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Aluminum Forging in Power Sports

Power sports is a subcategory of motorsports and includes any vehicle where the participant isn’t enclosed, but rather sits in a saddle-type seat. Vehicles such as ATVs, motorcycles, scooters, snowmobiles, personal aircraft, and jet skis are all power sports vehicles. So, where does aluminum forging fit into power sports? In this article we’ll discuss how aluminum and forging benefit the power sports industry, and also what the future of aluminum and power sports looks like.  

How Aluminum Forging Benefits the Powersports Industry

When considering the needs of a power sports vehicle, there are a few that come to mind: strength, weight, flexibility, and the right finish. Aluminum offers them all, which is why it’s the number one choice for power sports vehicle components. Let’s take a look at each of these benefits.

Strength

The aluminum that’s used in manufacturing is not in its purest form. Pure aluminum is quite soft and has a natural chemical reactive makeup, so it’s mixed with other elements, such as magnesium, zinc, copper, silicon, or other alloys. This method gives aluminum a strength-to-weight ratio that outperforms steel. Although aluminum is tough, aluminum forging brings it to the next level, creating an even stronger aluminum once it’s been manipulated through forging. 

Strength in materials is imperative when it comes to the power sports industry. Of course, any sport is designed to enjoy competition; still, the reality is that there are dangers involved. Every type of vehicle has crush zones, which are just as they sound – areas on the vehicle that are likely to be hit and crushed in a hard enough impact. Those zones put the driver at risk and lead to expensive repairs. Since aluminum forging creates a material stronger than steel, it doesn’t crush as easily, and that is reason enough to use it in power sports. Also, thanks to forging, which can mold the material in any way, shape, or form, designs are engineered so the aluminum folds and reacts in a specific, anticipated manner when hit. 

Weight

Imagine you’re driving an ATV or motorcycle as a sport…you wouldn’t want anything weighing you down. That’s why aluminum is a popular choice for power sports components. Its reliable strength and durability, while also being lightweight, makes it the perfect choice when manufacturing metal parts for power sports. The minimal weight increases speed and performance. As mentioned, because aluminum forging creates a component that is stronger than before it was forged, less material is required to create the manufactured piece. Less material equals less weight as well.  

Flexibility

Designs and needs change and those in the power sports industry need flexibility when it comes to the parts for their vehicles. With forging, that flexibility is possible, thanks to 3D modeling. Other alternatives, such as die casting aren’t able to offer the same flexibility in their design. 

Finish

Let’s face it – power sports aren’t all about power and performance. It’s also about style. In power sports, style comes with finishes. Forging offers an array of different finishes for its aluminum components. Sharp serrations and smooth surfaces are only possible with forging, not other metal manufacturing processes, such as casting. 

The Future of Aluminum Forging in Power Sports

The future of all things automotive is EV. Electric vehicles are making their way into the world of motor and power sports, and the aluminum forging industry is there to support it. The combination of lightweight and strength is the reason aluminum won’t be left behind as vehicles become more energy efficient. 

EV’s require fewer components due to the simplicity of their design. That’s good news for the forging industry. EV’s made completely out of forged aluminum are very much an option. Designers of electric vehicles are looking to forged aluminum for the following reasons:

Reliability and High Performance

Simply put – forged aluminum is known for its reliable durability and strength, along with its lightweight and flexibility. As consumers become more and more satisfied with their EVs and their aluminum parts, companies selling those EVs inherit happy, returning customers. 

Simplicity

Electric vehicles, which are the future of power sports, have fewer subsystems than traditional vehicles. With fewer systems, designers can create simple aluminum components that have a big impact. 

Fast Production

As the world becomes more conscious of electric vehicles and their efficiency, we are sure to see even the power sports industry impacted in a good way. While demands increase for EVs, the forging industry is seeing the need for quick manufacturing of forged aluminum parts. Thankfully, forging is much faster than other alternatives, such as casting, and will be able to meet the demands of the future of power sports. Cerro Fabricated Products offers creative solutions for all of your forging needs. Feel free to contact us with any questions you have about creating the right metal components for your industry. 

Benefits of Forgings vs Billets

  • Forgings are grain oriented to the parts’ external contours for improved mechanical properties: Stronger, improved fatigue resistance and less susceptible to stress corrosion cracking.
  • Forgings yield lower scrap and increase efficiency of production: Cost differentiator in high volume applications.
  • Forgings require fewer secondary operations: Often achieve desired finish, dimensional accuracy and strength off the press.
  • Preferred draft is 3° or more per side to allow a part to be successfully removed from the die without damage to the part or tool. Less draft may be allowed depending on part geometry.
  • Stock will be left on all machined surfaces to allow for industry standard forging tolerances. The amount of stock is specific to the part geometry, but normally is .050” per side
  • Fillets and radii are required on all forged contours to promote good material flow and extend die life. The more generous the radii improves both of these aspects. Preferred MIN radius is .080”, but this can be reduced in certain alloys and part geometry
  • Machining fixture design is based on part geometry. When reference is to the center of the forging, a self-centering vise is preferred. When reference to a surface datum is required, a fixed jaw vise is used.The most efficient way to minimize cost is to leave as much surface area on the part “as forged” as possible.
  • Since there are tooling costs associated with forgings, higher volumes are the best way to offset the cost of tooling. Please consult your Cerro sales person on best fit quantities for your specific project.
excess material comparison
Grain structure of a forged part compared with a machined part

Choosing a Forging Company

With so many forging companies in the USA, it’s tough to know where to turn when you need the right metal components for your business. In this article we’ll discuss a few helpful tips when choosing a forging company, so you can keep them in mind when it’s time to make decisions for your metal manufacturing needs.

The Reputation of the Forging Company

If you’re in the metal manufacturing industry, ask around about forging companies in the USA. You can also look for reviews to read. A forging company that gets results and offers not only high-quality products but also a lifetime of support, becomes known for its excellent customer service. 

Good companies ask questions and want to understand your needs. They’ll even suggest a different type of manufacturing if they feel it would suit your needs better than what they offer. Look for honesty, integrity, and follow-up. Don’t choose the company that promises fast results only… choose the one that has proven itself to be accurate, thorough, trustworthy, and available for questions and concerns. 

Certifications of Forging Companies in the USA

Look for forging manufacturers that remain certified and find it important to meet the latest and highest industry standards by staying current with certifications. Certification proves to current and potential customers that the company strives for and maintains the highest standards in the industry. 

Forging companies in the USA should have certifications such as ISO 9001:2015, which shows customers that a quality management system is in place. Becoming certified in the forging industry requires several inspections and audits, as well as many interviews and a lot of paperwork. It isn’t easy, which is one reason why it’s a good sign of a forging company that wants to be the best. 

What’s the Turnaround Time?

Possibly one of the first questions when a part is needed…what’s the turnaround time? It’s a fair question and varies greatly. Every component has different needs, as does the customer. However, for most metal parts, it’s important to remember that high-quality forged components take time. The company you work with will give you an accurate idea of an appropriate timeline. 

Once you’ve found who you are going to work with, the first step should be a discussion of your needs. Next, a design is created and worked on until perfected so you receive the best outcome. If timing is a big concern, make it one of your top questions as you search for the best forging companies in the USA to fulfill your manufacturing needs.  

How Much Will It Cost?

The big question, right? How much is a forged product going to cost? Unfortunately, that question is impossible to answer until you get into specifics with your manufacturer. Keep in mind, the process is thorough and things like the type of metal, type of forging process used, size of the product, and how many components are produced will all affect the price outcome. 

Still, price is a consideration, so when you understand what you need, compare the costs between several manufacturers, along with their certifications, turnaround time, and customer service, as you ask about the cost. Sometimes, paying a little more is worth it in the end, to work with an excellent forging company.

The company you choose should have a plan in place, such as the APQP (Advanced Product Quality Planning) review for price estimation. The APQP aids in helping the forging company understand a customer’s requirements and therefore give a more accurate price estimation.

Think Long-Term

If you are a business that needs forged components, it’s essential to think long-term about the relationship with a forging company.

Yes, you need parts, but you also need a company that will be there for questions, concerns, and possible issues that need to be addressed. A good company has a reputation for stepping in even when it isn’t required, to help out past customers.

Companies that simply manufacture and sell with no follow-up are the ones to avoid. Look for a forging company that seeks to be involved by asking questions, stating their concerns, and checking in to make sure the parts they manufactured are serving their purpose, well. 

At Cerro Fabricated Products, we believe in a lifetime relationship with our customers. That’s what we require when we seek companies to help grow our business, so we would never expect our own customers to expect anything less.

Cerro is ISO 9001:2015 certified and we pride ourselves in the highest quality designs and products. We are thankful for our customers and proud to build lifetime relationships with them. Contact us today and together we’ll design the right product for your metal component needs.

Forging vs. Casting, Billet, or Extrusion

Casting vs. forging vs. billet vs. extrusion are all methods of manufacturing metal into desired parts and components. Each process has its own benefits, and in this article we’ll take a look at what those are. 

Metal Forging

Using compressive and localized force in the forms of rolling, pressing, or hammering, forging forms metals (usually billets) into the desired shape or design that is needed for a specific purpose. The force used to manipulate the metal is achieved using a hammer, die, or press. There are three types of forging: cold, warm, and hot, with the warm and hot methods requiring the metal to be heated during the process. Most metals can be forged, although stainless steel, brass, aluminum, copper, alloy steel, and carbon steel are the most common. 

In industries such as the aircraft and automobile industry, forging is a necessity to create strong and reliable components that are used at points of intense stress, such as pistons and gears. For such features, aluminum forging is the number one choice because of its impeccable performance and strength.

Metal Casting

Casting is a form of producing a desired shape or component with the use of molds. A hot liquid (metal) is poured into a specific mold created for the necessary design, solidified, then removed and used as needed. 

Casting is much different than other forms of manufacturing metal components, due to the fact that the metal is turned into molten liquid metal before it is used. Casting is extremely accurate because the molds are intricately designed for a detailed and exact outcome. However, casting components are limited. When considering casting vs. forging, cast metal isn’t as strong as forged metal pieces and therefore limited in how it can be used. Still, for metal components that won’t be used at points of stress, cast metal can be useful. 

Metal Extrusion

During the metal extrusion process, a billet is forced through a die to create a particular shape or component. As the hot or cold metal passes through the die, it transmits that shape to the billet. Extrusion is an intense, high-pressure process for the metal and the outcome (extrudate) is a material that is often stronger than before it was extruded. The extrusion method is best for high-volume production but has cons. Metal extrusion can produce surface oxidation, which leads to cracking. Maintenance of machines is critical, as well as speed control during the process, to help avoid cracking. Also, while forging offers a 3-dimensional process, extrusion is limited to 2-dimensional only.  

Billet 

Extrusion, casting, and forging are all metal manufacturing processes. A billet is a component used in those processes, specifically in extrusion and forging. It’s designed as a solid piece of metal with criss-cross sections and can be molded, hammered, rolled, or pressed into whatever is needed. A billet is an excellent resource in the production of metal components because it’s cost-effective, quick, and the results are a strong metal product. 

In conclusion, casting vs. forging and extrusion is unique in the fact that it begins with the melting of metal and uses a specific mold to create the desired outcome. Forging and extrusion use pressure and force to manufacture metal components, with forging, specifically aluminum forging, achieving the strongest results. A billet is a metal used in forging and extrusion to press, mold, hammer, or die into the required piece.

At Cerro Fabricated Products we serve many industries with our brass, aluminum, and copper forging services. Contact us and we’ll be happy to answer all of your questions and help you determine which form of metal manufacturing is best for your particular needs.

Pre-Production Samples

To reach the desired outcome of the aluminum forging process, as well as brass or copper forging, a pre-production sample is essential at the beginning of the process. In this article we’ll discuss what a pre-production sample is, why it’s important, and where it comes in during the forging process. 

What Exactly is a Pre-Production Sample?

A pre-production sample is designed for the purpose of analyzing the forged component to make sure the final product is where it should be. Construction, size, performance, and accuracy can all be tested during the pre-production phase. A pre-production sample is created before mass production of a metal component begins. 

Why Pre-production Samples are Important in the Aluminum Forging Process

Often, metal forging requires mass production of a specific metal component needed. Without a pre-production sample, the production of a product in large quantities could turn out to be a waste of time and money if the calculations or results are off even just a small amount. 

The pre-production sample can be used in two ways: First, the sample is a great way to show potential customers what forging can produce. Second, a pre-production sample is created when a new design is needed. 

The pre-production sample serves as a test for the new design, to see how it works. If there are any glitches, the design team sees them and can then make the necessary adjustments during the forging process, and again, create another pre-production sample until it’s exactly as it needs to be. Finally, mass production begins once the pre-production sample is perfected. 

In conclusion, without a pre-production sample, production could end up being a waste of time, and wasting time is also wasting money. The extra time and cost to produce a sample are well worth it to avoid mistakes during the final production phase. 

At Cerro Fabricated Products, we believe in the importance of the pre-production sample in the aluminum forging process and all of our metal forging processes. Our dedicated engineer manages new product development from start to finish and we implement APQP from the start, understanding our customers’ expectations. We are proud to stand behind the Cerro name through every step of the forging process. Contact Cerro and let’s discuss how we can help with your metal manufacturing needs