A Swaging machine uses a set of dies to apply cold pressure onto a workpiece in order to change its size or shape. It is a process that can be used to form a variety of components such as end caps, couplings and other fittings, but it can also be used to create internal shapes on long lengths of tube, rod or cable. These shapes can be fluted, square or rectangular, for example when manufacturing fluid control tubes or aerospace tube components.
There are two basic types of swaging machines; the standard swager and the butt swager. A swaging machine typically has either two or four dies and can be operated manually, or powered by a hydraulic mechanism or foot pedal. The butt swager has sets of annular rollers and the dies are closed by a series of wedges which are activated by the use of a pedal. The advantage of a butt swager is that it allows long lengths of tube to be formed in a single operation, as opposed to individual swaging operations for each section.
In most applications, a Swaging machine will be used to attach copper or stainless steel terminals to wire cables. However, it can also be used to assemble MS type terminals to standard galvanized or stainless steel cables and a variety of other marine-industrial terminals. These swagers can be either manual or power driven and can produce the same results as a punch swager but with greater speed, accuracy and ease of use.
For many technicians, a hand swager is the best tool to keep on hand for quick copper swaging jobs. These are usually smaller than a punch swager and can be easily carried in the field without taking up too much space. Some models of these handheld swagers also have integrated cutters which eliminate the need to carry separate wire shear cutters. However, these types of swagers are usually not suitable for high-pressure swaging, such as swaging the ends of oil or chemical hoses.
One of the best handheld swaging tools on the market is the hilmor Compact Swage Tool which can be operated with just one hand and requires no block or hammer to use. This is a great tool for any technician who needs to swage copper but wants the ability to do other tasks, such as flaring and cutting, with the same tool.
The swager has adjustable jaws to accommodate different ferrule designs and can be adjusted to compensate for wear. It also has a ratcheting mechanism to reduce on-the-job fatigue and the integrated cutters are a welcome feature which remove the need to carry separate wire shear cutters. One drawback of this model is that it requires a fair amount of hand strength to close the compound jaws completely. Adding a pair of swage pliers with longer handles can provide additional leverage and help to reduce hand fatigue. This tool also makes a great choice for swaging larger sleeves, but it may not be capable of creating the same tight non-slip crimp as a heavier, more powerful swager.