Forging: The Advantages and Disadvantages

Forging is the process of shaping metal, and is a common practice in a range of manufacturing industries. There are various types of forging, and these are often distinguished by the temperature at which it is conducted. The 3 independent classifications are cold, warm and hot, with the most popular types of metal including iron and steel almost universally forged hot. The process has many advantages and also some disadvantages to the companies that use it.

The Benefits of Forging

Forging is almost entirely beneficial process from the point of view of those who use the finished product. The process of forging often produces a piece of metal that is far stronger than a piece that has been fortified by a machine part or cast. In terms of metals such as steel and iron, which are the most commonly utilized materials within the construction industry, this strength and durability is key to their appeal and the tasks that they perform.

The grain of the metal is also fortified by the process of forging, allowing it to remain continuous through the part as it is worked upon. As it is shaped, the grain melds to the specific outline of the part, which only increases the strength of the material and the actual metal part. These facets of forging at heat ensure that it remains especially popular when it comes to shaping steel and iron, and guarantee a high quality product for the receiver.

Are There Any Disadvantages to Forging?

In terms of hot forging, there can be issues for parts which are required to go through a secondary mechanical process afterwards. For any secondary process that needs to be carried out after a metal item has been forged, it must have undergone the work hardening process that would ensure from cold forging. Hot forging can prevent this, although in many cases there are more economic and easy to control alternatives to work hardening anyway.

In any case some forgings, such as aluminum alloy pieces and titanium, can be work hardened after hot forging so the issue is not an overly significant one. The only considerable drawback to forging are the costs involved in paying for machinery and tooling, although this is chiefly a concern for the forging company rather than the individual trade operative or customer.

The Bottom Line

Forging is an established metal shaping process, and one that offers significant benefits to the individual metal piece or item involved. While it can be costly to set up and operate for individual companies, the quality, strength and durability of the finished product provides ultimate satisfaction for the customer.