Chances are everyone will have come across the term from time to time, but actually understanding what forging is all about is another thing entirely. We know it takes place in huge industrial factories and involves heavy machinery – we also know the result is something of a metallic nature. That being said, the overwhelming majority of people have little to no idea how incredibly important the forging industry is to the world we live in today – things really would grind to a halt without it.
So rather than getting too bogged down with the technical stuff, it’s much easier to look at just a few simple facts about forging and the forging industry to start getting the idea across.
Most metals can be forged
For example, did you know that:
Most Metals Can be Forged
It’s a common misconception that only a certain few specialist metals can be forged into any given shape and size, when in fact this isn’t the case at all. The forging industry deals in pretty much every metal the world has come across to date and any number of manmade alloys too. The reason being that each metal and alloy has its own unique properties by way of strength, weight, durability and cost, so it’s important for the forging industry to offer access to as many options as possible. From the cheapest of heavyweight forged parts to the super-strong and lightweight components used for aircraft, pretty much anything goes.
Forging Doesn’t Necessarily Require the Addition of Heat
Most assume that the creation of metal parts and components always requires extreme heat to be applied to the metal beforehand. In fact, it’s a common misconception that metal is always melted in order for it to be shaped, but with forging this isn’t the case at all. Quite to the contrary in fact as while there is indeed such a thing as hot forging, there is also a technique known as cold forging where no heat is applied to the metal at all. Instead, the metal is exposed to enormous pressure in the form of pounding or squeezing in order to press it into the desired shape. The entire process is totally different from that of casting – the process of melting the metal down and pouring it into a mold.
Dozens of Global Industries Depend on Forged Parts
The forging process grants the world access to the strongest, most durable and most widely customizable metallic parts and components imaginable. Not only is it possible to order a metallic part in any given shape and size, but it’s also possible to determine its strength to weight ratio down with huge precision and tailor costs by choosing the most appropriate material. As such, it’s little surprise that so many of the world’s most important industries would not be able to run were it not for these forged parts. From the largest passenger jets in the skies to the biggest ocean liners to the tanks used by the military and the miners digging for coal, where the strongest parts are needed for any given purpose, you can guarantee forging plays a part.
There Are Probably Forged Products in Your Home!
You may not realise it, but there’s probably a great example of what forged products are created for any how they work in your home right now. Take a look in your toolbox and if you have a spanner, a wrench or any other tool of decent enough quality in there, chances are it was created using forging. The metallic end of the hammer is forced to withstand quite incredible punishment for example, therefore forging is really the only option for making such products.
Most likely you will have objects forged in your home
There Are Definitely Forged Products in Your Car!
And if not around the home, it’s safe to say that no matter what car you drive there will be forged parts in its makeup. Certain parts of any car are forced to endure massive pressure and impacts during everyday use, which would see standard metallic parts fall to pieces in no time at all – just the job for forged parts!
Forging Is a Gigantic Global Industry
And finally, the global forging industry is truly enormous and contributes billions of pounds to the economy each and every year. It employs hundreds of thousands of people and keeps a huge number of industries operational. For example, did you realise that in a standard passenger jet there are well over 15,000 forged metal parts?
Something to remember next time you’re off on holiday anywhere!
An article by Chris Jenkinson in conjunction with Brooks Forgings.
Image credits: Dennis Jarvis and Zigazou76