One of the forging industry’s biggest challenges is finding ways to increase die life, a parameter that is fundamental to efficiency and profitability. One way to achieve this is through the process called flood welding, a high-speed, high-deposition weld-metal recovery of a worn forging-die cavity.
Direct metal deposition (DMD) is a powder jet additive-manufacturing (AM) technique that can be used for low-cost build, repair, hardfacing and reconfiguration of forging dies. The technique has also been used to add features such as flanges and bosses to forged parts to improve their functionality. This article uses four case studies to examine this technique in detail and compares its merits and limitations to conventional and other AM/welding techniques.
Germany’s SMS group won the German Design Award in the “Industry” category for an additively manufactured spray head used to cool dies in the forging industry. The award recognizes innovative products and projects and the companies or individuals who have fabricated and designed them. In this case, it was not only the spray-head component that was noteworthy, but also that additive-manufacturing (AM) techniques were used to produce the part.
New process development or the redesign of an underperforming job gives engineers a chance to investigate process influences and design alternatives. Examples of how process simulation has been used in design-optimization projects are detailed.
Of all hardfacing applications, tool-and-die repairs are one of the most metallurgically challenging. What makes it so challenging is the metallurgy of the base materials and their compatibility with the hardfacing products, as well as the post-weld heat treatments required.
The repair of worn forging dies by flood-welding techniques has been around for many decades. Advances in the evolution of the process have made it a cheaper, quicker and more effective way to extend the life of die blocks and reduce tool-steel inventory costs. Today, many forging companies consider flood welding an integral part of their routine die maintenance programs.