What is cold forming?

Sheet metal can be molded by cold forming.

Cold forming is a manufacturing process in which metal is worked at room temperature to create components and finished products. It can be less expensive and more efficient than other production methods and is used to make a variety of products including fasteners, car parts and building materials. Manufacturers can produce regular runs of specific cold-formed materials as well as customized products upon request from their customers. The cost of production may depend on a design’s specifications and the manufacturer’s level of familiarity with similar components.

In this process, a series of punches and dies are used to manipulate the metal at room temperature. The part may go through several steps to obtain a finished shape. The metals are compressed into shapes and also drilled to create specific shapes, such as threaded screws with protruding heads to hold the screw in place or crafted sheets to sheath car components.

Manufacturers can work a variety of metals with this technique. They evaluate the design specifications to determine which metal to use. Particular properties must be considered, including the point at which the metal can become brittle or begin to fracture, as this can be important in the cold forming process or in the finished product. The purpose of cold forming is to force the metal to flow and maintain a new shape, not to push the metal past the breaking point to produce a part that can fail as a result of cracking and fatigue.

Finished pieces made with this process can be polished and otherwise treated to apply a finish, enhance shine and remove rough edges. Once the part is completely ready, a quality controller can check it to make sure it will be usable and meets specifications. Automatic quality control can do this with the help of cameras and algorithms that can look for specific problems and pull parts for closer inspection if they appear to be defective. Cold forming plants use a range of measures such as automating inspection processes to control quality and limit waste.

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Custom products can get expensive because the company may need to make custom molds and punches, as well as other components such as rollers, to fulfill the order. Companies that need custom components for a specific project can request that manufacturing components be stored for future runs. They will be cheaper because the tooling for cold forming is already set up and the manufacturer does not have to start from scratch.

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