Reverse engineering in order to optimize costs and improve features through forging

For 60 years, ULMA Forged Solutions has been collaborating with customers from the most demanding industries to produce extremely competitive components, capable of guaranteeing the best real-world performance. These components form part of capital-intensive facilities and are often installed and used under the toughest and most demanding conditions, where the slightest failure can have serious consequences. 

Extreme conditions demand the use of high-value materials, and this is where ULMA comes in.

Historically, many of our customers have chosen to use forged bars, machining them directly into the required part. 

But when cost reduction becomes vital due to the competitive environment, especially in the case of higher-cost raw materials, they choose ULMA for reengineering, and thus get the best solution at the most competitive price.

ULMA offers a complete solution: both savings on the raw material and improvements in the mechanical characteristics of the parts allow us to offer more competitive components. 

The engineering department at ULMA, starting from the customer’s final drawings, develops the optimal solution that allows for maximum savings in the material to be used, gets the forging the geometry as close to final as possible (reducing raw material cost and machining time), and provides for an optimal grain pattern during hot forging (better mechanical characteristics). 

In the process of obtaining the part by direct bar machining:

  • The starting material must cover the entire volume of the final part using an excess of raw material, which will end up as scrap. 
  • Grain is unidirectional, either horizontally or vertically oriented (Figure 1). 
Figure 1

During the machining process, excess material is removed and becomes scrap.

The grain stays as is, and is cut into at the section transitions. (Figure 2).

Figure 2

Application of reverse engineering to reduce costs through forging

Based on the end piece needed, ULMA’s technical department defines the forging process that offers the greatest advantages (in savings and performance) and validates it through simulation before presenting the final solution to the client. 

Optimum tooling design and choosing the right forging process result in a lower use of raw material, also bringing about an improvement in mechanical characteristics with respect to the previous process:

  • Minimum raw material consumption and minimum machining time: the design of the tooling will give us a lower consumption of raw materials.
  • Grain orientation after forging: the closed-die forging process forces the grain to follow the shape of the final piece. This reorientation of the grain gives the component superior mechanical properties in comparison to an unforged bar.

The following images (figure 3) show the forging after ULMA’s reverse engineering process. This process leads to a reduction in cost from savings in raw materials, and to better forging characteristics,with the continuous grain following the contours of the section transitions.

Figure 3