Forged Metal vs. Cast Metal

Forging and casting are two different manufacturing processes used to manipulate the shape of metal. The casting process involves heating metal until it is liquefied and then pouring it into a mold to create a desired shape, while forging involves heating metal until it is malleable, but still in a solid state, and then pressing or hammering it into a specific shape.

The type of metal manufacturing process you choose for your metal parts and components will depend on the desired strength of the final product and the level of detail required.

When to Use Forged Metal Components

Generally speaking, if your component is able to be forged, it should be. Unlike when metal is melted, forging maintains a tight grain structure and a mechanically strong product, without the use of expensive alloys. According to a study conducted by the Mechanical, Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering Department at the University of Toledo, forged parts have a 26% higher tensile strength than cast parts, and they last 37% longer.

Forged metal should be used for parts that need to withstand stronger impact and mechanical forces, and are subject to high loads, stress and wear resistance.

Metal Forging Methods

The most common metal forging methods are Open-Die Forging, Closed-Die Forging and Roll Forging.

Open-Die Forging is used to produce larger parts with simpler-shaped designs, such as rings, bars and hollows.

Closed-Die Forging is used to produce small metal products, such as fittings, lifting & rigging hardware.

Roll forging is typically used to produce parts for the automotive industry, as well as hand tools and knives.

When to Use Cast Metal Components

If your metal component has many tiny details or internal cavities, they can be difficult to shape in the forging process. In these cases, casting will allow for the liquefied metal to easily flow into the small detailed areas. Many metal manufacturers also recommend casting if the part is too large for forging. However, Steel Industries has the capability to forge parts up to 25,000 lbs.

Cast metal should be used for parts with internal cavities and small details, or parts that require alloys that are more difficult to forge.

Metal Casting Methods

Modern metal casting is divided into two categories: Expendable Casting and Non-Expendable Casting.

Expendable casting uses temporary, non-reusable molds made of sand, loam, plastic, shell, plaster or lost-wax.

Non-expendable casting refers to molds that can be re-used, and includes permanent mold casting, die casting, semi-solid metal casting and centrifugal casting.

How to Choose a Metal Manufacturing Method

If you’re still unsure of which method of metal manufacturing is best for your project, consult the experts at Steel Industries. We are one of the leading U.S. metal forging companies for OEM’s in a wide variety of industries. Our knowledgeable sales and technical support team will help you determine if your project is a good fit for our Open-Die Forging or Ring Rolling methods. Call (877) 783-3599 or request a quote online.

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