The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
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. Once thought of as an option suitable for small fasteners only, cold heading today is used with great success for parts in a wide range of metals, sizes and configurations.
Cold heading, as the resource describes, is a manufacturing method best suited for high volume production. Because tooling is required and the process involves high-speed equipment, cold heading seldom (if ever) makes sense for short runs under 5,000. However, if you are currently using traditional machining on a high-volume part, the cost savings of cold heading could have an enormous impact on unit cost. Cold heading production speeds typically range from 50 parts per minute to 350 parts per minute and up — far greater than traditional machining production rates.
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. For more on the cold heading process, check out the infographic below!