Cold Forming 101: Understanding the Process

The Cold Forming Process

Cold forming – often known as cold roll forming – is a forging technique used to shape metal materials at near room temperature. Forming metal at cooler temperatures retains or enhances the tensile strength of the material while still allowing high levels of intricate manipulation.

Cold forming is a high-speed process that allows manufacturers to produces large amounts of metal-based products in a fast, consistent, and cost-effective manner. When compared to high-heat formation methods, cold formed products are harder, produce greater yield, feature higher tensile strength, and have a superior surface finish.


In this process, bar stock is rough turned to remove imperfections in the material surface and prepare the bar stock for grinding. After this, the turned stock is straightened to minimize any variation in the bar, and then ground to the final stock size at an optimal balance between the projected root and outside diameters of the finished part. Once these operations are complete, the rolling machine implements the final forming procedures, creating more intricate details such as precision gear teeth.

These details are created using displacement rather than cutting or grinding. By using immense pressure to reform the bar stock, the grain structure of the material is compressed instead of removed, which improves the ultimate tensile strength of the final part. This process maximizes material usage and significantly reduces production waste.

Suitable Metals for Cold Roll Forming

A variety of metals are suitable for cold forming. For example:

  • Alloy Steel (1045, 1117, 1215, 4140, 4150, 4340, 8620, H-11)
  • Stainless Steel (316, 416, 17-4)
  • Aluminum (2024, 6061)
  • Naval Brass
  • Most Materials up to 44 HRC

Other materials are simply too brittle for this process, such as cast iron.

What are the Advantages of this Process?

custom splines and shapesCold forming reduces the amount of time and materials needed to produce consistent, high-quality metal parts and our cold-rolled parts have been estimated to be 20% stronger than similar parts produced by other fabrication methods.

While cold rolling may seem more expensive up front, the process eliminates the need for a variety of secondary machining operations, reducing both lead times and overall expense.

Our wide range of cold-rolled products includes more than 2200 existing profiles, ensuring that we can create any part your application requires.

Expert Cold Rolling at Grob, Inc.

splines cold rolledGrob, Inc. has been providing cold-rolled parts to a wide range of industries for more than 70 years. We’ve developed our own methods for cold forming gears, splines, shafts, bushings, and a variety of other metal parts. Our proprietary process facilitates the tightest tolerances in the industry while providing ultimate strength and optimal surface finishes.

We also feature non-standard stock lengths not offered by most competitors. We can offer smaller diameters in lengths up to 6 feet, and larger diameters up to 12 feet. Our customization capabilities are unmatched, and up to 70% of our business comes from providing custom-designed products.

At Grob, our innovative processes, extensive experience, and in-depth knowledge help us deliver superior products in short time frames—and at lower costs. Please contact us for more information or a quote on any of our standard or customized cold-formed products.