Many of us might have heard of the word forge or forging. Although we might have an idea of the process and its applications, there might be some uncertainty in our minds.
Forging is a manufacturing technique where metals are shaped through their malleable properties using a force. Over time there have been newer more technologically advanced changes that have made the process easier, quicker, and long-lasting for the forging manufacturer in India.
How is the forging process carried out?
Forging is a process where a metal is shaped using localized compressive forces. The forces are generally delivered with the help of a power hammer or a die. There are three broad kinds of forging available, mainly cold forging, warm forging, and hot forging. For warm and hot forging, the metal is typically heated in a forge.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of forging?
- This process can help to forge manufacturers in India produce equipment and material that is stronger than the equivalent piece made by other methods such as casting or machining.
- The texture of the internal grains of a forged metal can give rise to a uniform and continuous part. It is due to this grain uniformity that forged materials are mechanically superior.
- Forging can work out to be much cheaper than other processes such as casting and fabrication. The long term benefits of employing forging suppliers can outweigh the short term cost saving that casting or fabrication may offer you.
- One of the most significant disadvantages of forging is the amount of capital required to set up a plant. Machinery, tools and personnel training do not come cheap. In the case of hot forging, a furnace is needed. The forge is usually imported from a foreign country and can cost a lot to the forging manufacturer in India.
What are the different types of Forging Processes Available?
Open Die Drop Forging:
This process is also referred to as the smith forging process. In this process, the hammer is used to create a force that will shape the heated metal piece. The metal workpiece is placed on a stationary anvil. This process is called open-die because the surfaces that are in contact with the workpiece (that is the dies) do not enclose it. This allows the metal to flow freely as long as it does not come in contact with the dies. Generally, the dies used are flat in shape.
Some of the advantages of open die drop forging are as follows:
- Reduced chance of voids
- Improved Microstructure
- Greater Fatigue Resistance
- Greater Strength
- Finer Grains with better grain growth
In press forging, there is a slow and gradual application of a continuous force. This method of forging is different because there is no sudden impact force that shapes the metal. Press forging can be done using either the hot or cold forging approach.
Some of the advantages of press forging are as follows:
- Due to the gradual application of forces, the entire workpiece can be deformed.
- The forging supplier will have an idea of the manufactured part’s strain rate. This is not possible using drop forging. By controlling the compressive forces, the internal strain rate can be altered.
- The operation allows manufacturers to create closer tolerances.
Most forging processes involve having to heat the metal to very high temperatures in the region of 2300 degrees F. However, there are a few methods where this is not required, and this is known as cold forging. There are several cold forging processes such as bending, cold drawing, coining and extrusions, to name a few. These techniques can be used to achieve a vast variety of shapes and geometries.
In the process of cold forging, a chemically lubricated bar is subjected to intense pressure in a closed die. Due to the shear forces being applied, the metal flows into the desired shape. Cold forging is used in applications where high strength, close tolerances, and bulk production are required.
In Isothermal Forging the metal workpiece and the die are heated to approximately the same temperature. Due to adiabatic heating employed, the strain rates of the workpiece are highly optimized and monitored. This method can be used for forging metals at a lower temperature. For example, Aluminium at 800 degrees F.
Some of the advantages of Isothermal Forging are:
- Near perfect workpiece shapes requiring lesser machining and wastage
- Easily reproducible parts
- Isothermal forging also does have a few disadvantages:
- Higher die costs to handle temperature and pressure
- The requirement of Uniform heating systems with a vacuumed atmosphere to reduce oxidation of the dies and the material
Metal shaping is one of the most laborious processes out there. Without the right equipment, it can be time-consuming and incredibly expensive for the forging supplier. The forging process offers us a unique advantage and cost-benefit over other manufacturing processes. Forged components by nature are incredibly durable and provide maximum strength in the long run. Hence there is a need for a process like forging.