The art of forging dates back to at least 4000BC aging the process to over 6000 years old! It is one of the oldest metalworking processes and involves the shaping of metal using compressive forces – usually a hammer (mainly a power hammer) or die (tool) is used. Forging is often categorised depending on the temperature used – there’s cold forging, warm forging and hot forging. For the warm and hot forging, the metal is heated in a forge.
There are several types of hot forging as well, which include Drop Forging, Upset Forging and Hand Forging.
The process of compressing the pre-heated material between two dies. Usually a hammer is raised and then ‘dropped’ onto a heated piece of metal to reshape it. There are two types of drop forging – open-die and closed-die. The advantages of drop forging consist of greater strength and improved microstructure.
one of the most commonly used methods and can also be known as ‘heading’. It is mainly used to form bolt heads and screw heads etc. However, some materials will then need to have drop forging to, for example, punch the hole out of an eyebolt.
Most forging is done manually, especially Hand Forging, also known as blacksmithing, where the work is performed by hand, by highly skilled staff. The metal is initially heated to red heat and then beaten into shape on a metal anvil. The end result are products that are stronger and much more durable.
Forging can be very dangerous and must be done with deep care and consideration. Some workers experience joint pain, risk to sight/hearing and burns.
Most forging companies are family run and have been in the family for generations, which many companies are extremely proud of.
In recent times, technological advances have led to potentially using computer-controlled hammers in the future.