What is Cold Heading?

What exactly is Cold Heading? Let’s begin by defining the general term along with the basic principles of involved in the cold heading process.

Cold Head·ing
/kōld/ /‘hediNG/


  1. The process of progressively forming a specified shape from metal wire without adding heat – using a replicated series of dies, hammers, and punches at high speed.

Cold Heading Machine - Chun Zu

Simply put: cold heading is feeding wire into a machine, cutting it into pieces, and hammering on it. The material is not heated or machined, but formed into its desired shape at room temperature. The ability to form material instead of removing it deems this process extremely efficient and cost effective when manufacturing large quantities.

At Grandeur Fasteners, we design and fabricate our own custom tooling and manufacture nearly all fastener forms including multiple upset configurations, customized head shapes, and substitutions for multi-part assemblies. Converting your supply needs to cold heading can benefit in many ways.

  • Tight Tolerances
  • High Speed Production Rates
  • Large Volume Capabilities
  • Reduced Raw Material Waste
  • Improved Physical Properties
  • Reduction in Cost Vs Machining
  • Capabilities Include a Large Range of Diameters
  • Standard and non-standard configurations are made to the customer’s specifications
  • Many secondary operations available to complete fully customized parts

Cold Heading Basics

Cold heading (or cold forming) is a method of forming metal in progressive steps into net shaped or near net shaped parts. Starting with a slug, which is cut from a continuous coil of wire material; the cold heading machine uses a series of powerful hammers and dies to form a part. This process creates very little to no waste, offers significant material cost savings, and the volume of the starting slug is about the same as the finished part. The net volume remains the same since the material is being formed into the die, rather than cut from the blank. The cold heading process creates a stronger part, with smooth continuous surfaces while enhancing the grain flow of the material.

Formax 2000 - Cold Heading Machine


In contrast, metal cutting operations are typically slow and can generate as much as 60% waste.

Cold heading is more efficient than machining, allowing rapid production of large quantities while maintaining tolerances as close as +/- .002″ without secondary operations.




A progression is the process of developing gradually towards a more advanced state. Starting with the slug, each step of the progression forms the material closer and closer to its’ final shape. Intricate fasteners often require a longer progression than simple fasteners, as many simple fasteners may be completed in 1-2 blows from a cold heading machine.

Progressions are not the same for every part. Each type of fastener or component has its’ very own series of punches, dies, and hammers which have been engineered to a unique specification. Material requirements also play a role in how the progression is designed. Softer metals will form more readily (e.g. Copper, Aluminum) while harder metals (e.g. Stainless Steel, Nickel Alloy) may require multiple blows to achieve its’ final form.

Basic Forming Techniques

Upsets and extrusions are two basic types of techniques used in cold headed manufacturing. These techniques involve the controlled forming of a material by applying enough force for the material to fill a voided space within a die. Each die is engineered accordingly, to produce the proper amount of material movement throughout the progression.


Cold Heading Upset


Upsets are the most common and basic technique used in cold heading today. An upset is formed when the slug is reduced in height and the starting diameter is increased. This technique is often used to create the head of the part, and may be formed with open tooling, between tooling, or enclosed tooling – depending on the upset location and shape. Integral parts may require multiple heads and diameters. To achieve these complex configurations, different upsets are incorporated throughout the part’s progression.



Another common cold heading technique is called an extrusion. There are two types of extrusions: forward extrusions, and backward extrusions.

Cold Heading Forward Extrusion                                                                              Cold Heading Backward Extrusion

Forward extrusions force the material through a smaller diameter orifice, thereby reducing its diameter and increasing its length. The starting material may be partially or totally contained in the tooling before the start of this type of extrusion.

Backward extrusions force material to flow around a penetrating punch or pin while being contained in a die or punch insert. This extrusion is typically used to form a hole or cavity inside a part.

Secondary Operations

Complex fasteners and components often require secondary operations to produce finished parts. These operations cannot be performed on a cold heading machine and are complimentary to the cold heading process.

  • Thread Roll
  • Drill and Tap
  • Knurling and Grooving
  • Stamping
  • Heat Treat
  • Plating
  • Grind and Shave
  • Metal Finishing & Polishing
  • CNC Milling
  • Flatten
  • Pierce

 Grandeur Fasteners – Cold Headed Products

Cold heading was originally created to manufacture fasteners. However, given today’s technological advancements and research, cold headed parts, fasteners, and components can be found in thousands of various products and structures around the world. This process is continuously being developed for new applications, allowing a growth in manufacturing and a reduction in cost for manufacturers.

Since 1975, we have continuously improved our process while finding new ways to help our customers reduce cost. As the leading and best cold headed supplier in the industry, Grandeur manufactures customer specific and highly specialized fasteners with unmatched quality. If your fastener or component needs require something special, whether in material or design, then Grandeur Fasteners may be a great fit for you. Contact us today to request a quote or inquire if cold heading is right for you!

Products Manufactured through Cold Heading



By: Derrick Pledger

Inside Sales and Marketing
Phone: 479-489-5168
Grandeur Fasteners, Inc.


5 Reasons Why Grandeur Fasteners should be Your Cold Headed Supplier

Custom Fasteners

Finding the right cold headed fastener and component supplier can be tough, and especially tough when required to satisfy domestic provisions. The good news is that Grandeur Fasteners may be the perfect match for your fastener and component needs. We’ve continued to provide custom cold headed specials for decades to many OEMs, government agencies, and an ever growing customer base. There are several things you must know about us before continuing your search. We are the leading and best custom cold heading manufacturer in the world, and here are 5 Reasons why Grandeur Fasteners should be your Custom Cold Headed Fastener Supplier!


POP QUIZ: Which of the following do you agree with?

                                                                  A. Manufacturing Capability is Most Important
                                                                  B. Product Quality is a Must
                                                                  C. Best Pricing is Always Attractive
                                                                  D. Great Customer Service Trumps All
                                                                  E. All The Above

If you picked E, then you are looking for a world class supplier, and may be struggling in your endeavor.


       1. In House Tooling Design

Unlike other cold headers, we have our very own tooling and design facility in-house for both new and existing parts. Advancements made by our Engineering Department have resulted in fully customized tooling and tool design capabilities. Such expertise in this area equips us with the support and ability to manufacture specialty products for an unlimited amount of applications.

Our fabrication facility is backed by an integrated Management Control Tooling program, which reduces lead times by organizing and stocking tool sets. Broken tooling can take several weeks for replacement when using the conventional method of ordering from outside toolmakers. By fabricating and stocking these necessary toolsets, we have implemented a prevention to keep our machines running and your deliveries on time.

Tooling FacilityTool Crib






       2. Superior Quality

If there’s one factor that makes or breaks a supplier, it would have to be quality.

Quality is one of the most influential factors when choosing a new supplier (next to price of course). Remember that old saying, “You get what you pay for?”  Well, in today’s world that’s true more times than not. Poor quality results in extended lead times, late deliveries due to returns, customer downtime, customer loss, and an increase in overall cost.

At Grandeur Fasteners, we are committed to every customer and take pride in manufacturing the most “special “ and highest of quality cold headed products in the world. We truly believe that superior quality builds customer trust, increases fellow recommendations, eliminates product returns, and maintains positive business relationships.

So now you’re probably wondering, just how much better is the quality of Grandeur Fasteners’ products? I believe our policy says it all…

It is the policy of Grandeur Fasteners Incorporated to: 

  • Provide our customers with products that meet their expectations in price, delivery, service and most importantly, QUALITY. 
  • Involve employees in the pursuit of continuous improvement in the quality of our products and the efficiency of our activities throughout the company.

        3. Competitive Pricing

“Having competitive pricing is one thing, being dirt cheap is another.”

Pricing internally can be a difficult task for many suppliers, but Grandeur has it down to the T. Equipped with a variety of pricing and lead time options, Grandeur’s estimation team uses competitive intelligence matched with superior quality products to make us the most recognized cold headed fastener and component supplier on the market, regardless of the design or material requirements.

Our goal at Grandeur is to always offer competitive pricing, while ensuring great quality and excellent customer service. We consistently compete in the market, and always have more value to add than our competitors… That’s how we gain market share.

Bottom Line : “There is indefinitely more to a partnership than pricing alone.”

Beware of – “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap!” (not referring to the AC/DC top hit single released in 1981)

Many buyers today may perceive extremely low selling prices as a higher investment risk. This is due to the sellers increased motivation to get your attention. As experienced businessmen, we know that tactics such as this reflect poor conduct and always result in a bad ending.  So don’t fall for the “low ballers” who entice you with unrealistic prices and jack them sky high proceeding your next order. Our advice to you, “be weary of dirt cheap pricing, it usually means poor quality or substantial price increases in the near future.”


Being bound to high business morals and ethical values, we frown upon these devious types of allurements, and will not mislead you in any way. Grandeur promises to consistently provide you with our best pricing possible, while communicating market trends on new orders.

So spend a little time digging in to what Grandeur Fasteners is all about, your time will be well worth the investment.

       4. Customer Service = Customer Relationships

You will not find better service anywhere else, period.

As a customer driven business, Grandeur is dedicated to meeting your needs in every aspect. We believe that excellent customer service is the building block for long lasting business relationships, and is one of the most important aspects of maintaining a positive rapport. Working diligently with our entire customer base has led to years of successful business relationships, and we’re always looking for more. Here a few characteristics of how we employ our customer service program.

  • Customer Service Matters!
  • Customer Service Reduces Problems
  • Customer Service Strengthens our Brand
  • Customer Service Opens Doors for New Opportunities
  • Customer Service = Lasting Customer Relationships

Our manufacturing serves multiple 20+ year returning customers, which is proof that we go out of our way to meet their needs. When a problem arises, our customer service team is there to help, and we are always striving for improvement.

        5. Domestic Manufacturing

Grandeur Fasteners is a 100% domestic manufacturer. Though we offer outside sourcing solutions when requested, all of our products are made right here in the U.S. We love to support domestic manufacturing and aim to provide everything we can for fellow American companies.

Domestic manufacturing has made leaps and bounds recently over foreign outsourcing. Our improved process capabilities, excellent quality, material acquisition methods, and unmatched expertise are clear indicators of the type of domestic products you will receive from Grandeur Fasteners.

If you have questions whether Grandeur is the right supplier for you, call us today and let our engineering team evaluate your custom cold headed needs.




By: Derrick Pledger

Inside Sales and Marketing
Phone: 479-489-5168
Grandeur Fasteners, Inc.

Custom Cold Headed Fasteners Can Help Keep Costs Under Control

Wire for cold heading

Costing is one of the most influential factors in our manufacturing world today. There is an ongoing trend among companies across the globe to become “cost driven.” By reducing expenditures in a manufacturing process, profit is therefore increased by spending less to produce a product. Custom Cold headed fasteners and components have come a long way in the past 100 years, and now is the time to consider your options.

But what happens when you’ve exhausted all other options, and those monthly numbers still aren’t reaching expectations?

If you’re looking for an economical solution to an expensive fastener or component problem, custom cold headed parts could be the answer to increasing your bottom line.

Custom Cold Headed Fasteners = Savings

Buyers are often looking for the cheapest and fastest suppliers for parts needed to run production. Understanding “why” cold heading can result in savings is crucial to knowing whether it is an option for you.

Here are 10 reasons why material planners, purchasing agents, and engineers look to cold heading for solutions:

  • Capable of converting two to three parts into one
  • Reduction in part weight with no effect on function
  • Virtually no yield loss on all parts
  • Enhanced material flow creates stronger components
  • Large volumes generate better pricing
  • Able to achieve tolerances up to .002 and excellent quality
  • Unlimited applications
  • Can form metals not suitable for machining
  • Cold heading is cheaper and faster than machining
  • Shorter lead times from faster production rates

Custom Cold Headed Fasteners







Purchasing machined components can be expensive and time consuming, resulting in massive amounts of waste and extended lead times. Not only is cold heading cheaper than machining, but it is more efficient than any other fastener and component manufacturing process. It requires less material, less energy, less time, and less manpower – equating to reducing cost.

So how much can you really save? You’d be surprised how much a few cents on the dollar can make a difference.

Here’s an example:

1,000,000 custom fastener or component X .50 ea (machined) = $500,000

1,000,000 custom fastener or component X .35 ea (cold headed) = $350,000

That’s a savings of $150,000! The reduction in material waste alone is enough to reduce the cost substantially for the manufacturer, thus providing a better part for a better price. A single cold heading machine can produce up to 30,000 parts in a single shift. Theoretically, 1,000,000 hex bolts could be manufactured in about 30 days.

The Fine Print

At this point, you may be wondering about the limitations of cold heading and what exactly can be achieved through the cold forming process.

Given today’s technology and experienced engineers, production capabilities have expanded substantially from standard bolts and screws into custom cold headed fasteners and component manufacturing. This has provided an unlimited amount of applications where cold headed components can be utilized: aerospace, battery, oil and gas, automotive, and waterworks.

New technology and manufacturing companies are requiring more and more specialized fasteners to manufacture their products, and it’s not something you can find at the hardware store — that’s where custom cold heading steps up to the plate. Adding secondary processes to cold headed blanks, intricate and complicated machined alternatives can also be manufactured at a lower cost.

Here are just a few of the additional processes that can compliment cold heading production:

Drilling Custom Fasteners

  • Drill and tap
  • Knurling and thread roll
  • Stamping
  • Heat treat
  • Plating
  • Grinding and shave
  • Metal finishing & polishing
  • CNC milling

With the help of 2D, CAD, 3D solid modeling, and other engineering software, customer-specific parts can be manufactured to the spec while holding the same tolerances of the machined counterpart. Cold heading can achieve multiple upsets, extrusions, backwards extrusions, many head configurations, and thousands of near net shapes.

Cold Heading Materials

Custom Fasteners

Common cold headed materials range from low to medium carbon steels to copper and nickel alloys. As these parts are formed, the material flow is enhanced through the hammer and die process, which creates a stronger component than its machined counterpart.

Cold heading is limited to certain types of metals. Extremely hard or brittle metals will crack or break tooling on the machines. High carbon steels and super alloys are generally not cold headed due to their extreme hardness. However, required tensile strength and hardness is achieved through heat treatments and the cold working process. A general list of cold headed materials includes (but not limited to):

  • Aluminum
  • Brass
  • Silicon bronze
  • Copper
  • Monel
  • Stainless steel
  • Normal carbon and alloy steels
  • Other exotic metals

Custom Cold Headed Fasteners – Making the Switch

If you’re a buyer, then you are familiar with the risks involved with making any changes in the supply chain, especially when introducing new suppliers. You could lose quality, on time delivery, efficiency, profit, and ultimately your own customers. But what kind of risk is involved with purchasing a superior fastener or component, at a better price, made specifically for you?

So the buying price alone is not enough on its own to make a decision. How about being able to manufacture an improved product design for the same cost? Or, combining multiple parts into a single component? You can even reduce the overall weight of a part, with no affect on function and save on freight. If you’re looking for an economic solution for today’s manufacturing, then consider custom cold heading as your solution to cost.

Cold Headed Products


By: Derrick Pledger

Inside Sales and Marketing

Phone: 479-489-5168

Grandeur Fasteners, Inc.