Cold forming Can Be a Better Value than Screw Machining

Most machine and component designers lean toward the techniques they are familiar with and understand, either from their education or direct experience. So, when most NPD engineers look to source micro-miniature components, they naturally gravitate to machining operations, like screw machining, rather than cold forming, because they are comfortable with the capabilities of machining centers.

Madan Mathevan, Sussex Wire’s VP of Engineering, says, “In many cases, a cold formed part can be made just as well – or better – and far less expensively than screw machined parts. But the finished part must meet the capabilities of cold forming and secondary machines for designers to take advantage of the savings.”

Other benefits of cold forming versus screw machining include:

  • 20 to 80 times more parts per minute
  • Better strength from material compression
  • No deburring necessary
  • Virtually no scrap
  • Very little lubrication use or recycling cost

View our self-guided presentation, “Cold Heading vs Screw Machining, Pros and Cons for NPD Engineers.

The requirements for manufacturing micro or miniature cold formed parts are simple and straightforward. Continues Madan, “If we can share these simple criteria to designers unfamiliar with cold forming’s capabilities and strengths, my job would be easy!” These criteria are:

  • Part size: Made from wire diameters 3/8" or smaller, virtually any malleable alloy
  • Geometry: Axially symmetrical, optionally with multiple diameters, heads and detents
  • Secondary: Available to produce threaded, knurled or lightly machined shapes
  • Quantity: 500,000/year minimum; the higher the quantity, the greater the savings

Some typical shapes well suited to cold forging are shown below:

“So,” concludes Madan, “any time you have a part that fits these criteria, send us a print and we'll surprise and delight you with a price that you'll love!”

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