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DROP FORGING - OPEN DIE FORGING

V.Ryan © 2020

 

Drop forging is a technique associated with the manufacture of cross-sections, shapes and forms. It is a similar process, to that of the Power Hammer, but on a much larger scale. The metal to be forged is heated to 1000 - 1300 degrees centigrade. The work is shaped between the top ram and die AND the bottom anvil and die. As the top ram and die ‘press’ the metal against the bottom die, the operator carefully manipulates the billet, to produce the desired shape. Larger drop forges, require the metal to be held by special ‘clamps’ / ‘arms’, that are often controlled via a remote control unit. Open dies are generally simpler than ‘closed’ dies. Closed dies, totally ‘enclose’ the billet / metal to be forged and can be considered a two piece‘mould’.

The Drop forging process, allows for the manufacture of durable and strong components, optimising the structural strength of the metal. Through drop forging, the granular structure is compressed and aligned with the shape of the component being formed. Drop forging reduces the possibility of structural defects.

Other manufacturing technologies including, machining, casting and 3D printing, cannot match the structural strength of drop forging.

 
 
 
 
 
 
The range of metals suitable for drop forging include, steel, aluminium and some brasses and bronzes. Our modern aerospace industry, drop forge specialist metals such as, titanium, inconel, copper and brass alloys and stainless steel.
Open die forging can be on a small or large scale. For example, with small scale drop forging, the billet can be held by the Blacksmith, with a set of tongs, whilst forging.
The open die forging shown below, is on a large industrial scale. The billet is being held by an hydraulic arm and jaws, controlled at a safe distance, by a ‘remote’ operator.
 
 
 
 
Below is an example of small scale open die forging taking place, on a smaller drop forge. The Blacksmith holds the yellow hot metal with tongs and manipulates it, slowing forming the shape, between two carefully selected dies.
 
 
 
 
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