A Heading machine is an industrial equipment that transforms metal wire into a finished intricately shaped piece without applying heat. The process, also known as cold forming, uses a replicated sequence of dies and hammers to create a finished part from the blank metal stock. It is highly effective for making fasteners, and compared to screw machining it reduces material waste and production costs. However, the process does require high-quality raw materials.
When you are producing small parts with tight tolerances, such as screws, using the cold heading process is a good way to get stronger pieces more efficiently. The cold forming process eliminates many steps and saves money, time, and labor. Unlike metal cutting, which produces substantial amounts of scrap, heading eliminates the need for secondary processes such as trimming and piercing.
This manufacturing method is also environmentally friendly and creates less noise than other machining operations. Moreover, it is easier to handle and control the process of forming metal. It is also safer for employees to work with, since it doesn’t involve any heat. Lastly, it allows for faster turnaround times and produces pieces with tighter tolerances than screw machining.
The first step of the cold forming process is to cut a piece of raw metal wire to the desired length. It is then pulled through a wire draw box to change the diameter of the stock to match the specific fastener size. It is then fed into the cold header machine where it is manipulated by the reciprocating ram and a series of dies and punches.
In the cold forming process, the initial slug is forced through the die using one of two techniques: upset forging or backward extrusion. Both methods use a punch block to force the metal into the die, but each has its own distinct advantage. Upsetting is the most common method used today, and it may be used with open tooling, trapped tooling, or both – depending on the design of the head and the slug’s starting diameter. Backward extrusion is used to make internal drive recesses in most screw heads.
Once the slug has been formed to the desired shape, it is then transferred to another die. The transfer is important, as it needs to be timed correctly to avoid letting the part slip out of the die. This is why it requires a skilled setup technician to operate the machine.
The final stage of the cold forming process is called trim and piercing. In most cases, the piercing is the last step of the heading operation, as it is used to shear the web and create a continuous hole. The trim process is usually performed by a punch, but it can be done with a die if the head is complex enough.
While the cold forming process is relatively new, its benefits have proven to be significant for a wide range of industries. Its ability to manufacture fasteners more efficiently while saving costs and resources has been a huge advantage for manufacturers in all sectors.