A Balance of Art and Science
In earlier days forging was the process of shaping metal by heating and hammering.
Today, metal is not always heated for forging and the work may be performed by several types of heavy machines which apply impact or squeeze pressure with swift precision.
In today’s forging industry the skill and seasoned judgment of the forgeman is enhanced by the machines of modern technology to produce metal parts of unparalleled strength and utility.
Understanding the Artform
The art of forging is being augmented by the science of forging at an increasingly rapid rate. Thus, as service requirements for mechanical parts have become more severe, forging has become more than the mere shaping of metal. Forging permits the structure of metals to be refined and controlled to provide improved mechanical properties.
Also, forging produces a continuous “grain flow” in the metal which can be oriented to follow the shape of the part and result in maximum strength efficiency of the material. Since virtually all metals can be forged – from aluminum to zirconium – extensive combinations of mechanical and physical properties are available to meet demanding space age applications.
“Without forgings – and the performance characteristics they provide – autos, airplanes, trucks, farm implements, earthmoving machines, missiles, industrial engines and machine, and the implements of national defense, as we know them, would not be feasible.” *
* Forging Industry Association, 1970, p. 1-4)
Toward a Definition
Technically, forging may be defined as the process of giving metal increased utility by shaping it, refining it, and improving its mechanical properties through controlled plastic deformation under impact or pressure.
But the true meaning of forging can be more clearly recognized by considering the variety of ways it serves mankind and the important characteristics forged parts offer those who design, purchase and use them.
Forgings are commonly found in machines and conveyances at critical points of shock or stress – particularly where reliability and human safety are affected. And yet the great variety of shapes, sizes, and properties available in forgings has extended the list current applications and potential future uses far beyond this point.
Large Forgings for commercial and military aircraft applications which focuses on capabilities and covers sample projects.
Complex Hand Forging Overview
Our complex hand forgings are shaped to reduced material requirements, provide superior microstructure and grain flow, and are delivered in the full heat treated condition.
Forging the Future
The future of forging is being shaped by ever increasing technological advancements.
Alloy development will grant customers greater and more accurate material selection when fitting a material to a specific application. Improved equipment controls will enable forging companies to make more repeatable product with nearer net shapes and higher rates of production.
Simulation will need to increase in accuracy as to optimize the manufacturing processes and predict more characteristics like microstructures and residual stresses. This exciting wave of technical improvement and development will allow the forging industry to remain cost competitive in the high performance metals market.
But it is not merely advancements in technology that define the forging future.
Individuals in the forging industry will need to continue their education and training to keep pace with these developments.
Thus with these technical and professional advancements, this age-old industry is forging an exciting future.