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Process of Forging Forging Types of Forging
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Hammer Forging (Flat Die) Press Forging Die Forging Smith Forging Hammer Board Drop Hammer Forging Press Mechanical Forging Press Hydraulic Forging Press Preheating Annealing Normalizing Hardening Forging and Forming Resources Forging Industry Association Forging Equipment – Johnson Forging Equipment Company Forging Equipment – SIFCO Indurtries, Inc. - Forge Group Forging Equipment – Delta forging Services, Inc
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LISTS OF FORGING MANUFACTURERS
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Process: Forging is a metal forming process used to produce large quantities of
identical parts, as in the manufacture of automobiles, and to improve the mechanical properties of the metal being forged, as in aerospace parts or military equipment. The design of forged parts is limited when undercuts or cored sections are required. All cavities must be comparatively straight and largest at the mouth, so that the forging die may be withdrawn. The products of forging may be tiny or massive and can be made of steel (automobile axles), brass (water valves), tungsten (rocket nozzles), aluminum (aircraft structural members), or any other metal. More than two thirds of forging in the United States is concentrated in four general areas: 30 percent in the aerospace industry, 20 percent in automotive and truck manufacture, 10 percent in off-highway vehicles, and 10 percent in military equipment. This process is also used for coining, but with slow continuous pushes. The forging metal forming process has been practiced since the Bronze Age. Hammering metal by hand can be dated back over 4000 years ago. The purpose, as it still is today, was to change the shape and/or properties of metal into useful tools. Steel was hammered into shape and used mostly for carpentry and farming tools. An ax made easy work of cutting down trees and metal knives were much more efficient than stone cutting tools. Hunters used metal-pointed spears and arrows to catch prey. Blacksmiths used a forge and anvil to create many useful instruments such as horseshoes, nails, wagon tires, and chains. Militaries used forged weapons to equip their armies, resulting in many territories being won and lost with the use and strength of these weapons. Today, forging is used to create various and sundry things. The operation requires no cutting or shearing, and is merely a reshaping operation that does not change the volume of the material. Forging: Forging changes the size and shape, but not the volume, of a part. The change is made by force applied to the material so that it stretches beyond the yield point. The force must be strong enough to make the material deform. It must not be so strong, however, that it destroys the material. The yield point is reached when the material will
reform into a new shape. The point at which the material would be destroyed is called the fracture point. In forging, a block of metal is deformed under impact or pressure to form the desired shape. Cold forging, in which the metal is not heated, is generally limited to relatively soft metals. Most metals are hot forged; for example, steel is forged at temperatures between 2,100oF and 2,300oF (1,150oC to 1,260oC). increased strength along the direction of flow. (See Figure) These temperatures cause deformation, in which the grains of the metal elongate and assume a fibrous structure of
Figure - Flow lines in a forged part Normally this results in metallurgical soundness and improved mechanical properties. Strength, toughness, and general durability depend upon the way the grain is placed. Forgings are somewhat stronger and more ductile along the grain structure than across it. The feature of greatest importance is that along the grain structure there is a greater ability to resist shock, wear, and impact than across the grain. Material properties also depend on the heat-treating process after forging. Slow cooling in air may normalize workpieces, or they can be quenched in oil and then tempered or reheated to achieve the desired mechanical properties and to relieve any internal stresses. Good forging practice makes it possible to control the flow pattern resulting in maximum strength of the material and the least chances of fatigue failure. These characteristics of forging, as well
as fewer flaws and hidden defects, make it more desirable than some other operations (i.e. casting) for products that will undergo high stresses. In forging, the dimensional tolerances that can be held vary based on the size of the workpiece. The process is capable of producing shapes of 0.5 to >50.0 cm in thickness and 10 to <100 cm in diameter. The tolerances vary from ± 1/32 in. for small parts to ± ¼ in. for large forgings. Tolerances of 0.010 in. have been held in some precision forgings, but the cost associated with such precision is only justified in exceptional cases, such as some aircraft work.
Types of forging:
Forging is divided into three main methods: hammer, press, and rolled types. (1) Hammer Forging (Flat Die): Preferred method for individual forgings. The shaping of a metal, or other material, by an instantaneous application of pressure to a relatively small area. A hammer or ram, delivering intermittent blows to the section to be forged, applies this pressure. The hammer is dropped from its maximum height, usually raised by steam or air pressure. Hammer forging can produce a wide variety of shapes and sizes and, if sufficiently reduced, can create a high degree of grain refinement at the same time. The disadvantage to this process is that finish machining is often required, as close dimensional tolerances cannot be obtained.
Press Forging: This process is similar to kneading, where a slow continuous pressure is applied to the area to be forged. The pressure will extend deep into the material and can be completed either cold or hot. A cold press forging is used on a thin, annealed material, and a hot press forging is done on large work such as armor plating, locomotives and heavy machinery. Press Forging is more economical than hammer forging (except when dealing with low production numbers), and closer tolerances can be obtained. A greater proportion of the work done is transmitted to the workpiece, differing from that of the hammer forging operation, where much of the work is absorbed by the machine and foundation. This method can also be used to produce larger forgings, as there is no limitation in the size of the machine.
Die Forging: Open and closed die operations can be used in forging. In open-die forging the dies are either flat or rounded. Large forgings can be formed by successive applications of force on different parts of the material. Hydraulic presses and forging machines are both employed in closed die forging. In closeddie forging the metal is trapped in recessed impressions, which are machined into the top and bottom dies. As the dies press together, the material is forced to fill 5
the impressions. Flash, or excess metal, is squeezed out between the dies. Closeddie forging can produce parts with more complex shapes than open-die forging. Die forging is the best method, as far as tolerances that can be met, and also results in a finished part that is completely filled out and is produced with the least amount of flashing. The final shape and the improvement in metallurgical properties are dependent on the skill of the operator. the operator requires less skill. Closer dimensional tolerances can be held with closed die forgings than with open die forgings and
The type of machinery to be used depends on the shape, size, material, and number of pieces to be made. Forging hammers apply force by the impact of a large ram. This may be a drop hammer, or weight falling under the force of gravity, or it may be a power hammer, driven by steam or compressed air. Two types of power hammers are: the smith forging hammer and the drop hammer. The largest hammers can provide a total force as high as 80,000 pounds.
Smith Forging Hammer and Board Drop Hammer
Smith Forging Hammer Heavy workpieces could be processed using a smith-
forging hammer, and smaller forgings are die formed in drop hammers. Smith forging hammers are typically steam or air-operated, consisting of a power actuated ram supported by a heavy cast iron frame. The final product is a result of the ram being powered into the dies containing the workpiece.
Board Drop Hammer A drop hammer differs in that the anvil is an integrated
part of the hammer base. It is necessary for the alignment between the forging die elements used. This method is advantageous in that the physical properties of the metal are improved by the severe mechanical working, the operation is rapid, many complicated parts can be forged to shape, a minimum amount of machining is necessary, and internal defects are eliminated. The disadvantages are the cost of machinery and dies, which demands a high quantity of parts to be manufactured in order for the process to be cost effective.
Forging Press A forging press consists of a hydraulic press, which exerts a
force capable of pressing steel or a metal alloy into the shape of the forging die. These machines can be positioned horizontally or vertically. This method can be used to form car wheels, gears, bushings, and other such parts.
Mechanical Forging Press Mechanical presses have a motor-driven flywheel
that stores energy to drive a ram--much lighter than a hammer--through a crank or other mechanical device. The ram in a press moves more slowly than a hammer and squeezes the workpiece. The largest mechanical presses have a total force of 12,000 tons and cannot forge as large or complicated parts as the larger hammers.
Hydraulic Forging Press Hydraulic presses, in which high-pressure fluid
produced by hydraulic pumps drives a ram, are about 100 times slower than hammers. They are used for large or complex die forgings and for extrusion. Presses with a total force of 50,000 tons have been developed in the United States primarily for the forging of large airplane components. Even larger hydraulic presses, up to 78,000 tons, have been introduced in Europe.
Materials can be improved before or after manufacturing by different heat treatment processes. Forging is usually performed to hot metals, allowing for smoother flow and easier deformation. Steel is heated to varying temperatures, usually between 1700oF to 2000oF but can reach as high as 2400oF, depending on the carbon content. Depending on the amount of work required to the piece, it may be necessary to reheat the piece one or more times. The temperature of the metal when completely forged is called the finishing temperature. After forging, the material must be cooled uniformly and protected from moisture or cold air. This is done by placing the material into dry ashes, lime or mica dust in order to retard the rate of cooling. (1) Preheating: Preheating of materials is done to help prevent cracking or distortion
of the material. This is done by placing the metal in a series of furnaces of increasing temperatures instead of throwing it directly into the furnace used to heat the metal for 8
forging, annealing, normalizing or hardening. Another way to achieve this is to start in a cold furnace and slowly bring it to temperature. (2) Annealing: Annealing should follow forging as soon as possible whenever
machining is required. Annealing is the heating and then cooling of metal to make the metal less brittle, or more malleable and ductile. This will soften the steel that was previously hardened and reduce internal stresses. Annealing is done by heating the metal to a temperature beyond the critical temperature and holding it there for a period of time. The metal is then cooled with the furnace and not removed until the furnace is cold. It can also be cooled to a temperature within the furnace that is known to be below the lower critical temperature, at which the annealing is complete. Slower cooling rates are required as carbon content increases in the metal. (3) Normalizing: Normalizing is done to improve the crystalline structure of the
steel, thus obtaining superior properties. Heating the forged part just beyond the critical temperature and then allowing it to air-cool completes normalizing. This allows the grain-size to be refined and, if not held at that temperature too long, will result in a newly formed crystalline structure. The internal stresses, if any, will be relieved, hardened steels will be softened, overheated steels will have a more favorable, normal fine-grained structure, and structural distortion will be removed. (4) Hardening: Hardening of steels can also be done after forging. The workpiece
is heated slowly, to obtain the finest grain-sizes, to its hardening temperature - much higher than annealing temperatures. The metal is kept at this temperature only until uniform heat distribution and completion of the thermal transformation. Prolonged exposure at these elevated temperatures will result in increased grain growth and surface decarbonization, if no protection from oxidation is provided. Oxidation can be avoided by surrounding the metal with some material that will use up the oxygen that is present in the furnace. Once the metal has been uniformly heated to temperature, it is removed from the furnace and placed directly into a quenching tank. This rapidly cools the metal and the metal retains its new qualities.
The forge or smithy is the workplace of a smith or a blacksmith. Forging is the term for shaping metal by plastic deformation. Cold forging is done at low temperatures, while conventional forging is done at high temperatures, which makes metal easier to shape and less likely to fracture.
A basic smithy contains a forge, sometimes called a hearth for heating the metals, commonly iron or steel to a temperature where the metal becomes malleable, or to a temperature where work hardening ceases to accumulate, an anvil to lay the metal pieces on while hammering, and a slack tub to rapidly cool, and thus harden, forged metal pieces in. Tools include tongs to hold the hot metal, and hammers to strike the hot metal.
Once the final shape has been forged, iron and steel in particular often get some type of heat treatment. This can result in various degrees of hardening or softening depending on the details of the treatment.
Forging is the working of metal by plastic deformation. It is distinguished from machining, the shaping of metal by removing material, such as by drilling, sawing, milling, turning or grinding, and from casting, wherein metal in its molten state is poured into a mold, whose form it retains on solidifying. The processes of raising, sinking, rolling, swaging, drawing and upsetting are essentially forging operations although they are not commonly so called because of the special techniques and tooling they require. Forging results in metal that is stronger than cast or machined metal parts. This is because during forging the metal's grain flow changes into the shape of the part, making it stronger. Some modern parts require a specific grain flow to ensure the strength and reliability of the part.
Scan of sectioned, forged connecting rod that has been etched to show grain flow. Many metals are forged cold, but iron and its alloys are almost always forged hot. This is for two reasons: first, if work hardening were allowed to progress, hard materials such as iron and steel would become extremely difficult to work with; secondly, most steel alloys can be hardened by heat treatments, such as by the formation of martensite, rather than cold forging. Alloys that are amenable to precipitation hardening, such as most structural alloys of aluminium and titanium, can also be forged hot, then made strong once they achieve their final shape. Other materials must be strengthened by the forging process itself. Forging was done historically by a smith using hammer and anvil, and though the use of water power in the production and working of iron dates to the 12th century CE, the hammer and anvil are not obsolete. The smithy has evolved over centuries to the forge shop with engineered processes, production equipment, tooling, raw materials and products to meet the demands of modern industry. In modern times, industrial forging is done either with presses or with hammers powered by compressed air, electricity, hydraulics or steam. These hammers are large, having reciprocating weights in the thousands of pounds. Smaller power hammers, 500 pounds or less reciprocating weight, and hydraulic presses are common in art smithies as well. Steam hammers are becoming obsolete. In industry a distinction is made between open- and closed-die forging. In open-die work the metal is free to move except where contacted by the hammer, anvil, or other (often hand-held) tooling. In closed-die work the material is placed in a die resembling a mold, which it is forced to fill by the application of pressure. Many common objects, like wrenches and crankshafts, are produced by closed-die forging, which is well suited to 11
mass production. Open-die forging lends itself to short runs and is appropriate for art smithing and custom work. Closed-die forging is more expensive for mass production than is casting, but produces a much stronger part, and is used for tools, high strength machine parts and the like. Forgings are commonly used in automotive applications, where high strength is demanded, with a constraint on the mass of the part (high strength-to-mass ratio). Forged parts are more suitable for mass production. The process of forging a part becomes cheaper with higher volumes. For these reasons forgings are used in the automotive industry, usually after some machining. One particular variant, drop forging, is often used to mass produce flat wrenches and other household tools.
Types of forges
Standard coal forge A forge which typically uses bituminous coal, industrial coke or charcoal as the fuel to heat metal. The designs of these forges have varied over time, but whether the fuel is coal, coke or charcoal the basic design has remained the same. A forge of this type is essentially a hearth or fireplace designed to allow a fire to be controlled such that metal introduced to the fire may be brought to a malleable state or to bring about other metallurgical effects (hardening, annealing, and drawing temper as examples). The forge fire in this type of forge is controlled in three ways: 1) amount of air, 2) volume of fuel, and 3) shape of the fuel/fire.
Over thousands of years of forging, these devices have evolved in one form or another as the essential features of this type of forge:
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Tuyere -- a pipe through which air can be forced into the fire Bellows or blower -- a means for forcing air into the tuyere Firepot or hearth -- a place where the burning fuel can be contained over or against the tuyere opening.
During operation, fuel is placed in or on the hearth and ignited. A source of moving air, such as a fan or bellows, introduces additional air into the fire through the tuyere. With additional air, the fire consumes more fuel and burns hotter. A blacksmith balances the fuel and air in the fire to suit particular kinds of work. Often this involves adjusting and maintaining the shape of the fire. In a typical, but by no means universal, coal forge, a firepot will be centered in a flat hearth. The tuyere will enter the firepot at the bottom. In operation, the hot core of the fire will be a ball of burning coke in and above the firepot. The heart of the fire will be surrounded by a layer of hot but not burning coke. Around the unburnt coke will be a transitional layer of coal being transformed into coke by the heat of the fire. Surrounding all is a ring or horseshoe-shaped layer of raw coal, usually kept damp and tightly packed to maintain the shape of the fire's heart and to keep the coal from burning directly so that it "cooks" into coke first. If a larger fire is necessary, the smith increases the air flowing into the fire as well as feed and deepen the coke heart. The smith can also adjust the length and width of the fire in such a forge to accommodate different shapes of work. The major variation from the forge and fire just described is a 'back draft' where there is no fire pot, and the tuyere enters the hearth horizontally from the back wall. Coke and charcoal may be burned in the same forges that use coal, but since there is no need to convert the raw fuel at the heart of the fire (as with coal), the fire is handled differently. Individual smiths and specialized applications have fostered development of a variety of forges of this type, from the coal forge described above, to simpler constructions amounting to a hole in the ground with a pipe leading into it.
A forge typically uses propane or natural gas as the fuel. One common, efficient design uses a cylindrical forge chamber and a burner tube mounted at a right angle to the body. The chamber is typically lined with refractory materials, preferably a hard castable refractory ceramic. The burner mixes fuel and air which are ignited at the tip, which
protrudes a short way into the chamber lining. The air pressure, and therefore heat, can be increased with a mechanical blower or by taking advantage of the Venturi effect. Gas forges vary in size and construction, from large forges using a big burner with a blower or several atmospheric burners to forges built out of a coffee can utilizing a cheap, simple propane torch. A small forge can even be carved out of a single soft firebrick. The primary advantage of a gas forge is ease of use, particularly for a novice. A gas forge is simple to operate compared to coal forges, and the fire produced is clean and consistent. They are less versatile, as the fire cannot be reshaped to accommodate large or unusually shaped pieces;. It is also difficult to heat a small section of a piece. A common misconception is that gas forges cannot produce enough heat to enable forge-welding, but a well designed gas forge is hot enough for any task.
Hydraulic forging hammer The workpiece, say a wrench, is created by hammering a piece of hot metal into an appropriately shaped die. The metal (in an easily produced shape like a rod or brick) is heated and placed on the bottom part of a die. The top part of the die then drops onto the piece, which gives the forge its name. The die may drop under gravity or be powered, but in all cases drop forging involves impact. The force of the impact causes the heated metal to flow into the shape of the die, with some metal squirting out of the thin seams between the dies. This thin metal is called "flash" and is cut away in the next stage of processing. The drop-forged pieces usually need further processing, like machining and polishing of working surfaces, to provide tighter tolerances than forging alone can provide, and to produce a good finish.
Hydraulic press forge
In hydraulic press forging the work piece is pressed between the two die halves with gradually increasing force, over a period of a few seconds. The quality of the pieces is better than drop forging as there is more control over metal flow, but takes longer and requires more energy. It also makes the same shape continuously.
Forging is the hammering or forming of hot or cold metal into a certain shape. When the hammering and forming is done by hand it is called hand forging and when it is done by machine it is called drop forging. The forging process starts after having brought the steel to the correct workable temperature between 900°C and 1100°. It allows us, through a process of reduction (for crushing), to get the most various shapes.
A finery forge was a water-powered mill, where pig iron was refined to produce bar iron.
The anvil serves as a work bench to the blacksmith, where the metal to be beaten is placed. An anvil body is made of mild steel, with a top face of high carbon steel approximately 20mm thick welded on it. The flat top has two holes; the wider is called the hardy hole, where the square shank of the hardy fits. The smaller hole is called the punch hole, used as clearance when punching holes in hot metal.
Chisels are made of high carbon steel whose cross-section is an octagon. They are hardened and tempered at the cutting edge while the head is left soft so it will not crack when hammered. Chisels are of two types, the hot and cold chisels. The cold chisel is used for cutting cold metals while the hot chisel is for hot metals. Usually the hot chisels are thinner and therefore can not be substituted with the cold chisel.
Tongs are used by the blacksmith for holding hot metals securely. The mouths are made in various shapes to suit the gripping of various shapes of metal. 15
Fullers are forming tools of different shapes used in making grooves or hollows. They are often used in pairs, the bottom fuller has a square shank which fits into the hardy hole in the anvil while the top fuller has a handle. The work is place don the bottom fuller and the top is placed on the work and struck with a hammer. The top fuller is also used for finishing round corners and for stretching or spreading metal.
The hardy is a cutting tool similar to the chisel. It is used as a chisel or hammer for cutting both hot and cold metals. It has a square shank that fits into the hardy hole in the anvil, with the cutting edge facing upwards. The metal to be cut is placed on the cutting edge and struck with a hammer.
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The ERC/NSM: A metal forming research organization at The Ohio State University,USA Glossary of Forging Terms and Definitions Benefits of the Forging Process Brigham Young University - Drop Forging University of Washington - Manufacturing Techniques Animation of Forging Firetongs Pictures of a large forge at work Video of a ring being forged by a silversmith — With permission from The Devil's Workshop
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