Hot Vs. Cold Forming

When I think of shaping metals the first thing that comes to mind is forgeries and blacksmiths. The weapons, armor or horseshoes in my mind are heated to extreme temperatures so they can be formed with an anvil and hammer. It is then cooled to keep its form. I didn’t know that metal can also be formed at room temperature. There are two main methods used to form metals today; cold forming and hot forming. As their names imply, the main difference between the two is how hot the metals are when they are formed.

Hot forming requires a lot of heat before the metals can be formed. It takes a lot of energy to bring metals to these astounding temperatures and a bit of material is wasted in the process. The end size must also be estimated because products will shrink when cooled. Like most materials, metals increase in size when hot. On the other hand, there is cold forming. Companies such as stainless steel pins manufacturers use cold forming because it saves energy and produces stronger metals. Since products don’t need to be heated, there is no energy required to produce high enough temperatures to bend the metal. Also, because metals are deformed and not cut, they are stronger and stay intact. There is no need to estimate end size for cold formed parts because the product does not need to cool off.

As far as cost is concerned, it depends on the project and how familiar a manufacturer is with the components. Products that require custom dies and punches will increase the price. Cold forming seems like it is the better for most cases but it depends on the project. Cold forming has limits to what is possible and can only be used for products with a small thickness. Hot forming, or hot-rolled steel, can produce a wider range of shapes and thicknesses.

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