Cold Heading

Cold Heading

Similar to the process of making the head on a bolt, our rod headers can produce a multitude of head shapes, upset collars in from the end of the part, and even extrude the end of the part in preparation for roll threading.

Through the use of coil and magazine feed headers, we have the flexibility and speed that allows us to quickly head both ends of a part, as well as our multiple-blow capability that allows us to hit the same part multiple times to form a difficult end feature.

This capability, coupled with our magazine feed CNC bending machines, set us apart from our competition in the world of coil feed CNC machines and allows us to produce headed wire form parts at an extremely competitive price.

Cold Heading Process

Wire is fed into a machine, chopped into bits, and hammered as part of the cold heading process. The material is shaped at room temperature without being heated or machined. When producing huge amounts, this technique is incredibly efficient and economical because it allows for the formation of material rather than its removal.

Clark Engineering manufactures practically all fastener forms, including various upset configurations, unique head shapes, and replacements for multi-part assemblies. We develop and produce our own bespoke tooling. There are numerous advantages to cold heading your supply requirements.


Improved physical properties; High Speed Production Rates; Large Volume Capabilities; Less Wasteful Use of Raw Materials – Lower cost compared to machining – Able to handle a wide range of diameters. There are numerous secondary procedures available to finish fully customized items. Standard and non-standard configurations are built to the customer’s specifications.

Simple Cold Heading

Cold heading, also known as cold forming, is a technique for gradually shaping metal into components that are net-shaped or nearly so. The cold heading machine creates a part by using a sequence of strong hammers and dies to shape a slug that is cut from a continuous coil of wire material as a starting point. With this method, there is minimal to no waste produced, material costs are significantly reduced, and the beginning slug and finished item have roughly the same volume. Since the material is being shaped into the die rather than being cut from the blank, the net volume stays the same. The cold heading procedure improves the material’s grain flow while producing a product that is stronger and has smooth continuous surfaces.


A progression is the process of steadily improving to a more advanced condition. Each stage of the development, which begins with the slug, brings the material closer to taking on its final shape. Many simple fasteners can be completed in 1-2 blows from a cold heading machine, however intricate fasteners frequently require a longer process.

Not every part progresses the same way. There is a distinct series of punches, dies, and hammers designed to a precise specification for each type of fastener or component. The progression’s design also takes into account the necessary materials.

Copper and aluminum are examples of soft metals that will form more easily, but stainless steel and nickel alloy may require numerous hits to take on their final forms.

Fundamental Forming Methods

Two fundamental processes utilized in cold headed manufacturing are upsets and extrusions. These methods entail carefully shaping a substance by providing enough pressure to have it fill a void inside a die. To ensure the right amount of material movement during the process, each die is designed appropriately.

The most popular and fundamental method of cold heading used today is upsets. When the beginning diameter is increased while the slug’s height is decreased, an upset is created. This method is frequently employed to construct the part’s head, and depending on the upset position and shape, it may be formed with open tooling, between tooling, or enclosed tooling. Integral components could need various heads and diameters. Different upsets are included at various stages of the part’s development to produce these intricate arrangements. 

Extrusion is another popular cold heading method. Extrusions can be classified into two categories: forward and backward. Forward extrusions push the material through an orifice with a smaller diameter, decreasing its diameter and lengthening it.

Before this form of extrusion begins, the beginning material may be confined in the tooling entirely or partially. While being trapped in a die or punch insert, backward extrusions cause material to flow around a piercing punch or pin. In most cases, this extrusion is utilized to create a hole or cavity inside a part.

Since 1946, Clark Engineering has been a premier provider of custom formed metal rod, wire, and tube products that meet and exceed our customer’s expectations.

We have consistently enhanced our processes to help our clients in lowering costs, while manufacturing highly specialized components with unparalleled quality as the industry’s best and leading cold headed supplier.

To get a quote or find out if cold heading is appropriate for you, get in touch with us right now!

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