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Problems Faced in

Precision Forging of
Aerofoil blades

Problem Statement

Typical problems faced while manufacturing


aerofoil blades used in turbines and
compressors of jet engine using precision
forging technique and their remedial
solutions.

A turbine blade having aerofoil


shape

Source Aerospace engineering blog

Evolution of turbine blade

Source Aerospace engineering blog

Precision Forging
The final product from a precision forging
needs little or no final machining. Cost
savings are gained from the use of less
material, and thus less scrap, the overall
decrease in energy used, and the reduction
or elimination of machining.
It was developed to minimize cost and
waste associated with post-forging
operations

Advantages of precision forging


1. The volume of the blank is reduced to the nominal

volume of the finished product. This results savings in


material.
2. The dimensions of the forging may conform closely to
the final dimensions of the product, no draft angles are
needed. It results in reduction of subsequent machining
and material costs.
3. Better corner filling can be accomplished due to the
higher pressures associated with precision forging.
4. The strength of a product after precision forging is
superior to that forged with a flash, since fibering flow
lines in a precision forging conform to the shape of the
product, whereas in a forging with a flash they do not
[1].
5. Usually precision forging is performed in one forging
step, from a blank of uniform cross section to a final
shape through a single pair of dies, eliminating

Conventional forging v/s


precision forging

Preconditions for successful


application of precision forging
Input material
Knowledge of material properties is basic provision
for efficient designing of forging process and in that
purpose the flow stress of material of workpiece is
main feature to be considered.
Fluctuations in the chemical composure,
microstructure, grain size of workpiece material cause
variations in flow stress.
Result of this is change of process parameters,
including elastic behavior of workpiece, material flow,
hardening, etc.

Billet accuracy
High accuracy in size and shape of billet are crucial
for precision forging process accomplishment.
The initial billet dimensions must be chosen so that
the total volume weight of the billet will be the same
as that of the final product to be formed.
Variation of the volume (mass) of the billet directly
affects the precision of final forged part.
Too small volume of billet causes underfiling the die
cavity as too large billet volume lead to the overload
of the tool set and its damage.
Typically allowed volume variations of billet are
between 0.5 and 1% [2].
Further, in order to obtain good surface finish on
forgings, good surfaces are required on the billets.

Preform
Precision forging of cylindrical and axisymmetrical
parts is normally realized in single operation.
However, for more complex shapes of forging part one
or more preforming operations have to be employed.
When designing manufacturing process often there
are several ways that forging can be made.
The number of perform stages and the design of the
preform directly influence the accuracy, and cost of
final part, tool life etc [3].
For precision forging the best sequence would be one
in which minimum wears occurs in the finish die.
Also, properly designed preforms can bring forging
loads to be reduced, eliminate flow faults, cavity
interfiling and to minimize the billet stock.

Tooling
The toolings for precision forging have to fulfill two
basic requirements: to be manufactured with high
accuracy and to ensure minimal dimensional changing
during manufacturing (forging) process.
Precision forging requires a precision tool set. Any
deviation from the prescribed values in the tool
geometry may cause systematic errors on workpiece.
Process of the precision forging requires exact
guidance as well as reliable closing of the die.
These factors are crucial for the proper function of the
precision forging tool set and achievement of desired
accuracy of forging.
If dies are closed by additional closing elements, the
level of closing pressure has to be higher from the
maximum value of normal pressure inside the die.
To provide the adequate closing pressure, springs are

Tooling concept to reduce die-deformation [5]

Temperature
It can be said that from all process variables forging
temperature and thermal occurrences during the
process are most complex and most important.
In particular it is important for dies with very narrow
tolerances and small gaps between moving elements
being any deviation of the die temperature causes
thermal expansion or shrinking of the tool elements.
It can led to significant dimensional changes of
forgings and tool malfunction.
Further, forging temperature is directly responsible
for the thermal shrinking of the forging parts,
microstructure of the final components, the flow
stress, the material formability etc. and consequently
influences their quality and accuracy.

Higher forging temperature reduces strainhardening, elastic deformation of tool and


machine elements, but it cause increase of die
wear and scale formation.
Investigation has shown that temperature
increase of 100 C can change punch diameter
by 0.02mm what is 2/3 of the tolerance field
IT8.
Having this in mind it is clear that when
designing precision forging process thermal
effects have to be considered and appropriate
corrections in tool geometry preformed.
To avoid thermal changes in cold forging,
special attention has to be paid to lubrication.

Lubrication
Lubrication during forging is important because it
reduce friction which decrease load and die wear,
and at the same time enables better filling of the die
cavity.
The lubricant also cools the die surfaces and keeps
the die temperature rather steady during forming
process.
It could help stability of the forming process and
better part accuracy to be achieved.
Lubrication system should be chosen on the way to
be relatively insensible to temperature and pressure.
In order to maximize effects, lubricant should be
applied uniformly and persistently throughout entire
forging process.

Superplasticity
Superplasticityis a state in whichsolid
crystallinematerial is deformed well beyond its
usual breaking point, usually over about 200%
during tensile deformation. Such a state is usually
achieved at highhomologous temperature.
Requirements for it being superplastic include a
fine grain size (less than approximately 20
micrometres) and a fine dispersion of thermally
stable particles, which act to pin the grain
boundaries and maintain the fine grain structure
at the high temperatures and existence of two
phases required for superplastic deformation [4].

Those materials that meet these parameters must still


have a strain rate sensitivity (a measurement of the way
the stress on a material reacts to changes in strain rate)
of >0.3 to be considered superplastic.
The process offers a range of important benefits, from
both the design and production angles. To begin with
there is the ability to form components with double
curvature and smooth contours from single sheet in one
operation, with exceptional dimensional accuracy and
surface finish, and none of the "spring back" associated
withcold forming techniques [5].
The mechanisms of superplasticity in metals are still
under debatemany believe it relies on atomic
diffusionand the sliding of grains past each other. Also,
when metals are cycled around their
phasetransformation, internal stresses are produced and
superplastic-like behaviour develops.

Investment Casting
method
1. Wax is poured into the metal mould of the blade.
2. The wax shape is taken out and dipped in ceramic
slurry so that a ceramic coating of approximately
0.25 inch is formed on it.
3. Then, it is heated, so that the wax gets melted and
ceramic is hardened.
4. Molten metal is poured in the cavity formed due to
previously melted wax.
5. The blade is then kept in computer controlled ovens for
directional solidifying process.
6. Finally, the blade is machined to required shape and then
finishing operations are done to get desired dimensional
accuracy.

Forging v/s Casting


Compar
e
Forging

To Casting

Stronger

Casting cannot obtain the strengthening effects of hot and


cold working. Whether open or closed die forging is used,
the forging process surpasses casting in predictable
strength properties - producing superior strength that is
assured, part to part.

Defects refined
in preworking.

A casting has neither grain flow nor directional strength


and the process cannot prevent formation of certain
metallurgical defects. Preworking forge stock produces a
grain flow oriented in directions requiring maximum
strength.

More reliable,
less costly

Casting defects occur in a variety of forms. Because


hotforging refines grain pattern and imparts high strength,
ductility and resistance properties, forged products are
more reliable.

Better
response to
heat treatment

Castings require close control of melting and cooling


processes because alloy segregation may occur. This
results in non-uniform heat-treatment response that can
affect straightness of finished parts. Forgings respond
more predictably to heat treatment and offer better

What is Sustainable
manufacturing?
Sustainable

manufacturingis the creation


ofmanufacturedproducts through processes
that minimize negative environmental
impacts, conserve energy and natural
resources and are economically-sound .
Sustainable Manufacturing
involves processes
that are designed to use
less energy, little or no
water, fewer raw materials
and produce zero waste.

Spheres of Sustainability.

Sustainable manufacturing
through precision forging
It is evident that the material wastage is
reduced (as high as 60%) and the cost related
to machining is also reduced.
Additional benefits include reductions in the
energy and greenhouse gas emissions
associated with production, transportation,
and recycling of wasted metal.
Such reductions would impact material
sustainability and availability for high-tech
manufacturing, and provide a competitive
advantage for manufacturers.

Life cycle analysis

Life-cycle assessment(LCA, also known


aslife-cycle analysis,ecobalance,
andcradle-to-grave analysis) is a technique
to assess environmental impacts associated
with all the stages of a product's life from
cradle to grave i.e., from raw material
extraction through materials processing,
manufacture, distribution, use, repair and
maintenance, and disposal or recycling.

There are four major steps of the standardized


LCA process:
1. Goal and Scope Definition
What are we trying to learn?
2. Life Cycle Inventory (LCI)
What's embedded in the
product?
3. Life Cycle Impact Assessment
What effects does it have?
4. Data Interpretation
What does it all mean?

Super alloys

1.
2.
3.
4.

A super-alloy is an alloy that exhibits characteristics like


excellent mechanical strength, resistance to chemical
degradation and thermal creep, good surface stability and
resistance to corrosion or oxidation at room temperature as
well as at elevated temperatures.
Super alloys are broadly classified in four categories namely
Nickel-based alloys
Titanium-based alloys
Cobalt-based alloys
Iron-based alloys
The parts of a modern jet engine have to suffer extreme
harsh conditions and super alloys have the required
properties to withstand these conditions.
One of the most important property is the high strength to
weight ratio.

Problems faced in processing of


Titanium alloys

Temperature control
There is important need to control forging
temperature because if one exceeds the beta
transition temperature there is a danger of the
microstructure of the alloy changing over to the beta
phase.
In order to avoid forging in beta temperature range,
there is the need to restrict the maximum forging
temperature to 50 degree Celsius lesser than the beta
transition temperature [6].
However forging pressure increases dramatically with
decrease in forging temperature.
Owing to these conflicting demands the following
temperature range available to forge narrows down
considerably.

At higher temperatures, Titanium alloys


show change in strain with respect to time.
This results into increase in flow stress.
In order to overcome higher strain rate
sensitivity, proper forging equipment must
be designed and the forging sequence must
be decided appropriately.
Titanium alloys also show high galling
tendency which results into wear of dies [6].
The alloy segregation starts taking place at
elevated temperatures and changes the
microstructure which causes change in
mechanical properties in the forging stocks.

Difficulties in precision
forging
Short life of forming tools (Dies and punches)
The life-span of the tools depends on the forging
temperature and pressure, tools material, the
shape of the preform and that of the slug, etc.
The low durability of the tools lowers the quality
of the forgings.
The most common forging defect due to low tool
durability are, i.e. shorts, laps, burrs, bends,
cracks, micro- and macro-fractures and so on.
This, in turn, affects the functionality of the final
product made from the forging.

Die

wear
In precision forging it is very important to reduce die wear.
Die wear is factor that not only affects the accuracy of
forged parts, but also the cost of the forging process.
Namely, about 70% of die changes have to be done due to
die wear because they cannot keep the desired tolerances
[7].
Tight tolerances of precise forgings additionally reduce die
life that could increase expenses of forging process
drastically.
In that sense is it of great importance to improve die life.
In case of hot and warm precision forging die life and wear
occurrence depend mostly on forging temperature.
Lower forging temperature impacts very positive to die life.
Also it reduce the formation of scale which is second major
contributor to poor die life.

Isothermal Forging

1.

2.

3.

4.

Isothermal forging or Hot-die forging has been very


effective for enhanced processing of super alloys. This
technology offers number of advantages
Closer tolerances than those possible in conventional
forging processes can be achieved resulting in reduced
material and machining cost.
Because Die chilling is not a problem in isothermal or
hot die forging lower strain rates can be used.
Lower strain rates are associated with reduced flow
stress of the work material, so forging pressure and the
energy costs are reduced.
Larger parts can be produced in existing hydraulic
press.

Cad for precision forging

The main problem for forging process is the high cost


and long lead time for the design and production of
tooling.
For this purpose, CAD techniques are used to get faster
results in the design and manufacture of tooling by
decreasing the trial and error time to produce successful
forgings.
3-D modeling of forging dies is usually made with the aid
of CAD software such as NX, CATIA, and SOLID WORKS
etc.
If there are any problems in the simulation of the
process then the designer of the forging process can
easily change his design parameters in the CAD software
packages.
The usage of process simulation programs is common for
research and development of forging processes.
By using this type of programs, forging tool designer can

DEFORM-3D is a powerful process


simulation system designed to analyze the
three-dimensional (3D) flow of complex
metal forming processes.
Typical applications include:
closed die forging open die forging
machining rolling extrusion
drawing compaction.

Deform 3D is very supportive in optimizing the


forging process and defining its parameters.
Forging process can be simulated, Problems
related with Product and Process design can be
observed easily, Various dies can be tried and
forging process can be analyzed closely by using
Deform 3D.
After a number of simulation processes involving
different parameters, optimum die set for which
the die cavity gets filled completely while
maintaining a lower stress can be selected by
using Deform 3D.

Comparision of simulation with real


results of microstructure analysis

Deform simulation for exact positioning of


preform.
Exact volume of billet can be predicted.
Optimum Temperature range can be
obtained.
Proper die can be designed with minimum
stresses involved.
Prediction of cracks, burrs

References
Akiyasha moritu et. al. Near Net Shape Forging of Titanium Alloy
Turbine Blade-ISIJ International, Vol. 31;827-833 (2011).
Jan schinzak et. al. The forging process of Aircraft engine turbine
blades-Metallurgy and foundary engineering;36;712-723(2010)
Aerospace manufacturing technology book; pg 52-64.
Bariani P.F. et. al. Integrating physical and numerical simulation
techniques to design the hot forging process of stainless steel
turbine blades, International Journal of Machine Tools &
Manufacture, 44, 2004, pp. 945951.
Z. GRONOSTAJSKI and M. HAWRYLUK The main aspects of precision
forging-ARCHIVES OF CIVIL AND MECHANICAL ENGINEERING;8; 3953
Wagner R. H., Chenot J.L.: Fundamentals of Metal Forming, Wiley,
2006
Osakada K, Nakamura T.: Research and development of precision
forging in Japan. Proceeding of 8th ITCP, Verona, 2005.
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