By encouraging cooperation among academia, industry and government, Forging Industry Education and Research Foundation (FIERF) funding provides the seeds for widespread strengthening of the forging industry. 

Forgers benefit from an infusion of leading-edge technology. Professors gain a better understanding of the needs of the industry, enabling them to better direct their research projects. Through research and co-op experiences, students gain exposure to the industry. Everyone gains by having graduating engineers step into their first jobs with experience in forging manufacturing ready to make immediate contributions.



It is not uncommon for FIERF-funded research to lead to larger, externally funded projects. Professor David Schwam cites one example. 

“Case Western Reserve University, a research university and FIERF Magnet school, has been a beneficiary of a few FIERF research awards,” Schwam said. “These student-oriented awards often lead to larger programs supported by federal agencies. A recent example is in the area of additive manufacturing (AM). A student project on the applications of AM in forging tooling generated early results that supported a larger proposal to the Defense Logistics Agency. This proposal was awarded as a five-year Pro-Fast project on ‘Improved Forging Tooling Qualification and Guidelines’ and is currently under way.”

Dr. Timothy Cyders of Ohio University recently completed his first FIERF-funded project. The 2016-2017 project was based on examining fundamental mechanical behavior of forging an additively manufactured preform. The funding covered one student, some supplies and the direct metal laser sintered (DMLS) samples for the study. 

This project, while narrow in scope, led to a much wider body of work. A new approach to fatigue testing was developed that has led to three new industry partnerships with various applications. The tested sample materials were used to start a corrosion study that brought in work from two more students and has led to two paper submissions and an NSF study. Two more federal-level proposals to study fatigue and chemistry performance related to materials and deformation processes are in the proposal stage. This one small project has led to the development of new lab capabilities, new ideas for ways we can integrate with metal-forming businesses and the potential for extensive future work in the metals field. 



“This ripple effect is also an underlying principle of the FIERF scholarship programs. The scholarships bring students closer to the forging industry and entice them to explore careers in forging,” Schwam said. “Eric Nielsen received a scholarship as a mechanical engineering (ME) major at Case, proceeded to do an internship at Alcoa Forgings and Extrusions (now Arconic Forgings and Extrusions) and was subsequently hired to work there full time. Examples abound of students who followed this path and ended up working in forging plants or working for suppliers to the forging industry. Nicole Corbin, another scholarship recipient and ME major at Case, interned at Lincoln Electric and works there now full time.” 


Leveraging Resources

This ripple effect is how FIERF is able to use industry and individual contributions for maximum benefit. Coupled with building relationships through FIERF Tech and Workforce Development Summits planned at FIERF Magnet Schools and the Forging Industry Technical Conference (held Sept.  11-12), the Foundation is intentionally bringing research partners and industry together to team up on solutions to both technological and workforce-development issues.

Contact us at or 216-862-6967 for more information on events where you can start building valuable relationships with universities and students through local Magnet School Summits and the upcoming 2018 Forging Industry Technical Conference in Long Beach, Calif. 


Scholarship Applications Open

Applications for the Charles W. Finkl and Forging Industry Women’s Scholarships opened Feb. 1 on the Forging Foundation’s website ( Students with a connection to the North American Forging Industry are given first consideration. Contact the Forging Industry Educational and Research Foundation for additional information.