What Is the Difference Between Drop Forging & Press Forging?

All types of industries rely on metal forging, which uses either impact or pressure to shape metals into a desired shape or size. Forging, however, isn’t a standardized process. There are actually a wide array of forging processes that are used within the industry.

In this article, we’ll discuss the difference between two common processes: drop forging and press forging.

Let’s start with drop forging. 

What Is Drop Forging?

drop forged carbon steel

Drop forging, often referred to as hammer forging, is the process of repeatedly impacting the material between an upper and lower die. The lower die is normally fixed atop an anvil while the top die is lifted and dropped, impacting the material resting on the lower dies.

The Two Types of Drop Forging

The two main types of drop forging include open die and impression die forging. 

Much like the name implies, open die forging allows unrestricted material movement between two flat or generically contoured dies. This means that the material is mostly visible during the process and the operator can easily move or adjust the position of the steel being forged. 

With impression die forging, dies dedicated to a specific component are machined with impressions that the material fills when impacted. The impressions resemble that of molds, but the material only reaches plastic deformation temperature, never approaching the point of melting. The material is displaced by impact into the impression until the upper and lower dies completely enclose the now-forged component. 

The Press Forging Process

close-up picture of hot steel manual forging process with big mechanical hammer machine

During press forging, the steel is formed between two dies that are hydraulically or mechanically controlled. Instead of the repeated hammering that’s involved in drop forging, the press forging process involves only a single stroke per die impression.

Which Process Do You Need?

forged alloy steel

The type of forging process you need depends on many factors, including, but not limited to, the size of the part that is being forged, the required level of dimensional precision, and the type of alloy that will be forged. 

If you’re not sure whether drop forging or press forging is best for your application, you should work with an experienced forging company like Trenton Forging; we’ll help you determine the most efficient method.

Learn More From Trenton Forging Today

Trenton Forging has developed a long and storied history of innovation and performance since our inception in 1967. We operate in multiple industries and our strong customer relationships are built upon consistently exceeding expectations. 

If you would like to better understand the difference between drop forging and press forging, or just want to know which process is best for your application, contact us today.