When it comes to forging metal, usually the image of intense heat, large furnaces, molten alloys, and and traditional casting comes to mind. However, intense heat is not always ideal when setting out to retain both tensile strength, and and the overall hardness of the metal you're trying to form. A process called cold forming allows for metal forging at temperatures around 70°F. Cold forming is a method of forging that utilizes a metal blank shaped at near room temperature into a useable form. It is a popular option for projects that require micro manufacturing.
There is a range of advantages of industrial cold forging. Utilizing the technique in your manufacturing process can help you reduce waste, save money and create complex geometries with metals and alloys not conducive to other forging techniques.
Through complex machines that operate at high speeds and tremendous pressures, metal blanks are shaped into components using dies. Single dies have applications for many components and help maintain product consistency. Cold forming and cold heading manufacturing are extremely flexible processes, allowing for the creation of multifaceted parts. If you are seeking to create components with a wide range of geometries, but are micro manufacturing or using difficult alloys, cold forming allows you achieve your goals through part transfer and multiple dies.
Cold forming also offers versatility for many different metals and alloys. In many cases, cold forming is the only option for projects that require precious alloys. If the alloy you want to use is considered to be "too gummy" for normal machining — such as gold, nickel, silver or tantalum — and the design is micro, then your only option for bringing the product to life may be cold forming.
At STS Intelli, we perform micro cold forming utilizing precious metal and traditional alloys. Similar to our traditional cold forming process, our micro cold forming process is less expensive than conventional forging with almost 100 percent material yield. There is almost no scrap leftover. When you are working with precious metal alloys, "no scrap" is essential to protecting your bottom line. You’ll spend less over time while also keeping your carbon footprint down.
Required Tools for Cold Forming and Cold Heading
With both cold forming and cold heading, the most common tools needed are a die and a punch. While cold forming utilizes vertical presses, cold heading uses horizontal presses for different results. Punches are the tools used to apply the needed speed and force to the metal slug, which is contained in a die that directly controls the dimensions, geometries and results that occur during the cycle.
Cold Forming and Cold Heading Processes
As mentioned above, cold forming is performed by utilizing a metal blank formed at high pressure and high speed using a die. Cold forming uses both hydraulic and mechanical vertical presses. Dies punch a blank, or slug, of a specified volume into a shaped component of the slug's exact same volume. This is why there is no scrap left over after process completion. By eliminating waste, cold forming is one of the most economical and precise methods of forging.
Cold heading is a similar, but volume specific, process. It utilizes horizontal presses, which use metal wires to shape complex parts at a high speed. Machines called cold-headers, or part formers, play a part in the cold heading process similar to cold forming. However, unlike cold heading, cold forming has the potential to create extremely intricate components.
At STS Intelli, we combine traditional cold-forming techniques, which involve manipulating your metal at low temperatures using hydraulic and mechanical methods, with modern engineering, design and simulation software. These elements allowed us to design a cold forming process using tools and dies to achieve high-quality products. We will assign a custom cold forming specialist to work with you to provide consistent, high-value parts according to your unique requirements.
Common Techniques of Cold Forming
Depending on the desired shape of your product, we use different methods of cold forming to achieve different results. Take a look below at a few of the most common methods for shaping the metal through the process.
- Forward Extrusion — One of the most common methods is called impact extrusion. As with other forms of cold forming, a specific product volume is set through the size of the slug. Completing the forward extrusion process involves punching metal through a hole in the die. This produces a smaller cross section than the original slug.
- Backward Extrusion — Similar to the forward extrusion method, backward extrusion is another popular method of shaping metal through cold forming. Instead of punching the metal through a small hole to create an extrusion, the metal is pushed backward around the vertical press's punching mechanism, which can be used to create a blind hole or cup shape.
- Combined Extrusion — For some products, an engineer can combine methods of extrusion simultaneously when forging.
- Upsetting — To create diameters larger than the starting diameter of the blank, upsetting is the technique of choice. Upsetting works by forcing the metal outward from the die. Forgers often use this valuable technique to create complex components in a single cycle. Upsetting methods also have applications in flattening metal, depending on the desired result.
Cold Form Micro Manufacturing in Technology Applications
At STS Intelli, we can produce strips of precious alloy materials that are only microns thick. In addition to working with such thin strips, we also eliminate nearly all scrap to produce high quality parts with close tolerances as well as other micro contact components. Micro manufactured components are essential in aerospace applications, medical devices, computers and electronics. If you are looking for customization, we can meet your unique requirements and provide the numerous benefits of cold forming small parts.
To function properly, components installed in almost every computer and electronic device require a unique blend of precious metal alloys. Without all of the properly connected cords, plugs and wires, microchips can’t function, and your devices are nothing more than boxes of plastic and metal. As the latest computers and electronics shrink in size, the cold forming process becomes essential to the assembly of each device. STS Intelli has the experience with cold forming of precious metal alloys to take on any project — micro or standard size — that the computer and electronics industry can create.
Thanks to our industry-best hydraulic press and mechanical press, it doesn’t matter if your company needs microchips assembled or micro rivets and sensors added to the motherboard. Cold forming is about to become the most important process of creating your next game-changing device. Our hardworking and dependable staff will match the specifications and tolerances needed for any component.
Cold Form Micro Molding in Medical Devices
As with complex components for computer systems and electronics, medical devices are requiring smaller components as technology advances. While medical devices and implants already require precise assembly and manufacturing, the products that have biocompatible components require an even greater quality and attention to detail. When deformities such as folding or other imperfections are unacceptable, micro cold forming is the only option you have for product development without high risk. Regardless of what standard or precious metal alloys your project requires, STS Intelli can complete the process of micro manufacturing your medical or dental device at a competitive cost with little to no waste.
Cold form micro manufacturing processes are key to the production of medical and dental devices. Medical devices and dental implants have numerous components that require precisely assembled cold forming processes. Hearing aids, devices for drug delivery, endoscopy and implants all require precious materials and precise manufacturing. If you’re looking for medical device component manufacturers, STS Intelli has the expertise and track record of quality production to make your product a reality.
Micro Cold Forging in the Aerospace Industry
As with many micro cold forming companies, STS Intelli specializes in forming complex, precision parts that are utilized in a variety of technology industries including aerospace. Complex and critical components used in the engines of aircraft require specialized manufacturing. In this industry, precision and durability are mission-critical with every component. Even the slightest malfunction can mean the difference between life and death. When done correctly, cold forming is a preferred forging method in aerospace, because the diminished likelihood of defects or folds in the precious alloy parts.
While you can’t always prepare for where your journey will take you, the components we manufacture using cold forming will withstand extreme environments. STS Intelli uses advanced technology and top-of-the-line materials to ensure each piece we manufacture is an industry leader.
At STS Intelli, we can produce the components that meet any specification, tolerance and with any alloy including titanium. Titanium is often used in aircraft components because of its light weight, durability and strength. Our staff is experts at cold forming titanium using intelligent, optimized predictions, and design to create tooling for our titanium cold forging process. The result is minimal scrap, minimal energy costs and high-quality parts with the dimensions, tolerances and surface finishes you require. Let us share with you the benefits of cold forging titanium and explain to you how we are the perfect partner for your next titanium project.
Cold Forming Micro Parts for the Automotive Industry
Cold forming can manufacture everything from automotive assemblies to complex structural components made of steel and aluminum. There is a high likelihood that your car contains at least one cold formed component. The automotive industry has a wide variety of applications and technologies, but each corner of the industry shares the same responsibilities: be precise and durable so both drivers and passengers stay safe. Manufacturers in this industry share the same responsibility.
At STS Intelli, we are committed to producing safe, lightweight products that meet the requirements of the industry. We can take on any automotive project, thanks to our industry-best mechanical and hydraulic press system. Whether your company needs components for the auto body, power train or gear components, cold forming the parts should be an important part of your automotive design. Forging micro parts for automobiles requires precision and consistency, making it ideally suited to the cold forming process. We understand the strict requirements of the industry, and ensure the highest quality parts while providing limited to no waste to maximize your bottom line.
Commonly Micro Cold Formed Parts
As mentioned above, a variety of industries require the manufacture of complex, intricate components through the cold forming process, but some of the most commonly manufactured parts come in the form of fasteners, rivets, eyelets, cold headed pins, valve components and electrical contacts and leads. Because cold formed metal is punched through a die at very high pressure, the natural creation of components eliminates sharp edges and increases the overall tensile strength of the metal. Cold forming results in improved hardness, durability and better fatigue performance. In addition, it allows for the formation of parts with complex geometrics from difficult alloys and metals, without problems that other forging methods create. With almost no scrap, the specified volume is all that’s used in the process, resulting in much less waste and cost savings in the long term. In addition, the ability to produce multiple components quickly without the need for additional work or labor can also help save money and increase profitability.
Why Choose STS Intelli?
With more than 80 years of industry experience, STS Intelli is a trusted supplier of micro-formed parts that provide a reliable solution for applications where micromachinery is no longer available. At STS Intelli, we offer components manufacturing at a very competitive cost using high-performance precious metal alloys. Our processes make sure you have consistency and quality in each production run. Even if you have a small or low volume project, cold forming services from STS Intelli can bring your vision to life.
By utilizing micro cold forming process, you will receive quality, product consistency and savings. Our cold forging hydraulic and mechanical presses are designed to give repeatable, high-precision dimensions to all of your parts, resulting in extremely low scrap and defect rates In addition, low cold forging energy consumption contributes to piece prices anywhere from 40 percent to 60 percent cheaper than parts from a comparable hot forging process.
If you are starting a large project, or seeking a way to manufacture a prototype, contact us today for a free quote. Meeting your most stringent requirements with first-rate service and superior metalworking and cold forming processes is our mission, but making you happy is our goal.