Forging vs Casting : What Is The Difference Between Casting and Forging

Over the years, many metallurgical factories have practiced many metal fabrication technology. In this case, forging vs casting are standard metal fabrication methods. Consequently, these factories have gradually upgraded these techniques based on their generation requirements. However, metal forging vs casting is one of the metallurgy’s oldest metal reformation techniques. Both of these metal fabrication methods have been around for thousands of years. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the fundamentals of these two popular methods (forging vs casting). Besides, the difference between casting and forging may not be understandable the first time. But it will be apparent once you have read the article completely.

Maybe you are looking for a metal part that doesn’t exist. Or, you may need to make it from custom manufacturing. In addition, you also need the metal part, which ensures quality and durability. The difference between the casting and forging guide will make it easy for you. It will help to choose the appropriate metal fabrication process for your required metal part.

This article is a definitive guide to the fundamental differences between forging and casting. First, we will discuss basic information about these two methods (forging vs casting). Later, we prepared a summary table, a quick hint of understanding. However, it highlighted all the fundamental differences between forging and casting.

What Is Forging?

Forging is a traditional metal shaping method using a comprehensive force. This metal fabrication process is prevalent in most metal fabrication shops. However, a hammer or die is the primary equipment to produce this force. This equipment continues to strike the metal until it gets the required shape. This deformation of the metal is also famous as the pounding action. It creates unbroken grain flow allowing the metal to retain its strength. In this unique grain flow, there’s a term called ancillary effect, which eliminates defects, inclusion, or porosity.

Since different forging processes are popular, experts have divided them into three main classes. First, Drawn out increases the length and decreases the cross-sectional area. Second, upset reduces the size and increases the cross-section area. However, in the third forging process, the squeezed process creates different directional flows. On the other hand, based on the temperature at which the operation is performed, there are two types of forging: Hot forging and cold forging.

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Benefits of Forging Metals

Since forging is one of the oldest metal fabrication technologies, it provides some advantages. A typical steel forging process improves metal’s mechanical properties. Specifically, it increases consistency, strength, tighter grain structure, and prolonged durability. However, the following four advantages are noteworthy for the metal forging process.

  • Strength: Why is the metal forging process undoubtedly produces stronger metals than the casting process? During the forging process, the internal metal grain deforms and creates variation in the texture. It results in an increased strength characteristic.
  • Reliability: Since forging produces metals with increased strength, it ultimately provides consistent ductility.
  • Integrity: Due to metal increased strength and elasticity, forged steel provides high predictability.
  • Budgeted Option: The metal forging process is cheaper than casting. It doesn’t require additional tooling for the mold.

Drawbacks

Although forged steel provides a wide range of benefits, it has some disadvantages too. As a result of these drawbacks, people choose the casting process. The following are the three main reasons why people choose casting over forging.

  • Limitations over the shape: It is the main reason why people choose casting over forging. Metal forging is not suitable for complex shape manufacturing. It can manufacture a relatively more uncomplicated shape than metal casting. As a result, it can not meet the requirements of lots of applications.
  • Lower tolerance: Some forged metals can not assure higher tolerance. As a result, forged steel can not meet the requirements of higher-tolerance applications.
  • Additional operation: The forged steel may require additional machining for a better outcome. Casting requires less additional machining than the other metal fabrication process.

Popular Applications

Forged steel is prevalent in a wide range of applications.

  1. Aerospace Industry:Forged parts are used in many parts of aircraft, such as engines and landing gears, as well as medium to large parts in other parts. Because forged parts have excellent impact resistance.
  2. Automotive Industry:In the automotive automation industry, forged parts are also essential, such as the gearbox, crankshaft connecting rod, transmission set gears, etc., all of which are composed of forged parts. And the durability of forged parts is also crucial for supporting the wheels of automobiles.
  3. Energy Sector:In the production of oil and gas, as well as in power generation, forged parts are used in high-pressure valves, turbines, and generators where exceptional performance and resistance to harsh environments are required.
  4. Agricultural Machinery:In the field of agricultural machinery, many agricultural machinery equipment require forged parts because many large agricultural machinery equipment requires high-strength and weighing operations, so forged parts play an indispensable role in it. For example, tractors and combine harvesters, which have many forgings on them.
  5. Heavy Machinery and Construction:The characteristics of forged parts are durability and the ability to weigh, for example, they are widely used in mining equipment and lifting equipment in the construction industry. In harsh working environments, the wear resistance and weighing ability of forged parts are well demonstrated.

What Is Casting?

Metal casting is a metal fabrication process that pours molten metal into a mold chamber and creates complex metal shapes. The casting process is more than 7000 years old in metal manufacturing. However, the mold is a specialized chamber consisting of different gating systems and a cavity. This cavity finally creates different metal shapes. This mold can be permanent or temporary based on the type of casting methods.

However, four types of casting methods are widely popular in metal manufacturing. These types depend on different mold types. Each casting method offers unique capabilities to make simple and complex metal parts.

  • Sand Casting: This casting method uses different non-reusable sands as a mold to create different types of metal shapes. “Sand Mould Casting: Everything you should know” is a definitive guide to the fundamentals of sand casting.
  • Investment Casting: This method creates a mold from a pattern filled with refractory material. The wax pattern is the most common choice in this type of casting. However, “Advantages and Disadvantages of Investment Casting” highlights the fundamentals of investment casting.
  • Die Casting: In this casting method, high pressure forces the molten metal into the mold. Die molds usually consist of two different parts. Once the molten metal cools down, you can open these two parts and remove the mold. You may get more information in the article “Investment Casting vs Die Casting – Choose the Best Method for Your Project.”
  • Centrifugal Casting: This casting method uses a permanent mold to have a finer internal diameter. Centrifugal casting products are comparatively durable. This casting method is the most common for large order quantities.

Benefits of Casting Metals

The drawbacks of the forging process become the benefit of the casting process. The following four points are the primary benefits you can get from the casting process.

  • Complex metal shapes: The casting method can create various metal shapes and sizes. Using different casting methods, you can make all types of metal shapes. This benefit helped a lot of companies to develop advanced technology.
  • Flexible: Casting methods are incredibly faster than the typical forging process. The die-casting way is famous for making a high volume of metal parts with an average speed of 100 hits per die.
  • Quality finish: Casting parts usually don’t require additional machining as it comes out with a quality finish.
  • Less labor: Casting methods are semi or fully-automated processes. As a result, operating the specific parts doesn’t require many employees.

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Drawbacks

Similar to the forging method, the casting method has some drawbacks. Because of these drawbacks, people can go for the forging process if they don’t require complex shapes. The following two are the main drawbacks of the forging process.

  • High Cost: Metal casting require comparatively higher cost than forging equipment. Besides, the machinery used for casting is also relatively expensive.
  • Lower integrity: Porosity is a common phenomenon in the casting process. However, the forging process seldom creates porosity defects.

Casting vs Forging vs Machining

Casting and forging both belong to the process of shaping parts, so when we obtain rough parts through casting or forging, we need to perform the next step of precision machining on the parts. According to the customer’s needs, we will cut or grind the parts, and this step of the process needs to be completed on the machine tool or CNC center.

There is also a complementary relationship between the three processes of casting, forging, and machining.

  • Initial formation and precision machining:
    Casting provides the initial forming foundation for complex shaped parts, forging is the process of heating and forging to shape the metal in a plastic state, while machining provides the final fine machining of the parts, such as grinding/cutting/drilling, etc.
  • Complementary functions:
    Casting and forging give the parts their initial shape, ensuring their strength and basic performance, while machining further improves the parts.
  • The completeness and synergy of the process:
    The three processes can also achieve a collaborative relationship, forming the complete process of part formation, and each process plays a crucial role.

Popular Applications

Casting and forging are widely used in different fields. The casting method is also popular in a wide range of industries. Some industries overlap with forging application industries, but the end-use case are very different within each industry.

  1. Automotive Industry: In the field of automotive and motorcycle automation, castings are widely used. Because many parts require extremely complex shapes, these special shaped parts can only be completed by casting. For example, the cylinder block and gearbox of a car engine, and so on. For motorcycles, the heat resistance and accuracy of cast parts are commendable, especially for the pedals of off-road motorcycles, which must be made using casting technology.
  2. Aerospace Industry: In aircraft manufacturing, casting is employed for parts that require complex geometries and lightweight materials, such as turbine blades, exhaust systems, and cockpit components for both commercial and military aircraft.
  3. Rail Industry: Cast parts are crucial for the production of locomotives and rolling stock, including parts like wheel sets, and brake components, where strength and reliability are paramount.
  4. Shipbuilding industry: In the field of shipbuilding, castings have also been widely used. Castings have appeared on many large ships, such as propellers and anchors, which are large castings with corrosion resistance and durability.
  5. Medical equipment: There are many stainless steel parts with extremely complex shapes on medical equipment, and these complex shapes and high surface accuracy requirements can only be achieved through casting technology. For example, some surgical instruments, implantable instruments, etc.
  6. Construction and Infrastructure: In the construction sector, casting is used for structural components, plumbing fixtures, and in decorative elements, combining strength with aesthetic versatility.

Forging vs Casting: The Difference Between Casting And Forging

Forging and casting are both widespread in the metal manufacturing industries. Depending on the customer requirements, these industries choose between forging vs casting. We have prepared a summary table of casting vs forging in the following. In this case, this summary table will give you the hints required to distinguish between casting vs forging. Whether it is forging or casting, they will be combined with machining, which is an essential connection of forging vs casting vs machining. .

ContentMetal Forging Metal Casting
Definition It is a metal fabrication process that uses comprehensive force to create metal shapes.It is a metal fabrication process that involves pouring molten metal into a mold to create different metal shapes.
Compressive strengthProducts from forging have a high compressive strengthProducts from casting have low compressive strength.
Fatigue strengthProducts from metal forging have high fatigue strength.Products from casting have low fatigue strength.
Shapes and sizesMetal forging has limitations in manufacturing complex metal shapes.Different casting methods can produce all types of metal shapes.
ToleranceProducts from metal forging usually have lower tolerancesProducts from casting offer high tolerances
Labor requiredMetal forging requires comparatively more labor than casting.Metal casting requires less labor than metal forging.

Forging vs Casting: Which is Cheaper?

The cost of casting forging are generally considered to be less expensive than forging for several reasons:

  1. Material Efficiency: Casting is the process of shaping parts through pouring. After cooling, the tree part is cut off for material recycling, so casting is a production process that does not waste materials. Forging requires machining and grinding the excess parts after forging, which can waste some materials. In contrast, casting has more advantages and can save material costs.
  2. Tooling and Equipment Costs: The main tool cost for casting is the mold, which is a one-time input and continuous output. Forging requires the purchase of large-scale forging equipment, as forging cannot be completed manually, so the purchase price of large-scale equipment required for forging is higher.
  3. Labor Costs: In the era of Industry 4.0, casting has developed into highly automated mechanization, and casting factories have reached a fully automated production state. Only a small amount of engineering is needed to supervise and supervise the production workshop, and the labor cost is very low. In contrast, forging is slightly inferior because some of the shape requirements of the parts require manual judgment in manufacturing.
  4. Production Speed and Volume: Casting forging can enter the mass production stage after opening the mold, especially the production efficiency of die casting technology is extremely high.

However, it’s important to note that the choice between casting and forging will depend on the specific requirements of the part, including material properties, mechanical strength, production volume, and the complexity of the design.

Summary

Above all, forging vs casting is a popular topic in metal industries. Moreover, casting or forging, these two metal fabrication process (casting vs forging) creates high-quality metal products. In this case, each method has unique capabilities, making it popular for individual products. Forging produces more tensile, fatigue, and yield strength than casting. On the other hand, casting manufactures both simple and complex metal shapes.

Dawang Casting produces all types of casting products while ensuring high quality and guaranteed durability of their metal parts. We have also helped our clients in selecting between forging and casting for their project needs. Therefore, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about your project!

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