What Is a Heading Machine

Heading machine is a machine used in mechanical manufacturing for shaping raw materials into shaped or designed parts without heat. The process is also known as cold forming. The method is highly efficient and offers significant cost savings. However, it requires high quality raw materials.

The metal is formed in a series of progressive steps into net or near-net shaped parts with very little to no waste. It begins with a slug cut from a coil of wire material and uses a series of powerful hammers and dies to form the part. The cold forming process allows for much higher production rates than machining and produces superior results.

A cold heading machine can be set up to create various types of fasteners and other metal products such as rivets, bolts, nails, screws, etc. These machines are capable of transforming a simple slug into a complex, intricately shaped fastener or component with tight tolerances using a sequence of tooling progressions at speeds up to 300 pieces per minute.

To start the process, the slug is fed into the machine through a wire draw box. This changes the diameter of the stock to the specific diameter required for the fastener it will later become. The blank is then pulled into a cold heading machine and positioned between a punch block and a die. The blank is then hit with a hammer. Each hit forms the material into a different shape or design of the fastener.

While the process is fairly simple, a cold heading machine cannot perform other operations such as rolling, stamping, or bending. This is because a hammer can only strike the blank with enough force to shape it. The more complex the fastener, the longer the progression will be to form it into its final shape.

The two last processes that can be performed on a headed fastener are trimming and piercing. Trimming cuts off the excess metal from an outside surface of the part, while piercing involves thrusting a pin into the die to open up an internal hole. There is a small amount of offal produced during these processes, but it is a fraction of the scrap generated by metal cutting methods such as machining.

While the cold forming process can produce almost any type of fastener, certain alloys work better for some applications than others. It is important that the metallurgical analysis of each grade of metal is closely controlled in order to ensure maximum cold forming capability. This will guarantee that the finished fastener has the best possible strength, durability, and performance. Using the right type of alloy will also extend the lifespan of the dies used in the process. For instance, a softer grade of stainless steel can be worked more easily than a harder one. This makes the production of stainless steel fasteners more cost-effective. This is especially true for applications requiring the use of a larger number of fasteners.

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