A Concise Overview of the Steel Forging Process

Steel is one of the most adaptable materials out there. It is utilized to fabricate various types of items that are utilized in different areas. Presently, many processes are utilized to cut and form steel into wanted shapes and sizes. Presently, forging is a sort of steel shaping process where heat is utilized. It has many advantages and is the most well-known steel forming strategy out there. It is pivotal to understand what process is utilized to make steel forged parts before picking the right one for your application or project.

Forging: an overview

Forging is a process that is used to shape metal. It is a mechanical strategy in which metal is heated in a fire, and after it arrives at a specific temperature, it is formed utilizing outside force. The use of forging tools like tongs and hammers is one method for applying that outer power. Forging is a procedure that is popular at both small and industrial scales. Blacksmiths have been using it for quite a long time to shape different metals. Presently, there are numerous industries in India, and abroad, that use forging on a large scale.

Some of the finest examples of the products produced through the forging process include the following:

  • Crankshafts, Connecting Rods, Steering Knuckles, and Wheel Hubs
  • Brackets, Connectors, Flanges, and Valve Segments
  • Steering Arms, Pitman Arms and Tie Rods
  • Transmission Shafts and Eye Shafts
  • Pinions and Input, Output Shafts
  • Wheel Hub, Rack Piston, and Drop Arm
  • Sector Shaft, Cylinder Cover, and Worm Cover
  • Gears, Support Arms, and Helper Spring Plate
  • Spring Clamp Plates, Mounting Brackets, and Tow Hook
  • Spindle Lock Nut, Drive Shafts, and Final Gear
  • Balancer and Cam Shafts

The process of forging at a glance

With regards to steel forging, there are so many steps involved in the process. As referenced previously, steel forging carried out by the top steel forging manufacturers in India is a refined process, as it decides the nature and quality of the steel. When it comes to regular steel forging, heat is used to shape the metal, however, there is cold forging also in which high pressure is applied in place of heat to produce different steel parts. Cold forging is popular only in small-scale production in which a forging hammer is used. The forging hammer is one of the conventional tools used to forge the metals by the blacksmiths around the globe for hundreds of years. 

Die Design and Making

Die design is one of the most popular methodologies used by the top automotive connecting rods manufacturers in India and across the globe for the shaping of metals, particularly steel. Designing a die is considered to be the most cost-effective way to forge metals; however, it is expensive when compared to casting molds. There are primarily 3 types of molds which steel forging dies include:

  • Forging dies
  • Trimming dies
  • Flattening dies

What it takes to create an innovation-inspired design is as follows:

  • Extensive know-how of product understanding
  • Advanced technology
  • State-of-the-art CAD / CAM infrastructure
  • Unmatched product development expertise
  • 3D models simulation for a better size, weight, and performance optimization

The soft infrastructure used for the design purpose includes:

  • Latest CAD/CAM software including Unigraphics, Delcam, Transvalor, etc.
  • AutoCAD for 2D Design and Drawings
  • UG NX6 for solid 3D modeling and Drafting
  • UG NX6 for CAM programming and Verification
  • NC Code for the generation for high-speed VMC machines for Tools & Die making
  • Deform 3D Software for offline parts development, optimizing the forging process, the raw material required, and better utilization of press & dies

Billet Cutting

Billet cutting plays a crucial role in the forging cycle. In the wake of the die design and making, the steel goes for the cutting procedure where it is cut into wanted shapes and sizes. At various times, even suitable heat is utilized to serve the purpose. The steel is heated before the cutting process begins.

Trimming

Trimming dies are used to carry out the trimming process. The additional layer of steel accumulated on the edges also known as flash is trimmed making use of the trimming dies. Then, the steel structure is put between two die layers, and high pressure is applied to get the end product.  

Heating

Heating or giving heat treatment is one of the most important steps in the steel forging process. Heat treatment determines the robustness, strength, and longevity of the steel. As for steps involved in this process, they include:

  • Normalizing
  • Quenching
  • Annealing
  • Tempering
  • Hardening, and
  • Solution treatment

Shot Blasting

Shot blasting is also an important process performed to obtain a well-finished and shinier-looking end product. At various times, forged steel happens to develop scales. So, the same shot blasting process is carried out to get rid of them.

Machining

The manufacturers must ensure a tight tolerance level in the forged steel. Generally, the purpose is served by following the above process but sometimes forged steel needs to go through the machining process in a sophisticated facility equipped with the following tools and machines:

  • CNC Machining Centers
  • Vertical Turning Lathes
  • Flexible machining centers
  • Multi-machine manning
  • Hydraulic fixture for quick clamping / de-clamping
  • In-process gauging
  • Special Gauges for Con Rods
  • 2 Con-rod Machining Lines
  • Daimler Support Arms Machining Line
  • Hub Machining Line

Surface Treatment

Surface treatment is the last step in the steel forging process right before the inspection begins. In this step, the surface of the forged parts is treated with water, oil, or anti-rust painting. In some cases, the forged parts are also treated with the following:

  • Color painting
  • Zinc plating
  • Electro painting

Concluding Remarks

Caparo’s forging division is a leading manufacturer of closed die forgings in India. This significant division of the company came into existence in the year 2009 to manufacture and supply a wide range of forged and machined products including Crankshafts, Connecting Rods, Support Arms, and other components for a variety of automotive and non-automotive applications. Caparo forging is the preferred partner for leading names in the industry such as Iljin, Daimler, Rane TRW, Woosu, AVTEC, Royal Enfield, Delphi TVS, CAT, Simpson & Co Ltd, and many more.