Orbitform LLC

All Parts Filed Under Orbital Forming

Taking Shots at a Better Assembly Process


Designing and testing assembly prototypes can be challenging. When you think you've found the solution, you wind up with more issues to overcome. Quality test after quality test bring both victories and failures. Here at Orbitform, we like to call those failures “lessons learned.” We thrive on helping our customers work through those lessons and overcome challenges early in the product development process.


A manufacturer of gun components was having issues securing their assembly. The subcomponents were held together with a custom “set screw” style fastener through threaded holes. During use, the component was facing several challenges with heat, rotation, and vibration. Rapid use raised the temperature of the component which disabled the thread lockers. The fastener was a pivot joint that turned both directions during use and reset causing rotational issues after testing. After sustained use, the vibration caused the fastener to back out of the hole. The manufacturer turned to Orbitform, hoping that orbital riveting might solve these issues.

Lab testing

Orbitform's assembly experts ran sample parts in our Solution's Lab to determine if we could overcome these challenges. The manufacturer wanted to test a new fastener design with both coated and non-coated rivets. Our lab technicians tried both orbital and radial riveting. After the first few tests, the manufacturer found that the parts that used coated rivets and were formed orbitally moved more freely than those formed radially with non-coated.

Our technicians found that orbital riveting prevented the pins from buckling by putting less downward load on the shank than radial riveting. However, orbital riveting did remove more of the coating during the forming.

What if?

After reviewing several sample parts, the manufacturer posed a second possible solution. Could we form the material around the rivet instead of the rivet itself? Based on the results of using coated fasteners in the first few tests, our experts believed this might be a viable solution. The manufacturer redesigned the subcomponents with a blind hole and sent more samples to our Solutions Lab. We tested both orbital and radial riveting again, upsetting the aluminum component to retain the coated pin. While both processes resulted in a functioning pivot point, radial riveting minimized the removal of the coating on the subcomponent.

Machine Solution

After working with the manufacturer in our lab, our experts were able to determine the right process to meet their requirements and overcome their challenges. As a result of the lab testing, we provided the appropriate equipment to form viable parts - A BR-125 Bench-Top Radial Riveter.

When it comes to manufacturing, there are always going to be challenges. Part failures can happen in the first prototype or the tenth. However, each failure is a lesson learned and a chance to improve. Partnering with our assembly experts means you can benefit from the lessons we have learned before, and we can work with you to overcome your unique challenges. Contact us today to discuss your prototype development.

Filed Under

In-Process Torque Check

Manufacturing requires consistency and repeatability.  When your assembly process is inconsistent and you experience quality issues, where do you turn?

Orbitform is the leading expert in forming fastening and assembly solutions.  We partner with manufacturers to find the best possible assembly process.  Recently, we were approached by a manufacturer on an articulating joint with a very specific, low torque specification.

Upon review of the manufacturer’s current joint forming method, it was found there was a high scrap rate due to inconsistent torque.  The forming method they were using for the rivet, which held together two handles, simply did not provide enough control to ensure the proper torque specs while holding all components robustly. 

Orbitform partnered with the manufacturer to test the assembly in our Solutions Lab.  Many assemblies were formed to different forces.  After testing the assemblies, a precise forming force was found to provide the required joint functions. 

Orbitform experts worked to develop a new, accurate, repeatable process for the manufacturer.  The system combined a servo-driven orbital powerhead with process monitoring, a servo-driven wedge to raise and lower the assembly for forming, and a rotary servo for in process torque check. 

Upon initiation, the orbital head advances to locate the bottom of the rivet head in the assembly.  The overall length of the rivet is detected, and the stick-up is verified within its specification limits. Based on the specific information received, the rivet is then formed to a specific overall length from the rivet head.  Once formed, the tool retracts, and the assembly exercised a set number of times to release pressure in the joint.  Then, using the rotary servo, the torque of the joint is measured.  If the torque spec is met, the powerhead fully retracts and part unload.  However, if the spec is not met, the forming cycle repeats.  Upon development of this new system, the manufacturer received a repeatable, robust process that produces consistent assemblies every time. 

Partnering with the experts at Orbitform on your assembly process provides many positive results.  The many fastening, forming and assembly processes offered provide the right solution for your functional requirements every time.  Orbitform is the only orbital riveting company able to provide in-process torque check, and eagerly awaits partnering with you on your next assembly process.  Contact us today to have our experts review your application and begin developing your unique solution.

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A Dual Opposed Solution

Vehicle Safety

When backing out of your driveway and speeding down the road on your way to work, you probably don’t give much thought to the effort it takes to run your vehicle.  We have come to expect the highest quality out of our vehicles to provide transportation, while keeping us safe.  Vehicle manufacturers perform stringent tests to ensure the highest quality, giving you a smooth, worry-free ride.

Self-Contained System

Orbitform upholds the same quality standards with fastening, forming, riveting and assembly, so it is no surprise that we were approached to find a self-contained solution to form carrier pins in a transmission planetary carrier gear.  In a completed assembly, components were held in place by either four or six carrier pins.  A machine solution was required to form both sizes of gears and to form the carrier pins equally on each side to meet the high-quality standards.

Tolerancing Challenge

Upon review of the assembly, the largest challenge was with the tolerancing of the carrier pins. Prior to forming, the pins were slip fit, held in place by grease.  While forming the first pin, the other pins could fall out due to the slip fit.  Orbitform partnered with the manufacturer to design a fixture that would allow for robotic loading and unloading and hold all pins in place during the forming process.  The fixture could also shuttle to hit the next pin, thus creating a self-contained solution. 

Orbital Forming

The next challenge addressed was the forming of the pins.  During testing in Orbitform’s Solutions Lab, our lab technicians found that orbitally forming the pins .070” on each side created the desired form to withstand the pushout forces the carrier would be seeing.  However, the pins required a back-up upon forming. 

A Dual Opposed Solution

To combat these challenges and meet the required cycle time, Orbitform introduced the idea of a dual-opposed system that was programmable to run either the four pin or six pin carrier.  An orbital powerhead would act as a hard stop on one side of the carrier pin while the other side was being orbitally formed.  Next the two powerheads would switch jobs and form the opposite side.  After this cycle was complete, the fixture would then shuttle to the next pin and begin again. 

High Quality

In developing this dual opposed, self-contained system, Orbitform was able to provide a solution that exceeded expectations and achieved the required cycle time.  In addition, through partnering with our customer on this project, Orbitform was able to ensure the carrier pins overperformed in safety tests to provide the highest quality vehicle components possible. 


Orbitform is committed to providing high quality, robust and unique solutions to overperform in meeting the functional requirements in a joint.  Afterall, on your drive home from work tonight, your thoughts should be on your family, not questioning the safety of your vehicle. 

Orbitform stands ready to partner with you on your next fastening, forming, riveting or assembly project.  Contact us today to find your unique solution.

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Creating Stability in a Bushing Flare

Forming a flare

Orbitally forming a flare is a unique process. As a forming force is applied, material flows to the path of least resistance, lead by the geometry of the peen tool. Finished form is dependent on the design of the surrounding assembly area, as well as the tooling needed for the process.

Dimensional Requirements

Recently, we were approached by a customer to flare their bushing assembly. Design engineers were working toward orbitally forming a flare for retention, dimensional requirements, and increasing the surface area of the formed tenon. Upon testing in our Solutions Lab, forming was very successful. The material flowed smoothly outward, creating the dimension requirements the customer required.

This is where our story begins.

Troublesome Finished Form

Orbitform was able to produce prototype parts in our lab for the customer to take into testing. These parts met all the specifications the engineers believed they required. However, upon testing, it was discovered that the finished form was troublesome.

Friction Required

The peen used in testing created a very smooth, shiny and visually appealing finished form, but the surface lacked the necessary friction to provide the necessary stability for the customer’s assembly. Unbeknownst to Orbitform’s engineers, assembling the bushing into its full component required a surface that provided friction or grip that simply was not there. This detail concerned the engineers. Could the current forming process provide the necessary finished form?

Tooling Design

The engineers once again turned to Orbitform’s Lab Technicians to find an answer. Upon review of the new functional requirement, our technicians worked to redesign the peen tooling to form rings into the tenon as it was being formed. In order to design the tooling, our engineers took the desired finished form and reverse engineered the design into the tooling.

Finished Form Requirement

Testing occurred once again within the lab to ensure the newly designed tooling was able to create the rings within the flare. This forming process determined that the height of the rings was extremely important: too low and stability was lost was lost in the assembly, too high and the rings cracked. Through several rounds of design and lab testing, Orbitform was able to determine the precise height of the rings for the finished form requirement. Through collaboration and testing, the desired functionality was achieved.

Machine Requirements

Once the design was successfully achieved, this orbital flaring process needed to be recreated for manufacturing. Orbitform worked directly with the bushing manufacturer to design and build a machine that fit their company specifications, volume, and required functionality.

Your Flaring Application

Forming a flare orbitally is a unique process that can achieve many functional requirements. Leveraging the cold forming process of moving the material to the path of least resistance allows Orbitform to control the finished form, no matter how unique it may be. We stand ready to work with you for development on your unique finished form for your flaring application.

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Orbital Vs Radial

What’s the difference?

We hear it all the time – what is the difference between orbital and radial riveting. It’s an important subject to discuss when designing a new assembly and looking for the right fastening or forming process. To help you better understand each process and find the right solution, we have put together a few comparisons to consider.

Forming a tenon

The most obvious difference in orbital and radial riveting is the tool path of the peen. With orbital riveting, the peen is held at a fixed angle, typically 6°, and rotates over the fastener in a circular motion. As it rotates along the tenon, it gently forms the material. The 6° angle uses up to 80% less force than a press and creates approximately a 10% sideload. Radial riveting is quite different. The radial peen tool begins in the center and forms outward in a fleurette design. This process creates less side load but requires more force as it travels directly over the tenon.

Common uses and considerations

Due to the forming force required, radial riveting is most often used with small and delicate parts, such as endoscopic medical tools or inside watch components. As the size of the rivet increases, so too does the forming force, making it harder for radial riveting to be completed on larger diameter rivets due to the tooling path. As the tooling path travels directly over the top of the rivet and approaches 0 °, shank swell is increased due to the increased forming force, which can limit the joint’s ability to articulate. With orbital riveting less forming force is required due to the angle of the peen and tool path. The indirect force applied to the tenon creates less shank swell and can allow for articulating joints. The range of assemblies benefiting from this type of riveting include pinion gears, industrial sprinklers, striker wires, etc. etc.


The largest consideration manufacturers should consider is the long-term cost of maintenance and tooling to be used for each type of forming. The tooling path of radial riveting is quite larger than that of orbital riveting. It takes 13 rotations of fleurettes to complete one full 360 ° pass with radial riveting, whereas an orbital path only takes one. For this reason, the internal components between the two types of powerheads differ greatly. Orbital heads include three industrial standard bearings held in place by a snap ring. Maintenance includes removing the snap ring, cleaning, greasing and replacing the bearings. This process, on average, takes around a half hour and should be completed every 40 hours of part contact. The bearings are a standard bearing that can be found at any tool supply shop, meaning you are able to replace bearings quickly in an emergency. The total cost to replace all internal components for an orbital head is minimal. Conversely, radial riveting requires more internal components to create the tool path. The range of movement creates friction and heat, causing internal components to break down quicker. It is critical to grease the internal bearing, pre-load spring and thrust cup every 40 machine hours (not contact hours as in orbital riveting) to limit heat. Also, the rubbing of the pre-load spring and thrust cup to create the florets and rotation creates galling and increased wear. As these components break down, required maintenance and machine downtime due to maintenance increases. Due to the complexity of the components, the cost of replacing internal components of a radial head is three to four times that of orbital riveting.

Making the choice

When choosing between orbital and radial riveting, total cost of ownership, joint function, size, forming force required, and future machine maintenance costs must be taken into consideration. The financial obligations and time required for maintenance are not to be taken lightly, as it can greatly affect your throughput. As you approach the initial design phase of a new project, call the experts at Orbitform to discuss your assembly requirements to determine the appropriate riveting process. Our Applications Engineers and Lab Technicians stand ready to work with you to find the best solution for your assembly.

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Orbital - Captured Form

Captured Form on Solid Rivet

A peen with a cavity keeps the formed material from spreading out, giving an ascetically pleasing form that is less likely to display cracking around the edges. Note that a captured for requires more force than a flat form.

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Threaded Fastener

Illustriation of Obital Staking

A round threaded steel fastener needed to be secured into a hex hole through an 1/8" wall aluminum stamping. The fastener also needed to hold torque when applied. Orbitform engineers developed a cold headed, shouldered fastener and hollow peen to orbitally ring-stake the fastener's shoulder, locking it into place.

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Die Cast Aluminum

Orbitally Formed Aluminum Post

An automotive parts supplier needed to permanently retain a sound deadening baffle plate on the inside of an engine cover. Extensive testing in Orbitform's Solutions Lab led our engineers to develop precision rivet geometry, rivet coatings, and forming forces to create a cheaper and more reliable process.

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Extruded Lip and Gear

Obitally Formed Part Feature

When spot-welding failed, an automotive parts supplier contacted Orbitform to attach a hardened steel gear to a metal stamping. Orbitform engineers suggested adding an extrusion and orbitally forming the extruded lip over the gear, eliminating the need for a costly fastener.

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Orbital Forming

Solid Rivet Orbital Illustration

A smooth, non-impact cold forming process used to create permanent joints with a high aesthetic appeal and a range of articulation potential.

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