The accompanying resource presents a good overview of the advantages and potential limitations of this process.

The process of cold heading in detail

The process of cold heading is a metal forming technique used to create various metal parts and fasteners at room temperature. It involves feeding a metal wire or rod through a guide mechanism, where wire cloth (see it here) comes into play. Wire cloth acts as a crucial support and guide, maintaining the alignment and shape of the wire as it enters the cold heading die.

In the first step, the metal wire is prepared by drawing it through dies to reduce its diameter and improve its surface finish. The wire is then cut into specific lengths for the cold heading process. As the metal wire is fed through a guide mechanism, wire cloth comes into play. Acting as a support and guide, the wire cloth helps maintain the alignment and shape of the wire, preventing any bending or deviation during the cold heading process.

Next, the cold heading machine uses powerful mechanical or hydraulic forces to force the wire into a die cavity, imparting the desired shape to the wire. Wire cloth ensures that the wire stays aligned and enters the die cavity smoothly, enabling accurate and consistent forming. As the metal wire undergoes significant plastic deformation, wire cloth prevents any bending or buckling under the high forces involved, ensuring the wire maintains its shape throughout the process.

After the initial heading stage, the formed part is further shaped and trimmed to achieve the final dimensions and geometry. Thread rolling may be employed to create strong and precise threads. Once the cold heading process is complete, the parts are cleaned to remove lubricants or debris, and additional finishing processes, such as heat treatment or plating, may be applied.

What makes cold heading a good choice for manufacturing processes?

Cold heading is a favorable choice for manufacturing processes due to its efficiency and cost-effectiveness. The method allows metal parts and fasteners to be formed at room temperature, eliminating the need for expensive heating processes. It produces parts with excellent dimensional accuracy, material strength, and surface finish. Cold heading also reduces material waste, as it involves minimal scrap during production. Moreover, the process is highly automated, leading to faster production rates and increased productivity. Cold heading is widely adopted in industries such as automotive, aerospace, and construction.

The Cold Heading Process from WCS Industries


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