Forging is the technique of shaping hot or cold metal by applying pressure to it in a controlled way. Forces are applied through hammering, pressing or rolling. It is the oldest known method of forming metal and is still essential in industry because it produces parts that are significantly stronger for their weight than parts made by casting or machining. Since forged parts are shaped by making the metal flow into its final shape, the metal takes on a directional grain structure that accounts for the superior strength of the parts.
Forging can be used to produce a single part or many thousands. Common applications include aerospace and automotive components, tools and hardware.
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Hot vs. Cold Forging
Plastic Deformation for a Workable State
The most common process, hot forging requires that metals are heated to the point of plastic deformation. Once the metal has been heated to a workable state, hammers or presses are used to compress the material into a custom die. Dies are designed to meet the shape and size requirements of the desired part.
Because materials are heated to the point of plastic deformation, more complex shapes may be achieved. The high temperatures ensure chemical consistency and fewer inclusions. Ferrous and non-ferrous materials may be forged in the hot condition.
The strength and durability of hot forged parts make them ideal for rugged applications.
Dimensional Accuracy in Cylindrical Parts
As the name implies, cold forging is a process by which room temperature materials are formed into the desired part shape through the use of compressive dies. Because materials are worked at room temperatures, higher forces are required to ensure materials conform to the contours of the die. Depending on the materials used, in-process annealing may be necessary to keep the material in a workable state.
The cold forging process changes the material’s shape and refines the grain. The results are parts with higher dimensional accuracy and excellent surface quality. Cold forged parts require little, if any, post-process machining. It is best suited to rotationally symmetric or axisymmetric parts. Cold forged parts have wide range of applications ranging from bolts and shafts to medical devices.
Benefits of Forging
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