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Aluminum forging is the process of heating and shaping a work piece using compression or a similar force. There are many different types and methods of aluminum forging with various applications. Often useful for industrial, commercial or specialized applications, forging has many advantages over other methods of aluminum fabrication. Volume and certain physical properties, for instance, are often easy to control.
The type of forging can vary, depending on the desired product. Many types of forging include heating and pressing a piece of aluminum, though cold forging is available for specialized pieces. Some examples include conventional and seamless forging. Conventional aluminum forging generally presses two heated pieces of aluminum stock together with a two-sided press. Seamless forging is much the same but utilizes precision forges or secondary processes to complete a work piece.
Forging methods usually change with the application but can vary substantially beyond the basic design. This often makes aluminum forging an attractive method of production in industrial, commercial and specialized applications. If custom orders or unique parts are required, aluminum forging can be designed to compensate. Depending on the situation, some methods of forging aluminum can have significant advantages over other methods.
The advantages of aluminum forging include easy replication, mass production and reduced cost. Once a die has been created and a forging process begun, reproduction of the same piece is restricted only by the amount of aluminum available. This makes mass production of aluminum pieces possible and potentially more cost effective than other methods, because product cost decreases with an increase in volume.
Volume often alters the advantages and disadvantages of certain types of forging. Mass production demands high precision over large volumes to assure product quality and, as a result, automated forging processes are often used. On the other hand, manual aluminum forging often requires small forges with direct access to heating or processing elements to control product quality. Manual forges are often considered best for fulfilling custom or specialized product demands, because the presses used are usually interchangeable.
Physical properties can be monitored and controlled through aluminum forging as well. The strength and tolerances of a product, for instance, can be adjusted by changing the forces exerted on a work piece. This can be helpful when creating functional or decorative pieces with different strength and tolerance requirements. This type of forging also can allow for easier manipulation of grain structure than other methods.