In custom metal forging, manufacturing capability, metal manufacturing

Navigating the world of steel forging can often seem daunting, especially when it comes to ordering forged products tailored to your specific needs. Our comprehensive guide will break down each step in detail – from your initial concept to the final order – so you can confidently order your next steel forged product. 

1. Understand your requirements 

Understanding your requirements is the first and perhaps the most critical step when ordering forged steel products. This involves clearly defining your project goals and outlining the specifications that the product must meet.

Start by clearly defining what you want to achieve with the forged steel product. Are you looking to enhance strength, durability, or resistance to wear and tear in a specific application? Or, are you interested in achieving a precise shape or size that cannot be obtained through other manufacturing methods? Understanding these goals will guide your decision-making process throughout the ordering journey.

Specifications are the detailed descriptions of what you need in your forged steel product and they include:

  • Dimensions
  • Material choice 
  • Weight 
  • Application 
  • Quantity 
  • Tolerances
  • Finishing requirements

If you need support with any of the specifications, your steel forging partner will be able to aid you. For example, at Greg Sewell Forgings we often help our clients with choosing the best material and forging process for their products. 

2. Select a steel forging partner 

After defining your project requirements, the next step is to select a reliable steel forging company that can meet those needs. Below are some things to consider when making your choice. 

Track Record: Look for a company with a proven track record in producing high-quality forged steel products. This often indicates a high level of expertise and reliability. They should be able to provide examples of past work that aligns with your project requirements.

Certifications: These can be a good indicator of a company’s commitment to quality and adherence to industry standards. Look for certifications such as ISO 9001 (Quality Management Systems) or specific certifications related to steel forging. In addition, ensure product testing is done by an independent third party like NATA (National Association of Testing Laboratories). These can provide assurance that the company has robust quality control processes in place.

Experience: The company’s experience is another important factor to consider. A company with a long history in steel forging is likely to have encountered and solved a wide range of challenges, making them better equipped to handle your project.

Capabilities: The company should have the necessary equipment and technical capabilities to meet your project requirements. Ask about their capacity to handle the size, volume, and complexity of your project, and whether they offer any additional services like design assistance, forging heat treatment, or finishing.

Communication and Customer Service: Good communication is critical in any project. The company should be responsive to your inquiries and able to provide clear, detailed information about their processes and capabilities. They should also show a willingness to understand your needs and work with you to meet your project goals.

For more information on how to choose the best company, read our blog on What makes a good steel forging partner?

3. Enquire about cost and lead time

Once you’ve identified a reliable steel forging company, the next step is to obtain a cost estimation and understand the expected lead time. This will ensure there are no surprises later in the project and help you plan accordingly.

Cost estimation usually incorporates material costs, labour costs, tooling costs, additional processes (such as heat treatment, machining, or finishing), overhead costs, and shipping costs. The steel forging company will supply you with a final figure made up from these components. 

Lead time, on the other hand, is made up of three components: 

  • Manufacturing Time: This includes the time it takes to prepare the materials, manufacture the dies (if needed), run the forging process, and complete any additional processes such as heat treatment or machining.
  • Inspection and Packing Time: After manufacturing, the parts need to be inspected for quality and packed for shipping, which can add to the lead time.
  • Shipping Time: The time it takes to ship the parts from the forging company to your location should also be factored into the lead time.

4. Provide drawing or sample 

The first step in the design phase is to provide the design team with technical drawings, specifications, or prototypes of the steel product you want to forge. This should include all the details you’ve defined in your project requirements, including dimensions, material type, tolerances, and any special features or requirements.

The design and engineering team at a steel forging company are experts in their field. They understand the intricacies of the forging process, how different materials behave under forging conditions, and how to optimise designs for manufacturability. Take advantage of this expertise by seeking their advice and feedback on your design.

In addition, the team can also help you modify your design to better suit the forging process. This could involve changes like adding draft angles to make part removal from the die easier, adjusting dimensions to ensure even material flow, or altering features to reduce the need for complex tooling. These changes can improve the quality of the final product, increase production speed, and reduce costs. 

5. Receive sample confirmation 

Before proceeding to full-scale production, it’s common to produce a small batch of samples for testing. This allows you to verify that the forged parts meet your specifications and have the required physical and mechanical properties. Sample testing can involve a variety of checks, including dimensional checks, visual inspection, and destructive and non-destructive testing.

Once the samples have been tested and meet all specifications and quality requirements, you should receive sample confirmation from the forging company. This is your opportunity to examine the sample parts closely and confirm that they meet your expectations in terms of dimensions, weight, material, surface finish, and other key features. 

If any issues are identified during sample testing or inspection, it’s crucial to communicate these to the forging company promptly. They can then adjust the forging process or die design as needed and produce new samples for testing.

6. Place your order 

To finalise your order, you’ll typically need to sign a formal purchase order with the steel forging company. This document should detail the scope of the project, including the final design specifications, quantity of parts to be forged, material type, delivery dates, and pricing. Before signing, make sure you understand all the terms and conditions and ensure that they align with your previous discussions and agreements.

The purchase order should also include the payment terms. It’s common for steel forging companies to require a deposit before starting production, especially for large or custom orders. The remaining amount is typically due upon completion of the project or at agreed-upon milestones.

Discover Greg Sewell Forgings

At Greg Sewell Forgings, we have 90 years of experience providing Australia with forged steel products. Our experienced and dedicated team works closely with every client to ensure they receive all the support they need during the forging process. From product design to forging testing, we are there to provide an end-to-end service.

Browse our range of manufacturing capabilities and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding our services or quality assurance. Our products comply with national certifications such as AS/NZS ISO 9001 and AS/NZS ISO 14001 and are independently tested by NATA (National Association of Testing Laboratories).

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