Why it Important To Anneal Steel When Cold Forged
Annealing is a heat treatment process of the cold forging process that is meant to improve the cold forging process. The process softens the material being cold-forged and reducing flow stress. Flow stress is the stress that must be applied to cause a material to deform at a constant strain rate in its plastic range.
So annealing softens the material and lowers the flow stress making it easy for the forging process to be performed. The heating process where the metal is forged is heated to some temperatures slightly above room temperatures.
The annealing of steel is the most common process when cold forging. You already know that steel is one of the hardest metals, and thus cold forging it can be a bit difficult. To soften the billet a bit to enable cold forging, you will need to anneal it. It helps to reduce the larger amount of force that could have been needed to forge.
There are various ways that annealing can be done. One of the most common is heating before forging to improve the plastic deformation of the metal blanks or billets. But there is also the intermediate annealing, applied in between forging stages. This type of annealing is necessary when cold forging induces work hardening, and the workpiece becomes almost impossible to cold forge.
There is annealing after the forging. This kind of annealing is what most people refer to as heat treatment. This kind of annealing helps the cold forged steel or forged parts cool slowly so that they do not lose their mechanical properties.
The importance of annealing steel before cold forging is to improve the process by increase the forging speed. This is because it is easier to forge a warmed metal rather than dealing with a workpiece at room temperature.
The annealing process also enables you to cold forge even harder metals. This is an important factor to consider, especially if you are in the forging business. Metals like steel and their alloys are difficult to cold forge at room temperature.
With annealing, the cost of equipment and machinery for cold forge is significantly reduced. You don’t need larger pressing equipment since the workpiece will be softened.
Annealing steel after forging helps to retain or improve the mechanical properties of the forgings. It makes the forging harder and stronger, hence improved quality. These are just some of the reasons why it is important to the annealing process in cold forging.