What is Forging?
Forging is manufacturing process where metal is pressed, pounded or squeezed under great pressure into high strength parts known as forgings. The process is normally (but not always) performed hot by preheating the metal to a desired temperature before it is worked. It is important to note that the forging process is entirely different from the casting (or foundry) process, as metal used to make forged parts is never melted and poured (as in the casting process).
Why use forgings and where are they used?
The forging process can create parts that are stronger than those manufactured by any other metalworking process. This is why forgings are almost always used where reliability and human safety are critical. But you'll rarely see forgings, as they are normally component parts contained inside assembled items such a airplanes, automobiles, tractors, ships, oil drilling equipment, engines, missiles and all kinds of capital equipment - to name a few.
Who buys forgings?
Forged parts vary in size, shape and sophistication - from the hammer and wrench in your toolbox to close tolerance precision components in the Boeing 747 and NASA space shuttle. In fact, over 18,000 forgings are contained in a 747. Some of the largest customer markets include: aerospace, national defense, automotive, and agriculture, construction, mining, material handling, and general industrial equipment. Even the dies themselves that make forgings (and other metal and plastic parts) are forged.
How big is the forging industry?
The forging industry is composed of those plants that;
a) make parts to order for customers (referred to as custom forgings);
b) make parts for their own company's internal use (referred to as captive forgings);
c) make standard parts for resale (referred to as catalog forgings).