Stainless Steel Cold Heading Wire: The Facts

Stainless steel cold heading wire is used to create a wide array of different components. In this edition of the BS Stainless blog, we look in more detail at the cold heading process and its numerous benefits.

In any process of metalworking that is carried out 'cold', the metal is shaped and formed below the temperature at which re-crystal­lisa­tion occurs. The crystal inclusions and grains distort during the process, following the metal's flow. Cold working makes the metal stronger and harder. 

Essentially, cold heading is a method of forming stainless steel wire into the desired shape without the need to heat it, making the process easier and less energy-intensive. The cold heading process begins with inserting a length of stainless steel wire into a die, whereupon it is repeatedly struck with heavy blows. The force of these blows causes the metal to flow into a restricted cavity within the die, creating the required shape.

The primary use of cold heading stainless steel wire is to manufacture a wide and diverse array of fixings and fasteners, including things like bolts, rivets, nails, pins, screws, tie rods and studs. In addition to exceptional strength thanks to work-hardening, stainless steel wire formed using the cold heading technique also has a low level of magnetism, excellent ductility, a perfect surface finish and of course unparalleled resistance to the damaging effects of corrosion.

As they cold head in such a similar way to low alloy and carbon steels, the 400 series of stainless steel grades are the most popular; type 430 is recognised as being the easiest grade to cold head. Stainless steels in the 300 series require more energy to cold head and also present more challenges due to their significantly-higher work-hardening rate. This rate is notably lower with 302 HQ and 302 Cu grades, both of which contain 3% copper; these grades are the standard when manufacturing light machine screws and self-tapping screws. 

BS Stainless can supply cold heading stainless steel wire in a full range of different grades. Where required, the wire can be given any of a range of coatings including soap, metallic, copper and several others. To ensure 100% consistency throughout the wire's entire length, which ensures a premium-quality product with high machinability and long-lasting die life, we maintain a stringent quality control program and all wire is closely inspected before it leaves our premises. As with all BS Stainless products, our cold heading stainless steel wire is manufactured within the scope of ISO 9001:2015 management system.

For more information about cold heading stainless steel wire, along with our complete collection of other types of wire, please browse the BS Stainless website. If you have any questions, our team of technical specialists will be happy to answer them so please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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