What Is The Difference Between Cold And Hot Forging?

Forging is an effective way of fabricating steel. This compressive process creates high-quality results with high levels of strength. 

However, before you choose forging as your fabrication option, you need to understand the difference between cold and hot processes. While both processes work on the same principle, they produce different kinds of results. Read on to learn more about your options.

What Is Cold Forging?

You don't need to heat steel to put it through a cold forging process. Fabricators work on the metal at room temperature here.

During this process, the steel is compressed or hammered to change its shape. To start, you usually place it between a punch or hammer and a die. The force of the compression or hammering is enough to make the metal fit into the die's shape without the need for heat.

What Is Hot Forging?

A hot forging process uses heat to shape metals. Here, you usually heat the die that will shape the metal as well as the metal itself. The metal needs to be hot enough to become pliable so that it will change shape before hardening again as it cools.

When you apply the heated metal to the die, it takes on the shape of the die automatically. Heat makes the metal ductile enough to change shape and mold to the cast of the die without the need for excessive compressive or hammering force.  

Which Type of Forging Should You Use?

Both cold and hot forging are effective fabrication techniques. However, you'll get better results if you choose the process that best fits your manufacturing needs.

For example, cold forging works well on softer or thinner steels that already have some natural pliability. This process also produces virtually perfect cosmetic results. The surface quality of a cold-forged metal is usually better than a hot-forged one.

This also means that you typically don't have to put cold-forged metals through a final finishing process to improve their appearance. This saves you time and money.

However, hot forging is often the best solution if you want to work on harder or thicker metals. It's the best option if you want to create complex or customized shapes. Heat makes metals more mouldable, so you can do more with them if you hot forge them.

To get help choosing the right type of forging for your product needs, contact steel fabrication services and ask for their advice.