Project title: Resource efficient forging process chain for complicated high duty parts (REForCh)
Runtime: October 1, 2012 – September 30, 2014



The REforCh project was funded by the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Union. Four small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and three research institutes originating in five countries participated in the cooperative research project.

Forging processes usually produce parts with flash. Flash is an excess material, which is technical necessary for the most forging processes. A good and adapted process design can save some of this material. In forging of complex long pieces made of steel, the material costs make up a large proportion of the production costs. Today, the excess material of an industrially forged crankshaft sums up to 55 % of the raw material. Therefore, industry's attention shifts to the improvement of production technologies.

The aim of the REForCh project was to develop a new resource efficient process chain for complicated high duty parts based on a flash reduced forging to minimize the excess material. The process-chain includes a flashless preforming in closed dies, another flashless preforming operation in a in multiple directions moving die and a conventional finish forging operation.

Closed die forging is a forging process in which dies move towards each other and cover the workpiece completely, causing the metal to flow and fill the die cavities. Therefore no flash can be generated. The core idea of the project is the multidirectional die. The die allows material to be formed in multiple directions. This technology works with five separated dies and wedges with friction surfaces to convert the vertical movement of a forging machine (press) to a horizontal movement of a die. Thereby it’s possible to form the crank web and the radial displacement of the crank pin while the upsetting of the part takes place. It generates the characteristic mass distribution of the crankshaft. The preform operations in closed dies support this process for a better mass distribution for the final forging, which produces the flash.

→  Press release: "New forging procedure reduces the burr percentage from 54 to 7 percent"

→  Tests in industrial environment: Watch a video of the forging trials on YouTube