Closed Die Forging
In this process, precut dies known as “tooling” are brought together to completely or partially surround a heated raw material like steel or aluminum. Situated in the bottom die, the material starts off at a size and shape that roughly approximates the final forged product.
When the top die is pressed against it, the profile of the final part takes shape from the pressure of the two dies that are pressed against it.
What Is Closed Die Forging?
Also referred to as impression-die forging, closed die forging is when two or more dies come together to form raw stock into a final product. The process can produce an astounding number of three-dimensional shapes, ranging from just a few ounces to more than 25 tons.
Commonly used presses include mechanical presses, hammer, and hydraulic presses with capacities spanning from 20,000 to 50,000 tons.
Carbon, alloy steels, stainless steel, aluminum, copper alloys, and some titanium alloys can be forged using this process. More specialized processes and/or equipment may be required for certain materials, such as refractory alloys, nickel-based super-alloys, and magnesium.
Some shapes, like rectangular solids and simple spherical shapes, are easier to form than others. At Trenton Forging, our capabilities allow us to create any number of shapes, including parts with long, thin sections or more intricate details like ribs and, flanges, and pockets.
What Is ‘Upsetting,’ and Why Does It Matter?
Upsetting is a specialized closed die forging process where metal is plastically deformed under immense pressure into varying sizes of high-strength components. For longer components where only one end needs to be forged, it can be an ideal choice.
Operating on a horizontal plane, a mechanical press used for upsetting takes advantage of split “grip” dies (dies with grooves in them) that allow material to extrude beyond the boundaries of the press. Sometimes, a third die is attached to the header and aids the forming process as well.
The process produces shapes of exceptional strength because the shape of the finished product is oriented the same way as the grain flow of the material. Going with the grain reduces the chances of cracks and defects in the finished product.
What Is the Difference Between Hot Forging, Cold Forging, and Warm Forging?
Hot forging and cold forging can deliver similar results, but the processes have basic differences. Simply put, hot forging involves shaping a piece of metal (known as a billet or workpiece) into a predefined shape through hammering, upsetting, or other pressing processes where the workpiece is heated to roughly 75% of the temperate at which it melts.
Transmission gears, neck rings for LP gas cylinders, and tapered roller bearing braces are examples of products commonly manufactured through hot forging.
Cold forging, on the other hand, simply involves putting stock between two dies and squeezing the dies together. Screws, bits, camshafts, and axles are all examples of common, everyday items formed through cold forging.
Finally, when the workpiece is heated to a temperature that’s above its hardening temperature yet below the temperature where scale would form, we have what’s called “warm forging.”
Warm forging avoids the expense of cold forging while achieving a level of precision hot forging can’t reliably match. Examples of components formed with warm forging include gears, shafts, and automotive front-wheel-drive tulips.
Open Die Forging vs Closed Die Forging
Both closed and open die forging use a die to hammer or stamp your steel billets into the desired shape. One major factor to consider when comparing open die forging vs closed is that an open die requires additional equipment to achieve a final product. An open die is best used to create simple objects, such as rings, cylinders and discs, but the additional equipment requirements make it less than optimal for precision components.
Using the closed process creates a better surface finish and increased overall strengths and tightness of the grain structure. For mass-produced components, a closed die forge is a recommended option that doesn’t require additional industrial equipment to achieve the ideal finish.
Closed-Impression Die Forging
A closed die forge requires more time and investment to create the die tooling. The closed design requires these closed-impression dies to be constructed with precision to prevent voids and to improve the tolerance of your machining.
Also referred to as impression forging, this type of forging requires state-of-the-art forging equipment for precision results. At Trenton Forging, we use an air-lift, gravity-drop hammer to provide the force necessary to create a detailed component out of a steel billet. Here is the basic process of forging at our facility:
- Raw material procurement
- Tool creation and testing
- Cleaning and heat treating
- Coining and piercing
- Final inspection and shipping
This process ensures you receive accurate components that aren’t affected by voids or surface finish issues. If you need coating, machining, pull testing or additional testing and processing, we incorporate these elements into the timeline and work to start shipping your components in a prompt and efficient manner to meet your deadlines.
What Are the Advantages of Closed Die Forging?
Compared to subtractive manufacturing and billet machining, this type of forging is a particularly efficient option. Eliminate post-processing costs and waste products by choosing our industry-leading services.
Closed die forging heats the steel billets to retain or even improve the raw material grain structure. This results in improved longevity and strength of your final product when compared to other machining, casting or fabrication methods.
With custom-machined dies and a cost-effective forging process that reduces post-processing, Trenton Forging strives to produce products that not only last longer but are engineered for maximum strength and quality. Contact us today for more details.