Swaging is a metal forming process that uses compressive forces to deform and shape roundish workpieces into desired shapes, often reducing their diameter. It’s also used to add a point to a rod or tube, as well as impart internal shapes to hollow workpieces through use of a mandrel (provided the shape has a constant cross-section). It’s a cold forging process and combines a certain degree of forming and hammering, but it has much more control over wall thickness than other forming methods such as rolling.
Several forms of swaging exist, including rotary swaging and long die swaging. The latter utilizes the same working principle as rotary swaging but with extended die lengths to allow for the production of tubing tapers up to 24″ in length. It’s often employed when the required taper length exceeds what a standard rotary swager can produce.
For example, in the furniture industry, legs made from metal tubing are swaged to improve strength where they come into contact with the ground and casters are swaged to reduce their overall height. The process is also used to create flared pieces of pipe, known as “swage nipples” or “pipe swages.”
Another form of swaging is to increase the diameter of a piece of pipe, which is accomplished by inserting a small tool, called a swage punch, into the end of the pipe section and then using a swager to force the piece of pipe into the shape of the swage punch. Once the swage is complete, the swage punch can be removed and the pipe will retain its new, larger diameter.
A swaging machine can be used for multiple applications, including the production of fluid control tubes and aerospace tubing components. It can also be used to expertly produce cartridge heaters that are vital for the renewable energy industry, as well as high-quality zirconium rods for use in aerospace and superconducting applications.
A swaging machine may be powered either by manual or hydraulic operation. Unlike hand swaging tools, which can be quite expensive to purchase and operate, a swaging machine can typically be used for mass production with little to no need for the presence of highly skilled operators. These machines tend to be very robust and are known for lasting for decades or longer, with the primary “wear parts” being the dies (due to their frequent contact with the workpiece) and hammers. These wear parts should be regularly inspected and replaced as necessary to ensure accurate swaging results. This can help to reduce operating costs, as it will mean that fewer tools and parts have to be kept on hand for each individual job. This can also help to lower the amount of waste produced. This is because the machine will only swage what it needs to and no more, which means that the finished product is more precise than it would otherwise be without a swaging machine. For this reason, swaging machines can be considered an efficient manufacturing method.