Due to their natural qualities and unique properties, aluminum and its alloys are nowadays used in a wide variety of industries. Aluminum is the number one material used in the aerospace industry.
It is also used in:
Its light structure, resistance, and durability have made aluminum and its alloys crucial to rail transport applications, while its electrical conductivity means that it is vital to energy distribution.
Of all ordinary metals, aluminum is the lightest in weight. At the same time, it possesses considerable strength. Under some circumstances, aluminum alloys may even rival steel’s strength, while remaining three times lighter than steel.
There are many different aluminum alloys available on the market today. The alloys display versatility in their mechanical properties and use. In general, aluminum alloys demonstrate high electrical and thermal conductivity. They provide excellent corrosion resistance and are suitable for surface treatments that further enhance their qualities.
One of aluminum’s most important qualities is the fact that it can be recycled almost indefinitely without losing its innate qualities. Lightweight, non-ferrous and quite affordable, aluminum alloys represent a popular choice well-suited to various forging techniques and applications. Some frequently used alloys contain copper, silicon, iron, magnesium, manganese, copper or zinc, which make up to 15% of the alloy by weight.
Forging aluminum and aluminum alloys holds many benefits for metal component manufacturers. The process does not impede the ability of manufacturers to manipulate and cut aluminum products easily. Therefore, forged aluminum alloys can be cut into distinctly complex or ornate shapes.
When forged, aluminum alloys demonstrate some mechanical qualities comparable with steel, and the strength to weight ratio of aluminum exceeds that of steel. In addition, aluminum forging can produce a number of surface finishes, ranging from very smooth to relatively sharp.
Aluminum forgings are generally cost-effective and attractive in their appearance. They allow for high design flexibility and in many cases, the exterior part of forged aluminum does not require extensive polishing.
For all these reasons, numerous industries make use of custom aluminum forgings. The process especially attracts manufacturers seeking to produce large, customized components using aluminum or its alloys.
Aluminum can be forged in several different ways, including open-die forging, closed-die forging, and rolled-ring forging. Different forging techniques are used to create different aluminum parts and items.
Open-die forging involves pounding or hammering huge aluminum blocks weighing up to 200,000 pounds in order to form large metal components. This type of forging uses open die presses to turn aluminum alloys into the desired shape and at the same time refine the grain structure to improve the alloy’s strength.
The die itself never entirely confines open-die forging. A manufacturer heats the aluminum and the die strikes the stock into a particular shape. The forgings are only limited by the size of the starting aluminum block. The end result of open-die forging is improved alloy strength and optimal structural integrity.
Closed-die forging, sometimes called impression-die forging, involves utilizing two or more dies containing impressions to press, pound or squeeze aluminum and its alloys into desired shapes and patterns. It accounts for the majority of modern aluminum forging production and may be used to produce complex aluminum parts.
Closed-die forgings result in the production of a wide array of shapes, designed within fairly precise tolerances. This process helps generate larger parts than open-die forgings, but also offers a useful way to form small precise aluminum shapes. Closed-die forging ultimately increases the strength and tightness of aluminum alloy products. In addition, it allows for the formation of a nearly limitless variety of shapes and designs.
When it comes to large production runs, closed-die forging typically remains more cost-effective than open-die forging. In addition, closed-die forging results in a better surface finish and is more environmentally-friendly. However, it is important t mention that there are certain size and shape limitations with regards to complex products that can only be made by casting.
Aluminum rings are used in many industries and have numerous applications ranging from aerospace metal components to everyday items. Rolled-ring aluminum forging produces high-strength rings in a variety of sizes and thicknesses.
Rolled-ring forging is a process of creating metal rings, which starts with open-die forging to create a donut-shaped ring preform. Afterward, the ring-rolling process uses an “idler roller” to gradually apply pressure to the preform in order to modify the thickness and height of the walls of the ring.
During this process, ring diameters increase until they reach specified dimensions.
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