Compare Forging to Additive Manufacturing

Compare and contrast additive manufacturing to forging – in terms of strength, part integrity, inspection requirements, ease of technical assistance, and production rates and economy.


Additive Manufacturing


Strength: No established standards or property data exist for the additive process, and the property results are unknown or uncertain. Expensive materials are required to upgrade properties to meet performance requirements. Forgings are made from well known, widely used and reliable materials with established, predictable properties.
Part integrity: New additive techniques and processes must be developed for each new design. Full density of AM metal parts is not possible without subsequent Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIP). Ongoing incremental improvements to the forging process, such as computer simulation and modeling techniques, provide reliable and positive results in service performance.
 Inspection requirements: No solid standards exist for the inspection of AM components. Inspection techniques must be established for each unique configuration and material, as defect types are only partially known and process variables demand 100% inspection. Standards exist to inspect forgings, as well as components machined from forgings, at every stage of processing. Defect types are known and understood. The consistency of the process allows for a reduced frequency of inspection.
Technical assistance: AM techniques vary widely between machine builders. No guarantees are offered, and warranties may be voided if proprietary materials and techniques specific to individual builders are used. Forging technology is well known and processes are rarely proprietary. Providers rely on efficient operations or specialized machinery to provide economy, rather than secret programming or material formulas.
Production rates and economy: AM production rates remain relatively slow, and their best use is with small, complex, and low volume components. Volumes of powdered metal for input may be limited in desired alloys, jeopardizing production and raising cost. Forging offers economy of scale with the capability for high production rates when volume production is required. Increases in volume drive the costs down, rather than up.

For more information on forgings compared to additive manufacturing, visit the Forging Industry Association (FIA) website.