Cold heading or cold forming of precision parts is a high speed efficient process. This makes cold forming a very attractive alternative to screw machining or conventional machining.
Production speeds are 50 to 400 parts per minute, compared to 1 or 2 parts per minute in screw machining. Material waste is close to zero, while in screw machining, material waste can be 70% or more.
As a result of the high production rates and yield, cold formed part prices are typically only 40-60% of machined part prices. If the material is very expensive, such as precious metals like gold, platinum, silver, and palladium, cold forming results in significant cost advantages.
Tooling cost is very reasonable, usually only a few hundred dollars. The most expensive tool sets, for multi-station headers, are typically only a few thousand dollars.
For metals that are very difficult to machine due to their poor chip-breaking tendencies, cold forming is often the best alternative. Examples include nickel, gold, pure copper, tantalum, palladium, and others.
Many metals benefit from the cold work imparted during cold forming. This results in strain hardening of the material and improved strength.
Cold formed metal has natural radii on most corners and undercuts. This is a natural result of the material flow as it fills the die under the very high pressures used in cold forming. The resulting freedom from burrs and sharp edges, along with the increased tensile strength, can result in improved toughness and fatigue performance
More information about materials, geometries, and tolerances can be found on our Cold Forming Tolerances and Technical Data page.