Limited natural resources increase the demand on highly efficient machinery and transportation means. New energy-saving mobility concepts call for design optimisation through downsizing of components and choice of corrosion resistant materials possessing high strength to density ratios. Component downsizing can be performed either by constructive structural optimisation or by substituting heavy materials with lighter high-strength ones.
In this context, forging plays an important role in manufacturing load-optimised structural components. At the Institute of Metal Forming and Metal-Forming Machines (IFUM) various innovative forging technologies have been developed. With regard to structural optimisation, different strategies for localised reinforcement of components were investigated. Locally induced strain hardening by means of cold forging under a superimposed hydrostatic pressure could be realised.
In addition, controlled martensitic zones could be created through forming induced phase conversion in metastable austenitic steels. Other research focused on the replacement of heavy steel parts with high-strength nonferrous alloys or hybrid material compounds. Several forging processes of magnesium, aluminium and titanium alloys for different aeronautical and automotive applications were developed. The whole process chain from material characterisation via simulation-based process design, to the production of the parts were considered.
The feasibility of forging complex shaped geometries using these alloys was confirmed. In spite of the difficulties encountered due to machine noise and high temperature, acoustic emission (AE) technique was successfully applied for online monitoring of forging defects. New AE analysis algorithm was developed, so that different signal patterns due to various events such as product/die cracking or die wear could be detected and classified.
Further, the feasibility of the mentioned forging technologies was proven by means of the finite element analysis (FEA). For example, the integrity of forging dies with respect to crack initiation due to thermo-mechanical fatigue as well as the ductile damage of forgings was investigated with the help of cumulative damage models.