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Selling the Competitive Advantage of Forgings

A new marketing initiative designed to benefit members of the Forging Industry Association is based on a CD-ROM using the full range of features of the medium.

The Forging Industry Association recently released "The Forging Advantage, Critical Component Technology," a new CD-ROM that presents the forging process in a fast-paced, easily understood format. Available for purchase and use only by FIA member companies, it utilizes video, still photographs, animation, and voice-over to present the case for forgings.

FIA describes the marketing tool as an "Interactive Customer Education CD-ROM." According to a flyer created to introduce the CD to FIA members, "Interactive means engineers and buyers will access the information they want quickly, in an electronic format they use." It explains that a control panel titled Learning Library is always "on screen," providing links for the user to access the fundamentals of the forging process. Alternatively, the CD allows users to "drill down" in a logical progression as they seek information in more depth and breadth.

The CD presents information of interest to engineers and buyers in the following sections:

  • Forgings by Market. This section presents common and not-so common forged parts/shapes used in the top twelve forging end-use markets.
  • The Manufacturing Cycle. This section takes the viewer from raw material production and preparation through forging to the asseambly into the finished product to show how forging fits into the complete manufacturing cycle.
  • In-depth Case Studies. Two detailed case studies point to forging as the preferred process in the two biggest forging markets. See the sidebar for information on one of these studies.
  • An electronic Design Guide for Forging. This section provides for in-depth study of the process in a fully searchable format.
A user with an active Internet connection can also utilize the following links from within the CD-ROM:
  • A link to the FIA Website Buyers Guide. Designers may electronically search FIA member forging company production capabilities to help determine which company can produce their part.
  • A link to the FIA Website Request for Quote. This facility is for those prepared for immediate submission of Request For Quotes (RFQs) to FIA member forging companies
  • A link to the FIA Website home page. Here the viewer can see all the latest news from the association.
Buyers GuideFrom within the CD, a user can search for ALL Custom Forging Producers or by forging processes. The following choices are clickable:

1. Impression Die Forging

2. Open Die Forging

3. Seamless Rolled Ring

4. Cold Forging

5. Full List of ALL Custom Forging Producers

The CD provides an Internet link to the FIA's Custom Forging Capability Guide, which is maintained on the association's website. The guide is published every two years by FIA. Using this approach there is a seamless transition between editions as the Guide is updated. It only has to be updated on the FIA website to provide the CD user the most up-to-date producer information.

The Guide lists the forging companies alphabetically for each process and gives the alloy group(s) forged and size capability. It also provides information on types and sizes of forging equipment.

The CD further explains that the custom forge plant is essentially a service organization. It points out that "one of the most important aspects of the service is assistance in the design and development of a product to be forged. This assistance is best made available by the formation of a concurrent engineering team. The key to the success of a concurrent engineering team is to begin early."

The RFQ process
The Request for Quote process is touted as "a free, simple, and fast method for design engineers, component specifiers, or purchasing professionals to receive bids from FIA forging producers to manufacture your forged component." The CD user simply answers a few short questions about his component requirements, clicks submit, and FIA Member companies subscribing to receive RFQs will instantly and automatically be e-mailed the RFQ.

Those forging companies interested in receiving further information on the RFQ then contact the potential customner directly. As the FIA points out, there are "No strings attached! No obligations, no fees, no contracts, no commissions, no hassle!"

Applications of Forgings
Making use of existing material, the CD-ROM explains that the wide range of alloys and sizes, combined with excellent mechanical and physical properties has made forgings the design choice for nearly all product areas, including the following:

  • Aerospace, including aircraft engines and airframe and auxiliary equipment
  • Guided missiles and space vehicles
  • Automotive, including passenger cars; trucks, busses, and trailers; and motorcycles and bicycles
  • Bearings, ball and roller
  • Electric power generation/transmission
  • Industrial and commercial machinery and equipment
  • Hand Tools
  • Industrial tools
  • Internal combustion engines
  • Metalworking and special industry machinery
  • Mechanical power transmission equipment, incl. Bearings
  • Off-highway, equipment (construction, mining and materials handling)
  • Ordinance and accessories
  • Oil field machinery and equipment
  • Pipeline fittings
  • Plumbing fixtures, valves and fittings
  • Pumps and compressors
  • Railroad equipment and spikes
  • Rolling, drawing and extruding equipment and tools for nonferrous metals
  • Ship and boat building and repairs
  • Special industry machinery
  • Steam engines and turbines
  • Steel works, rolling and finishing mills
Alloys forged
The CD-ROM also explains that virtually all metals have alloys that are forgeable. This gives the designer a full spectrum of mechanical and physical properties of ferrous and nonferrous alloys. The most common forging alloys include:
  • Carbon, microalloy, and alloy steel forgings account for the greatest volume of forgings for a very wide range of applications.
  • Stainless steels are widely used where resistance to heat and corrosion are required, in applications up to approximately 510ºC (950ºF).
  • Aluminum forgings are used in applications where temperatures do not exceed 150ºC (300ºF), and where weight of the component is an issue.
  • Copper, brass, and bronze forgings offer excellent corrosion resistance with high thermal and electrical conductivity.
  • Iron, nickel, and cobalt high temperature alloy forgings are preeminent for applications of cyclical and sustained loads at high temperatures.
FIA To Feature The Forging Advantage at Seminar
The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) will present on February 18, 2004, the third in a series of annual seminars titled Great Designs in Steel. This seminar encourages North American automotive engineers to share with their peers the benefits and successful applications of new steel technologies. The Forging Industry Association will exhibit at this event, using the new CD-ROM, "The Forging Advantage, Critical Component Technology." A copy of the CD will be presented to each of the 1000 to 1500 automotive engineers, material specifiers, and purchasing agents expected to attend.

During the seminar, Professor Ali Fatemi, and Research Assistant, Mehrdad Zoroufi, of the University of Toledo, will present their research findings showing how forged steel betters cast aluminum and cast iron in terms of fatigue life in critical automotive applications. Details of their study are presented in the CD-ROM. The study was funded by the Forging Industry Educational & Research Foundation (FIERF) in cooperation with AISI.

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