Identifying and Solving Common Forging Defects

April 28, 2017 - "Industry Insight"

Weldaloy Forging Processes

Forging defects are often symptoms of a process problem or related to the experience or skill level of the employee. Before your team can begin fixing the problem, it’s crucial to know whether to focus on employee forging skills or you’re forging process. The correct strategy for your firm depends on defining the specific type of defect you’re running into. An excellent example is the common forging defects, material cracking, and folds. A fold can appear to be a crack, and a crack could be a fold.

Material folds demands one strategy and cracking demands another.


Identifying a problem

In any problem-solving exercise, the first step is to clearly identify the problem.  In the case of these two defects determining which problem you are dealing with is critical in gaining resolution of the problem. One of the ways to identify a fold from a crack is to look for material oxidation. The presence of oxidation with-in the defect (potential crack) is an indicator that the defect is, in reality, a material fold and not a crack. Another method is to use detailed metallurgical examination.


Folding occurs as its name suggest when the material is folded over on itself often giving the appearance of a material crack. Some pieces due to their shape configuration are inherently hard to forge properly, and therefore only skilled forgers can prevent a fold from taking place.


Identifying a Skill Gap

As any open die forger can testify too, the point at which folds occur is when detectability is most difficult. Obviously, the parts are hot, visually glowing to a point they can appear to be translucent.  So detectability during forge is difficult at best. Detectability is not prevention. This is where a skilled forge operator can be an important asset to your organization. A highly experienced and skilled open die Hammersmith with his knowledge of material movement and material flow can prevent fold occurrences.


Looking to reduce the number of fold defects? Consider hiring and training initiatives that will make you’re forging team true experts in their craft. At Weldaloy, we’ve established forge Improvement Teams and invested in developing a detailed training program, dedicated to making our forging teams the best in the industry. We’ll continue to invest in our forging team because by doing so we’re investing in our customers.


Material Cracking

Contrary to folding defects, cracking defects, are complex with a variety of potential cause factors and factor interactions. Stressing material by moving material too quickly, forging material at incorrect temperatures, material density and chemistry are factors that contribute to material cracking. These factors can interact or combine, resulting in a cracking issue. Cracks resulting from material chemistry interaction are difficult to assess because the elements of the alloys can meet the specifications of the material and still can align in such a matter to create unintended cracking.


So how do you prevent cracks caused by an unintended reaction? The only sure way is to use knowledge of the elements contribution factors such as formability and hardness. Then build on that knowledge base, analyzing historical data to identify any existing common threads that may be resulting in your cracking issue. At Weldaloy, we’ve managed to accrue decades of data, run regression analyses, and compile a sound working knowledge of elements that can combine to create these cracks. It takes time, sweat, and dedication, but over time, we’ve learned to prevent cracks instead of setting our deliverables back and creating customer frustration.


Learning to limit these forging defects will not only serve your bottom line but will help make your customer more eager to return. The way forward is slow but certain.  Hire and train excellent forgers. Create, analyze and learn from your historical data to prevent forging defects instead of sorting for them.

Weldaloy Forging Processes

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