Offshore Sourcing for Cold Heading
Sun Fast provides strategic sourcing for the cold head fabrication of metal parts and components. Our cold heading partners can deliver high quality, custom metal products manufactured to your design specifications.
The Cold Heading Process
Cold heading is a metalworking process that utilizes high speed, automated equipment to form metal (usually in the form of wire or strip) into finished parts. Complex parts with tight tolerances can be created quickly and cost-effectively through the cold head fabrication process. Additionally, cold headed forgings can be repeated with near-perfect precision in quantities in the tens of thousands.
Cold Heading Stages
- Spool Insertion - After the material has been selected (based on the part’s size, geometry, and application) the cold head fabrication process begins with a spool of metal wire or strip being fed into a roller at the head of the processing machine. The wire then unspools into the cold heading machine and is cut to the needed length which ends up producing the final part.
- Progressive Die - Blanks are then moved through a series of progressive dies. Dies are engineered to design specification and custom-made for the cold head fabrication project at hand. Once a blank has been inserted into a die, it is struck by a punch that presses the material into the die cavity. Automation carries the blank from die to die; as it progresses through the different dies in turn, the blank is gradually formed into the final cold heading part shape.
- Part Production - Once the die progression and feedstock material is in place, cold heading can produce parts at a rapid pace. The process also produces very little scrap material. These factors make cold heading a highly efficient and cost-effective manufacturing method.
In cold headed forgings, multiple strikes may be required at each die station to properly shape the blank. The number of strikes and the number of dies required is determined by the part’s design requirements. Care must be taken in cold head fabrication when creating the die progression: too much material deformation in a single strike, or too large a dimensional variation from one die to the next, can weaken the metal and result in poor quality parts. Ultimately, effective cold heading depends on finding the minimum number of dies/steps in the process, while preserving the tensile strength of the material.
Because it is a cold working process, cold heading automatically provides work hardening of the base metal. This results in finished parts that are stronger than the original material from which they’re made.
Cold Heading Industrial Applications
Sun Fast’s cold heading partners can produce parts in a wide variety of sizes. This including those with numerous metal makeups, and those with custom configurations to meet the needs of almost any application. Due to these options, we serve clients in a broad spectrum of industries including:
- Medical & Dental – We provide extremely small cold headed metal parts made from, or plated with, biocompatible materials for dental implants and medical devices.
- Automotive & Aerospace – Sun Fast also provides cold headed forgings for the automotive and aerospace industries that are made from carbon steel or other high strength materials.
- Electronic Devices – Cold head fabrication is also used to produce solid and bimetal contact rivets for electronic devices.
The unique, “custom” nature of the cold heading process allows for almost unlimited possibilities in part design.
Cold Headed Advantages & Disadvantages
There are several advantages that are associated with the cold heading process, there are also a few disadvantages that should also be considered before committing yourself to the process. Cold heading is sought after due to the shapes and contours that can be achieved through this method. It is also significantly less costly than other types of fabrication processes, such as hot forging. Some of the more significant advantages and disadvantages of cold headed fabrication, include:
- Faster throughput over machining
- Higher cost savings through reduced metal scrap
- Consistent, higher quality production
- Increased tensile strength
- Best for high volume, simple shaped production runs
- Less ductile
- May create residual stress
Choose Cold Heading with Sun Fast
Sun Fast’s offshore cold heading specialists use only high quality materials in their production processes. They utilize high performance, state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment to meet the cold head fabrication needs of our customers with exceptional precision and part-to-part repeatability. We can deliver finished products in quick turnaround times to meet the needs of your schedule, in quantities to meet your demands, and at prices to fit your budget.