The process of cold heading uses force to shape a metal blank into a shape of a punch and die. The process is called cold forming because the metal is cooler than in many hot forging processes, where the metal is near the melting point during forging. Most cold forged processes still heat the metal some, but the heating process takes place in a separate machine from the punching and die forming process. A cold headed part is formed when the metal’s yield strength is exceeded. When this happens, the material flows into the die, and transforms into that size and shape of object.
Surprisingly enough, cold heading parts can actually produce more precise parts than other parts manufacturing processes. Because of the specific shape of the die, it is possible to create small precision parts without the need for extra machining or tooling. It is possible to make small and complex contacts, rivets, miniature components, electronic components, and electrodes. Cold heading also is cheaper and faster than many other metal forming processes.