Multi-stage forging process chains are often used for the efficient production of complex geometries. Typically, these consist of homogeneous heating, one or more preform stages, and the final forging step. By inhomogeneously heated billets, the process chains can be simplified or shortened. This shall be achieved by setting various temperature fields within a billet, resulting in different yield stresses. These can influence the material flow, leading to easier production of complex parts. In this study, the influence of inhomogeneously heated billets on the forming process is investigated by means of FEA. For this purpose, two process chains including inhomogeneous heating and three homogeneously heated reference process chains are developed and compared. Each process chain is optimized until form filling and no defects occur. Target figures for the assessment are necessary forming force, the amount of material necessary to achieve form filling and die abrasion wear. For process chains with inhomogeneously heated billets, the results showed a small time window of about 5 s for a successful forming in terms of form filling. Forming forces and die abrasion wear increase for inhomogeneously heated billets due to higher initial flow stresses. However, the flash ratio decreases when billets are heated inhomogeneously. Depending on their size, inhomogeneously heated billets show up to 11.8% less flash than homogeneously heated billets. This shows a potential for the use of inhomogeneous heating to make forging processes more efficient. Subsequently, experimental tests will be carried out to verify the results of the simulations.
Inhomogeneous heating, Forging, FEA, Resource efficiency, Preform operation