Cold Headed Fasteners
Cold headed fasteners are joining mechanisms used in a variety of industries that are typically formed using the cold heading process. While traditional metalworking uses heat or cutting to adjust the shape of a metal blank, cold forming or cold working uses high pressure from a hydraulic press or ram to force a piece of metal into a pre-formed die. The force exceeds the elastic properties of the material in order to deform it into the desired shape.
Metals that are commonly used in the manufacturing of cold headed fasteners include steel, stainless steel and aluminum, titanium, brass, bronze and carbon. Depending on the intended application of the fastener, materials will be chosen based on their tensile strength and other physical properties. The cold heading process is used to make the heads on cylindrical parts such as screws and bolts which are used to align, locate, position, fix or conjoin two or more components.
The addition of automated equipment to the process of cold forming has allowed the volume and speed of product output to increase. The process was traditionally used mostly for producing simple parts, but cold headed fasteners have been able to be more complex as technology and equipment has improved.
The cold heading process has many advantages over the traditional metalworking processes, as it offers consistency, a low quantity of wasted metal and a quick production rate. Consistency in product size, shape and capability is important for fasteners such as steel pins as they are integral components of many other operations.
Cold heading is able to produce piece to piece uniformity as a result of a pre-formed die being used to create the product. Furthermore, as the metal is not cut or melted, there is minimal scrap or waste as a result of the process. Rather, the material is compressed to produce a dense product with increased physical and tensile strength. The process of cold heading often improves the surface finish of a metal by rearranging the grain structure within the material.
Furthermore, as high temperatures are not required in the process, there is savings in not needing to produce large amounts of heat energy. With automated feeding equipment and a hydraulic or mechanical tool and die, the production rate of cold headed fasteners can be high. Cold heading is an ideal fastener solution as it is a highly variable process and can be adjusted to specific requirements and materials.