Supporting Alternative Energy with Drop Forging
Drop forging is one of the oldest forms of metal forging,
based on the ancient technology of blacksmithing. Drop forging is designed to
place specific stress on the metal to improve its overall strength. Even though
the process is so old, it is surprisingly good for the environment.
Drop forging can benefit the alternative energy source
because of its clean manufacturing methods. More regulations for clean metals
are implemented all the time, and other manufacturing methods cannot produce
strong enough materials without using the contraband materials. Drop forging is
an incredible simple manufacturing process that can product strong metal
without harmful additives.
Drop forging can be used with recyclable products. Most drop
forgings are created from simple, natural materials that are easy to use over
and over again. Even in extremely regulated environments, like in safe drinking
water fittings, pipes, and faucets, drop forged parts can meet the strict requirements
for lead-free, brass products. Drop forged parts also contain trace amounts of
other harmful materials like arsenic and cadmium.
Drop forged parts for drinking water can also reduce
bacterial infections, because lead-free copper alloys manufactured using
drop forging methods have an antibacterial effect on the water inside
the pipes. This is an unprecedented benefit that exceeds all current
requirements for clean drinking water in any country. As an added bonus,
the copper alloys are almost completely recyclable and can be
manufactured from other recycled metals. This will help many industries
around the world improve their sustainability.
Drop forging is a metal shaping process in which a hammer drops onto an
ingot, or metal workpiece, in order to compress it and conform it into
the shape of a die or set of dies. Drop forging is the most common metal
forging method, and it can be employed in hot forging, warm forging,
and cold forging, as well as in both open die forging and closed die
forging. This is a modern form of smith forging; the manual force of the
blacksmith wielding a hammer has been replaced by a mechanized hardened
alloy steel hammer fitted with a specially shaped die.
Forging strengthens metal for its particular use by causing the internal grain of the metal to deform to follow the shape of the part. Most metals can be drop forged, but among the most common are high alloy steel, naval brass, carbon steel, aluminum, alloy metals, stainless steel, copper, nickel, tool steel and titanium. Drop forgings are used particularly often by industries such as aerospace, national defense, automotive, agriculture, construction, hardware, mining, material handling and manufacturing. Products produced by drop forging include crank shafts, stub-axles, gears, chains, hooks, shackles, bolts, rods, medical implants, suspensions and general industrial equipment. Many hand tools have “Drop Forged” boldly imprinted on them to indicate their added strength and durability as a result of the forging process.
The drop forging process starts with pre-formed and often heated metal workpieces that are placed on a die. The forging dies are made of hardened alloy steel that are made in halves—one is attached to the rising and falling block, or ram, while the other is attached to the stationary anvil on the bottom. The hammer die strikes the metal in order to force it to take the shape of the die(s), using singular or repeated blows. Many drop forging processes involve moving the workpiece through a sequence of die cavities and strikes to gradually change its shape. In closed die forging some metal juts out at the parting lines of the dies. This flash material must be removed by machining. Drop hammer forges use hydraulic, pneumatic or mechanical force to raise the hammer and then assist gravity in accelerating it into the workpiece, producing a striking force between 11,000 and 425,000 pounds. Drop forging produces parts that exhibit superior load bearing strength, good response to heat treatment, good internal integrity, great strength-to-weight ratio and a high degree of reliability.
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