Cold forming – the extrusion of a part from a blank – is an efficient way of producing robust, complex components in a wide range of materials. And yet, despite the many benefits of this method, cold forming is often overlooked in favour of less efficient alternatives.
It’s tough to explain why this is. Maybe it’s because traditional component manufacturing techniques such as milling and grinding are simply more well known. It could be because some engineers abide by the old saying “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, and therefore see no reason for trying out anything different to their usual methods and techniques, even if they’re less effective and efficient.
One thing we know for sure, however, is that cold forming isn’t overlooked for reasons of cost. In fact, cold forming offers significant cost saving opportunities – and is therefore a much better method for producing many of the components currently manufactured using machining techniques!
So how are cost savings made possible? Well, there are four key areas that combine to allow components to be produced cost effectively – and in most cases at a higher quality than is possible with any other metal forming technique.
Firstly, because cold forming shapes metal without removing any material (much like Plasticine being pushed into a mould), it uses considerably lower amounts of raw materials than machining. So overheads are lower before the manufacturing process even begins.
Secondly, cold forming is one of the very few techniques that usually allows almost any shape to be achieved in a single operation. This reduces the cost required to produce components, as there’s no need for secondary production operations. Compare this with machining, whereby components usually have to go through multiple stages to produce a final part that cold forming could produce in one.
Thirdly, because in most cases cold forming enables the final desired shape to be achieved in one process, the cost of multi-part assembly is either minimised or eliminated altogether.
Finally, cold forming also delivers significant energy saving opportunities and ecological benefits compared with processes such as hot forging, where the high level of heat, and thus energy, required comes at a price to the bill payer and the environment. Consequently, cold forming can contribute to a lower carbon footprint, as well as enhancing productivity and business performance.
Thanks to these key areas, there are opportunities for many businesses to benefit from total component manufacturing cost reductions of up to 70%. And that’s no exaggeration either, depending on your current processes and operations you could be investing considerably more than is necessary.
If you think that might be a possibility, download our free guide to cold forming to learn more about the process and find out if it could work for you. Just click here.