Frequently Asked Forging Questions – A 101 Introduction
While the majority of people across the UK will have come across the term once or twice, chances are they aren’t in fact up to speed on what ‘forging’ actually means. They’ll probably know it’s in some way connected with metal production, but that’s really as far as the facts go for most.
This is of course understandable as it’s not as if a comprehensive knowledge of what happens in a UK forging company information of Britain’s metal production industry is important just to get by in daily life. At the same time thought, it’s also good to lift the curtain on these seemingly mysterious and far-off industries, just to gain a little insight into not only what they do, but also how important they are.
Here’s a quick overview of some of the more basic questions on the subject of forging and their respective answers:
Forging – What Exactly Is It?
So the most important matter of all to begin with, the term ‘forging’ refers to a process whereby metal parts and components are produced using a specific production method. To put it simply, the forging process differs from all other metal production processes in that the metal is actually squeezed, pressed or pounded into the shape and size required. In other metal production environments the metal may be melted and poured into casts or super-heated before being manipulated – forging on the other hand is quite different. What sets forged metallic products apart from all comparable alternatives is that they are massively stronger and more durable, plus can also be much lighter and more efficient.
Why is Forging Important?
Forging is important because, as mentioned above, it allows industries to create metallic parts which are in every respect vastly superior. Forged parts are categorically the strongest and most reliable in existence, which in turn means that they play a crucial role where second-best is not an option. Take for example the small metallic parts used in airplanes, cars and even household tools – all of these will be made by the forging process to ensure their flawless performance and strength.
Who Buys Forged Parts?
The short answer to this question is everyone…as in quite literally, everyone. In terms of big businesses, one example would be the aerospace industry as each and every airplane in the sky is composed of tens of thousands of forged parts. There are also tons of the things in the car you drive, the home you live in features a wide variety of them and you’ll come across them with almost every step you take every day. And in terms of buying them directly, if you’ve ever gone out and bought yourself a quality spanner, hammer or metallic tool of any kind, you’re buying yourself a forged metallic product.
How Big is the Industry?
In a word – massive! Across the world, pretty much every industry sector you can think of will in some way be dependent on forged metallic parts to get by, meaning that the industry called upon to supply these parts to all other industries needs to be gigantic. And what’s more, there are three separate sectors of the forging industry itself which cater to the specific demands of their clients, which are as follows:
- Catalogue Forgings – A factory that creates a catalogue of forged parts that can be bought in any quantity, though custom orders are not taken.
- Captive Forgings – The factories that create forged parts for the brand or business that actually owns and runs the factory directly.
- Custom Forgings – Businesses that create tailored forged parts for their client’s businesses and make all orders in accordance with unique requests.
Of the three, custom forgings represent the most demanded metallic parts of all as these are the parts that can be ordered to any specification whatsoever and can therefore be applied to any business, industry or project.
Can Any Metal Be Forged?
Largely, the answer is yes. In a technical sense any metal at all can be forged, but there are certain metals that are used more than any others because of their attractive properties. The most common examples of all are copper, brass, steel, aluminium and titanium, though really there’s no limit to what can and cannot be forged.
How Are the Parts Made?
As stated above, the forging process involves pressing, squeezing or pounding the metal into the required shape, rather than melting it down. This involves the use of extremely powerful machinery that can apply up to 50,000 tons of pressure onto the metallic blocks, or hit it with hammer blows of 50,000lbs. It’s a pretty heavy-duty process, but by processing the metal without having to first melt it down, none of its strength or integrity is lost during the process.