Forging, as a manufacturing process, has been around for thousands of years. Over the centuries, traditional blacksmith workshops have evolved into specialised, hi-tech manufacturing facilities with CAD engineering processes and high capacity production equipment and tools to meet the many and changing demands of modern industry.
Industrial forging is done either with hammers - powered by compressed air, electricity, hydraulics or steam - or with mechanical and hydraulic presses.
Forging creates parts (called forgings) that are generally much stronger than those created by any other metalworking process. This strength means sectional thickness and overall weight can be reduced without compromising the integrity of the final part. This is why forgings are commonly found in applications where reliability and safety are paramount.
Forgings offer other important advantages too, including:
- Reduced material costs
- Shorter lead times
- Extended tool life
Although forgings are critical components in a wide variety of equipment across a broad spectrum of industries, you'll rarely actually see them. They are usually tucked away inside cars, aeroplanes, ships, drilling equipment, engines and missiles, among many others.
Common Forging Methods
Open Die Forging – this method uses hammers and presses, and is the modern-day evolution of the pre-industrial metalsmith working with a hammer at his anvil. This method is commonly associated with large parts such as shafts, sleeves and disks, although part weights can range from 2kgs to 200 000kgs.
Closed Die Forging – with this method, dies move towards each other, either partially or completely covering the workpiece. Heated raw material is placed in the bottom die, while the shape of the forging is incorporated as a negative image. The force of the impact of the top die on the raw material forms it into the required shape.
Impression Die Forging – forgings produced in this way are formed on a horizontal machine, called an upsetter. Stock is held between a fixed and moving die, while a horizontal ram provides the forging pressure.
Steelmor has a full range of billets in rounds and square carried in carbon, alloy and stainless steel for forging purposes. Light to heavy forgings are manufactured in our closed die, press and hammer forgings plants. Visit us at www.steelmor.co.za or phone 011 747 5700 to discuss your requirements.