What is forged steel, and what are its main characteristics?
Since ULMA’s birth, forged steel has been our reason for being. Everything we have achieved over the past few decades has been thanks to the passion, effort and dedication we have put into this material that is so precious to us. The majority of our products have forged steel as their raw material—a material that we modify in form and internal structure through forging techniques that we carry out, always above recrystallization temperatures.
This is our forging process.
The forging process happens on our presses. Using strong blows and high pressure, the presses form predetermined volumes and shapes using tools such as molds and dies. The pieces coming from the forges are then machined to give them their finish with minimum possible intervention to optimize their end characteristics.
In most cases, forging must be done at a temperature between 800 and 1000ºC, though it can also be carried out at room temperature in a process known as “cold forming.” To eliminate the internal stresses that arise during forging, we also perform a heat treatment called “normalization.”
What is forged steel?
Forged steel is a material resulting from alloying iron and carbon under extremely high pressure. Forged steel has less surface porosity, a finer grain structure, more tensile and fatigue strength, and greater ductility than any other processed steel.
When the steel is heated to forging temperature, it becomes ductile and malleable, allowing it to be molded into the required shape through the application of force and pressure. Through our processing methods and steel forging, we can shape a permanent steel part without it cracking.
What are the types of forged steel?
We classify steel forging into three different categories, depending on the forming temperature.
Hot forged steel
The forging temperature is between 950 and 1250ºC, which is above the temperature of recrystallization. Hot forged steel results in good formability and requires low force to shape.
Hardened steel forging
The forging temperature is between 750 and 950ºC. This temperature leads to limited ductility and requires higher forming forces than hot forging. One of its great advantages is that it is halfway between hot and cold forging, which makes it more versatile.
Cold forged steel
The forging temperature is done under ”room conditions,” under temperatures of up to 150ºC. This type of forging, which results in low formability, requires high forming forces. It has the great advantage of allowing better conservation of the material and a better surface finish.
Properties of forged steel
Its unique properties differentiate forged steel from other treatments such as casting:
- Forged steel has great strength, increased hardness and first-class durability. When in contact with other substances, it is very unlikely that the steel will break.
- It is possible to maintain the same consistency in all steel forgings manufactured, as the forging process is quite thorough and measured.
- There is a limit to the thickness and size of steel that can be forged, as metal forming is a rather tedious job.
- Steel forging is generally used in mechanical and industrial applications due to its strength and availability, and due to the existence of specialized alloys such as stainless and carbon steel. Steel forging offers unsurpassed strength for the manufacture of parts.
At ULMA, we have been specialists in flanges and forged steel products for more than 40 years, always at the service of our clients to meet their most demanding needs. As a result, we manufacture products of the highest quality and durability that meet all the standards required by law and the market.