Cold Forming vs. Hot Forming Metal Parts

Hydroforming May 31, 2018

Considerations for Choosing a Metal Forming Process

Jones Metal Products has been deeply committed to superior design and quality parts since 1923. We believe it is important for clients to understand the various metal-forming processes to help them make the best vendor choice. While we don’t perform hot forming services at Jones Metal Products, we try to stay up to date with other processes in our industry. Both hot forming and cold forming form metal into its final shape, but not every metal can be formed by either process. Today, we’ll dive deeper into the difference between hot forming and cold forming.

Cold Forming

During cold forming, a piece of metal is shaped around room temperature. It may be heated by a few degrees, but in general, the metal can only be mildly heated. At Jones Metal Products, we have ample experience with cold forming, both in traditional stamping and in hydroforming.

Our stamping method involves a female and male die tool; the metal is pressed between the two dies until it assumes the desired shape. These dies are relatively expensive to create but have a long lifespan.  Our machines can hit the dies up to 40 or more strikes per minute. This turnaround allows for greater efficiency and cost effectiveness with large volume runs.

With hydroforming, a slower forming method, only one die tool is used. A rubber diaphragm and a wear pad are pressed against the die in the forming chamber. Because fluid pressure is used to form these parts, there’s less metal-on-metal contact; that reduces the number of finishing processes required, which saves time and costs. High-end stainless steel and titanium can be easily cold formed with hydroforming offering cost savings over other techniques.

Hot Forming

A hot forming press is similar to an oven surrounding a die that goes inside a box. The oven needs to be heated to 2000 degrees, which can take about an hour to hit on the die. Then the material is pressed between the male and female portions of the die. Following the initial press, the part is cooled. Hot forming produces about two units per hour, making this ideal for small, detailed orders made of materials that can’t be cold formed. For example, because grade 5 6Al-4V titanium cannot be cold formed, hot forming is an alternative.

Find the Right Forming Process for Your Project

Our customers who use cold forming as an alternative to hot forming tell us that the detailing, shorter timeframes, and lower costs are significant enough to make cold forming their preferred forming method.  We want to help you accomplish more; send us a drawing of your part or call 888-868-6535 to speak with one of our experts.

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Hydroforming, Aluminum Heat Treating & Deep Draw Stamping