What is Cold Forging?

Cold forging - also called cold forming - is a type of metal forging used in a range of different applications, from automotive to electronic to medical device manufacturing. Cold forming involves shaping a blank, often referred to as a "slug," through a process called "deforming."

In traditional forging processes, metal is exposed to high heat to be manipulated. In a cold forging process, the blank is exposed to hydraulic and mechanical pressure at room temperatures to be deformed. This has a number of application-specific advantages ranging from improved consistency to lower costs and more efficient usage of materials.

STS Intelli is a cold forming company that can complete projects of any scale. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits our cold forming services can have for your operation, or contact our office directly to request a quote.

The Cold Forming Process

Cold forming is done at or near room temperature. When working with certain metals, some amount of heat is applied to improve malleability, though temperatures remain well below the recrystallization point.

Cold forming is used to create a variety of shapes and parts. As such, there is no one standard process for shaping blanks. Instead, parts are creating using one or a combination of the following methods:

  • Forward extrusion: Forward extrusion, also known as direct extrusion, is the most common type of cold forming process. In it, force is applied to a metal blank, pushing it into a mold where it is shaped.
  • Backward extrusion: Backward extrusion involves using a punch to move a blank into a mold of the same size. When the blank enters the mold, the punch creates a smaller hole and forces the blank material to shape around it.
  • Upsetting: Upsetting involves forcing a blank into a shorter mold. When the blank hits the back of the mold, excess materials are pushed downward to create a wide top. This method is most commonly used to create fastener heads of various sizes.
  • Trimming: Trimming involves using a die press to shear off excess materials from a part, creating more complex shapes with a higher level of tolerance.
  • Flattening and piecing: Flattening and piercing work exactly as their names imply: using a die press to create flattened components or punch holes in a part without creating metal shavings.

In addition to the above, a number of further processes can be used to form highly complex components in a variety of shapes and sizes. STS Intelli can shave, drill, plate or paint any component to meet your requirements. To learn more about our capabilities and to discuss the details of your project with one of our team members, contact our office directly.

Advantages of Cold Forming

What Are the Main Advantages of Cold Forming?

Forging processes are generally not considered to be an eco-friendly part of the manufacturing process, but cold forging is probably the most eco-friendly process of its kind in operation today. For companies that care about reducing the carbon footprint of their products, the cold forging process can help reduce waste and decrease energy use compared to forging alternatives that use heat.

Other reasons why the cold forming process is the preferred choice include the:

  • High quality of the surface material
  • Consistency of each part manufactured
  • Efficient usage of material

In addition to the reasons listed above and the eco-friendly factor, cold forming is also one of the most cost-effective methods of forging in today’s market. For example, estimates indicate that this process can reduce your part cost as much as 40 to 60%.

If your company is looking for a way to mass produce at a high quality while spending less on your operations, cold forging is the way to go.

What Are Additional Benefits of Cold Forming Components?

The cold forming process is full of benefits for manufacturers. There is less waste material in cold forming. In fact, material yield is almost 100%. With precious metal alloys such as gold and silver, the cost of materials is high. This 100% yield leads to major cost savings during a cold forming process when compared to other methods.

In addition to 100% yield, cold formed parts are very consistent. Other benefits of cold forming include:

  • Higher speeds and lower tooling costs compared to other machining processes
  • Better control over dimensions, creating a higher consistency of formed parts
  • Less energy consumption, which helps reduce carbon footprint and increase savings
  • Product creation without specific machining requirements
  • Improved metal properties via strain hardening
  • Smooth parts that are free of burrs

When cold forming is done correctly, a manufacturer can expect to have almost all scrap eliminated from the forging process as well as a part free from defects, folds and other imperfections. Cold forming can also produce parts with a tight tolerance at a rate of 1000s per hour.

Cold Forming vs. Hot Forming

On a structural level, the key distinction between hot forming and cold forming is that in hot forming, deformation takes place above the metal’s recrystallization point. This has a number of implications for both the finished product and the process by which it is obtained.

By conserving raw materials and reducing the amount of energy required, cold forming is by far the most cost-effective of the two options. Cold forming is also more accurate, and cold-formed parts are better suited for handling high-stress applications.

However, there are downsides to cold forming. Cold-formed parts are less ductile and less chemically consistent, making them unsuitable for certain applications. Hot forming, on the other hand, produces parts with a more uniform grain structure and lower work hardening. Because of the potential for warping during cooling, however, hot-formed parts cannot be used in applications where high dimensional tolerances are required.

Cold Forming Options

STS Intelli offers traditional cold forming, micro-cold forming and cold heading. The micro-cold forming process is one we’ve pioneered to meet the specific needs of contemporary electronics and medical device manufacturers, which often require small, economical parts produced to exceptionally high tolerances.

Traditional and micro-cold forming are both done using a vertical press. Cold heading is a related process that involves the use of a horizontal press to quickly form simple shapes — such as a screw or other fastener.

Whichever process is required, we will ensure you get a high-quality finished product at a low cost. Our cold forming services allow for a great degree of design flexibility and can be used with a range of precious metals, traditional alloys and other materials. We employ sophisticated computer simulation software to ensure optimal results and reduce waste every step of the way.

From the moment you first contact us, you’ll work exclusively with a knowledgeable expert who will take the time to understand your requirements and ensure they are met. Find out for yourself why we’re a leader among cold forging companies, and the preferred choice of demanding clients around the globe. Get in touch today to discover how we can help you.