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Small Aluminum Forged Product

Advantages of Casting versus Forging Processes

Choosing the Best Process for your Product

Working with preferred partners across the metal forming industry, Compass & Anvil can offer a variety of products that have been created by forging, casting, or metal stamping techniques. Will your product perform better with forged steel vs. cast steel, or is there a beneficial tradeoff in your specific process for tight tolerances vs. grain strength? We understand that some product manufacturing is optimized when certain metal working processes are used.

There are many important factors to consider when selecting the best process to use for the manufacturing of your product.

Important Factors to Consider

  1. Material Type
  2. Product Strength
  3. Tightness of Tolerances
  4. Level of Detail in Finished Product
  5. Temperature Sensitivity
  6. Net Waste

Compass & Anvil offers domestic and Asian sourcing options for meeting our customers’ product specifications, production timelines, and pricing guidelines.

Forging vs. Casting: Processes and Considerations

Forging Process

Forging is a metal modification process that uses dies, compressive forces, and temperature to shape a solid piece of round bar metal into a desired shape. Once a piece of metal is forged, it may have to undergo further machining to add necessary detail or be subject to heat treatment or coating. Forging can be classified by the temperature used (hot, warm, cold forging), the type of process (open or closed die forging), or the type of material used (steel, aluminum, brass, or bronze forging).

Forging Considerations

Advantages of Forging

Forging Weaknesses

Structural Integrity – development of grain flow through beating of the metal leads to increased product strength and a high level of material predictability.

Tolerance Levels – products formed through forging may not meet requirements for high tolerances.

Costs – materials are generally less expensive than the materials required for casting. Limited scrap and rework. Reduced labor costs and lower tooling equipment expenses than casting.

Secondary Operations – many forged products require secondary processes to refine and finish to exact specifications.

Reliability – consistent ductility, known yields, and increased strength due to grain development.

Limitations & Defects - forged products may be limited in shape and may include defects from die failure.


Cast Aluminum Product

Casting Process

Casting is a metal modification process using molten metal poured or injected into a custom mold where it solidifies and forms a molded product. A limited amount of additional machining may be necessary to further refine the molded metal. Types of casting vary based on the molding materials and process as well as the filling pressures. Die casting, investment casting, and sand casting are three options for metal casting. Advantages of die casting vary slightly from those investment casting or sand casting depending on the type of materials used and the finished product that is desired.

Casting Considerations

Advantages of Die Casting, Investment Casting and Sand Casting

Casting Weaknesses

Higher Tolerances – the metal molding process offers an opportunity for a higher level of detail and meeting of exact specifications.

Structural Integrity – products formed by casting are more porous than forged products.

Few Secondary Operations – casting provides a primary product that will require very few secondary machining operations.

Costs – tooling costs are generally higher for die casting than for forging. Tooling costs for other casting methods may vary.

Production Rate – once a casting mold is created, the production process can allow for a high production rate.

Process Control – the casting process requires frequent monitoring and inspection to maintain quality and prevent defects.

The metal forming industry has made great strides in technical competencies in the last few decades with the use of robotics and computer aided design (CAD) options for modeling products and testing materials. These technical advances have transitioned the industry from one based on trial and error and individual skill to one of exacting tooling and pre-determined levels of net waste. Compass & Anvil is proud to partner with manufacturers that use technology to ensure high quality products with tight tolerances, competitive prices, and minimal waste.

Contact us today at (408) 205-1319 (Pacific Time) or email us for a no obligation quote or to request additional information about forging vs. casting processes.