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Home > Cold Heading

Cold heading

The following links provide introductions to the processing methods used in manufacturing terminals and pins out of wire.

This text offers some introductions to the processing methods used in manufacturing terminals and pins out of wire or rod materials.
The processing methods referred to are cold forging, cold heading, and heading.

Cold heading
Heading and forging
Materials for headed parts
Methods for processing headed parts
Applications of headed parts
Headers and formers
Processing methods applied in manufacture of headed parts

Cold heading

Cold heading (header processing), a core technology of FINECS Group, is a metal working method in which a metallic material is shaped through the application of the appropriate force. The "cold" in cold heading means that the working process attains the intended shape at ordinary temperatures only through impacting, stretching, bending and/or other force applications, without heating the material for deformation.
The primary advantage of cold heading compared to machining and other shaping methods involving material-removal is high volume production at high speed.
Among various other cold heading processes, we at FINECS specialize in heading from wire or rod materials and we offer a variety of components for consumer products, automotive parts, and medical equipment.

Cold heading 1 Cold heading 2 Cold heading 3

Heading and forging

In metal working at ordinary temperatures (cold metal working), the terms "forging" and "heading" have the same basic meaning. When working metal by applying pressure to mold the material to the desired shape, the word "forging" is often used to refer to increasing mechanical strength while also achieving the desired shape through deformation, as the term "forging" is traditionally used. “Heading,” which is a similar metalworking process using high pressure, is called header (former) processing, and it is primarily used to create shapes similar to screw heads.

Materials for headed parts

This section describes the major classes of metals used in cold heading.

Copper (Cu)-based metal alloys

Copper (Cu) ranks second among pure metals in electrical conductivity at room temperature (silver (Ag) is first, followed by Cu and gold (Au)). It is available at relatively low prices compared to other electrically conductive metals and so it sees widespread use in heading processes for the manufacturing of electrical contact terminals.
In order to enhance the basic properties of Cu mentioned above for specific application uses, a variety of Cu-based alloys are used in the heading process.

Pure copper

Pure copper does not contain any additional alloying element, thus demonstrating the high electrical conductivity specific to Cu, although it is inferior to other copper alloys in strength.
The pure copper varieties used in heading processes includes electrolytic tough-pitch copper (C1100), which retains 0.02-0.05% oxygen content to detoxify any impurities which could interfere with conductivity, and oxygen-free copper (C1020), refined to remove as much oxygen contamination as possible to avoid hydrogen embrittlement, a disadvantage of electrolytic tough-pitch copper.

Brass

Brass is an alloy of copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn). As the Zn content increases, it becomes harder but also more brittle. It offers good processability for a variety of heading process needs with adjustment to the alloying agent ratios. Consequently, brass is used not only for electrical parts but also large-sized auto parts and headed parts for building construction.
Primarily C2600 (70% Cu and 30% Zn) and C2700 (65% Cu and 35% Zn) are put into wide use.

Phosphor bronze

This alloy of copper (Cu), tin (Sn) and small amounts of phosphorus (P) constitutes a type of bronze. It features high mechanical strength and spring characteristics. It is also excellent in wear resistance and is non-magnetic, thus finding wide application in springs, switches, gears and other headed parts for various types of electronic equipment.

Ferrous metals

Stainless steel

Stainless steel is a steel alloy with a minimum of 10.5% chromium content by mass added to the principal component Fe to ensure that it does not readily corrode. The chromium content binds with oxygen in the air, creating a protective passivation layer on the surface and thus ensuring higher corrosion resistance.

Other metals

Aluminum

Aluminum is lightweight, approximately 35% less relative density than iron, and excellent in thermal conductivity, electrical conductivity, and ease of processing. It creates a protective film of oxide in the air and as a result provides higher resistance to corrosion. Pure aluminum offers low strength and so aluminum is often used in the form of aluminum alloys. Aluminum sees widespread use in rivets and other headed parts.

Methods for processing headed parts

In the cold heading process, headed parts are manufactured with a combination of "punches" to cause deformation by applying force directly to the material in question and "dies" to hold the material.
Punches and dies are available in various designs for different forms of materials and final intended shapes. They are combined to accommodate a wide variety of heading work, as listed below.

Upsetting

Upsetting refers to a heading process of hitting a material held in dies with a punch in the longitudinal direction to reduce the length of the material while increasing the diameter correspondingly.
It is used in processing the head section of rivets, bolts and other headed parts.

Forward extrusion

Material is placed on a die that is narrower than the material’s original diameter, and is then hit with a punch to drive it through the die and reduce its diameter while correspondingly increasing the material’s length.

Backward extrusion

A material held in dies is hit with a punch having a smaller diameter than the dies and material. The material flows into the space between the dies and punch, forming a cup-like shape.
This is used in the making of blind-rivet shanks, for example.

Applications of headed parts

Parts manufactured through heading, with its advantage of high speed and high-volume production, are used in many places that touch our everyday lives.

Electronic component parts

Connectors, diodes, heat radiation blocks, press-fit terminals, testing and inspection probes, electromechanical components, battery cathodes and anodes, and other various parts intended for electrical conduction, heat radiation, holding and/or sealing are manufactured through heading.

Automobile parts

Headed parts are utilized in the fabrication of terminals and pins for various automobile control units, typified by engine control units (ECUs), as well as pressure sensors and other various vehicle-mounted sensors.
As cars become more electronic, and electric vehicles (EVs) become more common in the future, automobiles will be equipped with even more electronic components. This suggests that the types of available headed parts for automobiles are expected to become more diverse.

Medical equipment parts

A variety of headed parts are used for needle-like and cylindrical shapes used in medical equipment.

Fasteners and fixings

Heading is used in the fabrication of parts used in fastening or fixing, such as bolts, nuts, screws, rivets and others.

Headers and formers

We at FINECS Group design and produce automated machines for heading process in house and use them in the manufacture of our headed parts.
In addition, we also manufacture the dies, punches and other metal forming tools for our heading process. This has helped us to ensure our specific heading maintains high accuracy and consistently reliable quality at affordable prices.

Processing methods applied in manufacture of headed parts

Next we will outline major processes in heading fabrication.