VHV Precision Engineering

Drop Forging vs Press Forging

Drop Forging vs Press Forging


In the realm of metalworking, the forging process stands as one of the oldest and most fundamental techniques for shaping metals into various forms. Among the different methods employed in forging, two prominent techniques often used are drop forging and press forging. While both methods aim to achieve the same result — moulding metal into desired shapes — each approach has its distinct characteristics, advantages, and applications.

Drop Forging: The Art of Controlled Impact

Drop forging, also known as hammer forging, embodies a technique where force is applied to the metal through the use of a hammer or a die. The process involves the repeated striking of the workpiece by a hammer, often raised and released mechanically or by steam or hydraulic power. The impact from the hammer shapes the metal into the desired form by forcing it into the shape of the die.


Key Aspects of Drop Forging:

Energy Transfer: The energy transferred during drop forging is high, resulting in rapid shaping of the metal.

Greater Strength: Due to the nature of impact and deformation, drop forging often results in superior mechanical properties, including improved strength and structural integrity.

High Production Rates: Drop forging is well-suited for mass production due to its ability to create parts quickly.

Cost-Effectiveness: It can be more cost-effective for certain types of parts due to the relatively simple machinery involved.

Drop Forging: Technical Insights

1. Impact and Deformation:

Drop forging utilizes high-impact forces generated by a falling hammer or a power-driven device. The energy generated during impact causes plastic deformation in the metal, shaping it into the desired form.

Forging hammers or presses used in drop forging typically range from 1,000 pounds to several thousand pounds of striking force, enabling rapid shaping of the metal.

2. Grain Structure and Material Properties:

The rapid deformation and high forces involved in drop forging result in a refined grain structure within the metal. This refined grain structure contributes to improved mechanical properties such as enhanced strength, better fatigue resistance, and increased toughness.

Metals forged through this method often exhibit superior directional strength due to the alignment of grain flow along the contours of the part.

3. Types of Drop Forging:

There are various types of drop forging techniques, including open-die forging and closed-die forging. Open-die forging involves shaping the metal between flat or simple-shaped dies, while closed-die forging confines the metal within specifically shaped dies, producing more intricate
and precise components.

Press Forging: The Precision of Continuous Force

In contrast, press forging involves applying continuous pressure or force to deform the metal into the desired shape. This technique utilizes hydraulic or mechanical presses to exert controlled and sustained pressure on the workpiece, gradually shaping it into the form of the die.


Key Aspects of Drop Forging:

Precision and Control: Press forging offers precise control over the deformation process, allowing for the creation of intricate and detailed shapes.

Consistency: The steady application of force results in uniformity and consistency in the forged parts.

Versatility: It is suitable for a wide range of metals, including both simple and complex shapes.

Lower Impact: Compared to drop forging, press forging exerts less impact on the workpiece, which can be advantageous for certain materials or intricate designs.

The Key Differences and Applications:

1. Method of Force Application:

Drop forging uses high-impact forces in a rapid manner.

Press forging applies continuous and controlled pressure to shape the metal.

2. Suitable Applications:

Drop forging is often preferred for creating stronger, less intricate parts in high-volume production, like automotive components.

Press forging finds its niche in producing more intricate and complex parts that require precision, such as aerospace components or high-precision tools.

3. Material Consideration:

While both methods can work with various metals, the impact of drop forging might not be suitable for more brittle materials, whereas press forging can handle a broader range of materials.

In conclusion, both drop forging and press forging are invaluable techniques in the metalworking industry, each offering unique benefits and serving specific purposes. The choice between these methods ultimately depends on the desired outcome, material properties, complexity of the part, and the required production volume.

Understanding the variances between drop forging and press forging allows manufacturers and engineers to select the most suitable method to achieve the desired quality, strength, and precision in their forged components.

Press Forging: Technical Insights

1. Continuous Pressure and Forming Speed:

Press forging applies a continuous, controlled force to shape the metal. Hydraulic or mechanical presses exert pressure gradually, allowing for precise control over the deformation process.

Presses used in forging operations often range from hundreds to thousands of tons of force, providing the necessary pressure for shaping complex parts.

2. Precision and Tooling:

Press forging allows for the creation of intricate and highly detailed shapes with consistent accuracy. The use of specialized tooling and dies enables the production of complex geometries and tight tolerances.

The ability to maintain constant pressure throughout the process results in parts with uniform dimensions and minimized material waste.

3. Materials and Applications:

Press forging accommodates a wide range of materials, including steel, aluminum, titanium, and exotic alloys. It is particularly suitable for producing components requiring high precision and intricate designs, such as gears, aerospace parts, and medical implants.

Comparative Analysis and Considerations

1. Process Control and Complexity:

Drop forging, with its high-impact nature, might be more challenging to control for intricate designs or materials prone to cracking under sudden forces.

Press forging provides superior control, making it well-suited for complex shapes, detailed designs, and materials requiring precision.

2. Material Suitability:

While both methods can forge various materials, drop forging’s high impact may not be suitable for more brittle materials or intricate designs that require careful control over the deformation process.

Press forging’s continuous pressure makes it adaptable to a broader range of materials and intricate designs.

Understanding the technical nuances between drop forging and press forging allows manufacturers and engineers to make informed decisions based on the specific requirements of their components. Both methods offer distinct advantages and considerations, enabling the production of high-quality forged parts tailored to different applications and material characteristics.

Differences Between Drop Forging and Press Forging


Drop Forging

Press Forging


Uses a hammer to shape metal into the desired form

Uses a press to apply pressure to the metal, forcing it into the desired shape


Requires a drop hammer or power hammer

Requires a hydraulic or mechanical press

Production speed

Generally slower than press forging

Generally faster than drop forging

Material shape

Works best with simple shapes and small to medium-sized parts

Can handle more complex shapes and larger parts

Surface finish

Generally, results in a rougher surface finish than press forging

Can produce a smoother surface finish

Material waste

Produces more waste material than press forging due to the need for trimming and finishing operations

Produces less waste material


Often more expensive due to the specialized equipment required

Often less expensive due to the versatility of the equipment


Generally, results in stronger parts due to the deformation and compression of the metal

Generally, produces slightly weaker parts due to the less intense deformation of the metal