In nearly every man-made environment, metal-based products comprise the many conveniences we use on a daily basis. From lamps and kitchen appliances to automobiles and skyscrapers, we are reliant on the manufacturers and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) suppliers who produce the components that, when compiled into final products, create the world we live in.
There are many processes when it comes to manufacturing metal components and products. The metal fabrication process includes cutting, folding, welding, machining, punching, stamping, shearing, casting and forging. However, while many of these reshape the alloy, only casting and forging manipulate the shape of the metal at the interior level, allowing for a more significant reshaping of the metal.
The key differences between casting and forging are as follows:
- Casting is the process in which metal is heated in a furnace until molten. While in the liquid state, the metal is poured in a die, or mold, to create a component shape.
- Forging is the process in which thermal and mechanical energy is applied to ingots to cause the alloy to change shape while in a solid state.
In this blog post, we go over the difference between casting and forging, several benefits of both processes and the industries in which each are commonly used.
Casting: Benefits, Defects, and Common Products and Industries
Casting is one of the most popular manufacturing processes due to the complex and large volume of industrial parts and components. Here are the primary benefits of this process:
- Complex components: When aluminum is melted and cast into a die, components with complex internal chambers and external features reduce the amount of metal removal to complete the finished part.
- Flexible quantities: Die casting is commonly used to produce a high volume of components with a typical rate of 100 hits per die.
- Strength and quality: To solidify the molten aluminum, components are rapidly chilled to solidify into a texture free of porosity, giving the components stronger metallurgical properties.
- Minimized labor: Depending on the manufacturer, casting can occur through robotic processes that cut down on the number of required laborers and technicians, allowing for decreased risk and errors.
- Low cost: Reduction in labor costs is a significant benefit to an automated casting process. Additionally, using metal such as aluminum reduces the price of raw materials that provide customers with a low unit price.
Although there are many benefits to casting, there is the potential for contamination while the metal is in liquid state. In the cooling state, defects such as interior tears or cracks can develop as the mass cools at different rates. However, quality assurance that implements current technology, including X-ray machines, allow for accurate readings of the components prior to packaging and shipment.
Casting in the Automotive Industry
In 2018, the global metal casting market size was valued at $123.8 billion. This value is expected to expand at a CAGR of 5.3 percent from 2019 to 2025. The increasing demand comes, in part, from the automotive sector that anticipates to drive this market growth over the six year period.
Leading this increase in metals is aluminum, not only because it is less expensive than steel but because it creates more lightweight vehicles, which require less fuel. The stringent regulations regarding pollution and energy efficiency in vehicles plays a role in the growth of the casting industry: Casting is one of the primary processes of automotive component manufacturing due to the complexity of the components.
Forging: Benefits, Defects, and Common Products and Industries
With forging, the metal is heated to a plastic stage so that the application of compression, applied manually or automatically, elongates the material and decreases the cross section. As one of the oldest approaches to reshaping metal, it provides several benefits:
- Stronger products: Shaping and reshaping the metal changes the internal microstructure to disperse alloy concentrations and eliminate voids to create a denser component.
- Higher fatigue strength: Forging strengthens the mechanical properties to increase stress level, thereby curbing failure of the component.
- Low operating cost: With the combination of fewer required materials and less machining, forging provides lower operating costs.
- Variety of shapes accomplished: Forging creates components often found in industries that require high levels of resistance and reliability, such as the automotive, aerospace and agricultural industries.
Manufacturers choose forging for components and products that require significant strength. With this comes higher initial costs, secondary finishing processes required by hot foraging and limits to the complexity of the shapes.
Forging in the Oil and Gas Industry
In 2018, the metal forging market size was estimated at $1.08 billion and expected to increase at a CAGR of 2.1 percent from 2019 to 2025. One of key drivers for market growth is the oil and gas industry, which requires components and products to have high overall strength and fatigue strength. The metal components include ball valves, electric motors, turbines, wellhead equipment, pumps and more.
An OEM Supplier With a Full Range of Services
When partnering with VPIC Group, you don’t have to wonder about the difference between casting and forging. Instead, our team of technicians can offer the metal manipulation process that works best to produce your desired product. Whether the components are complex and need to be produced at a high volume or they require higher resistance, our manufacturing services have you covered.
Ready to get started on your casting or forging project? Contact us today.