Rapid Infrared Heating for Aluminum Forging
Aluminum Hot Forging
Queen City Forging applies rapid Infrared heating to aluminum forgings with enhanced physical properties: improved fatigue life, fine grain aluminum metallurgy, and increased hardenability. Queen City Forging uses IR heating technology to reduce energy consumption and lower costs. Free Metallurgical Design Services Available.
Application of Rapid Infrared Heating to Aluminum Forgings
Challenges facing the U.S. forging companies include increasing demand for energy efficiency, cost reductions, and pressures of international competition. The rapid increase in energy prices and the growing need for improved energy efficiency, continue to force U.S. forging companies to adopt improved and cost-efficient techniques.
Preheating of the metal billets prior to hot-forging is an area with potential for significant energy savings. In a conventional aluminum forging application, preheating of billets is typically achieved using convection gas-fired furnaces. However, low rates of heat transfer to the work piece and the need to heat both the furnace structure and the work piece require relatively long cycle times and is thermally inefficient.
Over the past few years, heating techniques using high-speed convection furnaces and induction furnaces having higher heat transfer rates have been developed. These provide only marginal improvements and present some disadvantages. For example, induction furnaces can provide more efficient heating, however, their use is limited by higher equipment costs and the geometry of the metal stock being heated. Induction furnaces often have problems coupling with aluminum alloys and are unsuitable when reheating forgings requiring multiple aluminum forge cycles.
Addressing the inadequacies of the existing heating techniques, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, along with industrial and university partners, has developed a new hybrid infrared heating system that permits rapid and uniform heating of aluminum alloy billets prior to forging. The system can also be used for subsequent reheating of forgings requiring additional forging operations.
Rapid Infrared (RI) heating has been proven to reduce the heating times by an order of magnitude, decrease energy consumption by factor of three and produce forgings with enhanced metallurgical and mechanical properties.
Field testing of this hybrid infrared system in full-scale production setup has demonstrated cost savings up to 40-50% through reduced energy consumption, increased throughput and improved consistency in the process and quality of the product. This aluminum hot forging innovation is a proven process and a viable aluminum forging design consideration for today’s manufacturers.
This technology is exclusively available at Queen City Forging.
U.S. Patent 7,544,256B2
View our video on YouTube and see Aluminum Hot Forging in action!
View More Movies and More Information on
Queen City Forging also uses custom forging: impression die forging, closed die forging, upset forging, drop forging, press forging, and hammer forging to produce metal component parts for original equipment manufacturers (OEM).
Aluminum Forging at Queen City Forging -- article in the Business Courier
These PDF files contain papers that:
1. Discuss the principles underlying this new technology
2. Provides energy and cost saving comparison between this and the conventional convective heating technique
3. Explains the property enhancement in aluminum alloys using rapid heating
Download these PDF files: