Swaging is a process that uses cold-force to deform and manipulate the shape of metal. Unlike other forming processes such as crimping, swaging does not create chips during the process and allows for greater reductions in diameters. While swaging machines are often used to form metal parts such as lugs and ferrules on wire cables, it can also be employed to form metal components such as control rods for aircraft and automobiles and tubing for fluid transfer. The swaging process is a highly effective way of creating a stronger and more secure connection between a terminal and cable or rod, particularly when securing an end fitting or termination.
There are two types of swaging machine the rotary and the hand swager. While a swaging machine is often used to swage large quantities of steel cables, a hand swager is more suitable for small jobs and around-the-house applications. Both swaging machines are available in different sizes and can be powered manually or power-driven at the operator’s option.
A rotary swager features two or four split dies that separate and close up to 2,000 times per minute. The dies are mounted into a spindle that is then fitted into a cage of rollers (looks like a ball bearing). As the machine rotates, the hammers and rollers push the die halves together through a process called centrifugal force. The resulting swage is an oval or hourglass shape and produces tight non-slip crimps that are strong enough to support the weight of the cable being formed.
When selecting a swaging machine, you must consider the size of your cable and terminals being formed. The most common swaging machines are capable of assembling MS type terminals onto standard galvanized or stainless-steel cables, but some models can be utilized to assemble tubing and other cable-based parts as well.
While a swaging machine is an expensive investment, it saves time and labor when compared to using a hand tool. It can swage multiple pieces of tubing at once and eliminates the need for multiple operators to manually perform each step in the assembly process. This also means that less inventory has to be kept on hand.
In addition to speeding up assembly, swaging reduces the need for skilled workers by enabling a single worker to operate multiple machines simultaneously. It can also help reduce the cost of material by reducing the amount that is lost during the swaging process, as it dispenses with the need to use excessive amounts of the tube being formed.
When preparing to use a swaging machine, it’s important to make sure that the correct die and pusher are selected for each hose and coupling combination being swaged. To avoid damaging the dies, it’s recommended that a light coat of lightweight oil be applied to the inner bore of each one before feeding them into the machine. This will prevent the dies from becoming stuck in the hose. For a more precise result, you can utilize a swaging mandrel to maintain consistent wall thickness throughout the swaging process.