If you’ve researched getting your product or part manufactured, you’ll probably have come across the terms Cast, Forged and Billet. It’s not always easy to find information about what these mean or the pros and cons of each process. So we’re going to take you through the processes involved in each, and help you make an informed decision..
Cast metal has been heated up and poured into a mould. These casting techniques include gravity or high pressure die casting. This forms the shape of your product.
Forged metal is heated until it is malleable (not molten) and pressed or forced into the desired shape. This how blacksmiths made horseshoes, swords and armour. Modern methods use high pressure stamping, rather than a hammer and anvil.
Billet is a type of metal and doesn’t necessarily represent the manufacturing process (or quality) of the final product. Billet metal is a solid length that has been rolled or cast into shape. Billet material is often used in cnc machining.
WHICH IS BETTER FOR ME?
Each form of production has its benefits and negatives depending on the constraints of the project. These constraints could be budget, product size, manufacturing quantity, tolerances or type of finish.
Casting is incredibly versatile and the area that we specialise in. Casting can cater for lower quantities with processes such as sand casting, or incredibly high volumes with processes such as high-pressure die casting. Casting is a ‘near-net-shape’ forming method, so very little material is wasted, and very little post-processing is required to form the geometry of the component. The materials can be versatile, and a wide variety of surface finishes can be applied.
Forging a part can result in high strength, high quality units but requires relatively extensive finishing work to remove excess. Forging is also limited to simpler shapes, free from overhangs or too many concave surfaces.
Billet material, however, is not a manufacturing process, simply a form of material (like ingot, nugget or round) and is often used for CNC machining products and produces high quality, high accuracy parts without the need for expensive tooling. This makes it exceptional for low quantity or bespoke work that doesn’t need to be mass produced.
Whilst, CNC machining of Billet material is possible for large scale production; the cost increases linearly with each unit.
Billet material is also often incorrectly associated with unanimous quality; the quality (particularly in terms of strength) is determined by the quality of the billet material used – not all Billet material is top quality. MRT Castings has seven decades of experience producing highly complex, quality castings. We work with our clients from concept through to finished article.
Whilst other processes are available, we believe that the versatility of casting, combined with robust design and advanced CNC methods will fit the bill in most cases..
To learn more about your casting journey, check out our infographic or contact us today to speak to one of our casting experts.