Cast or forged steel fittings is a very common question. The truth is that the question of which is better largely depends on what the components are being used for. Cast and forged steel fittings have multiple similarities, as both require steel to be heated until it becomes malleable, both often have surface treatments applied (such as paint or powder), and both may be altered through welding or other processes during assembly.
What Are Forged Steel Fittings?
Forged components are made from steel which has been heated and then hammered into a specific shape. This process realigns the metal grains, resulting in a final product that is much harder, stronger, and more wear-resistant than the base metal – or its cast counterparts. Forged components had 26% higher tensile strength than the same parts made from cast steel, according to a study done by the Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Department at the University of Toledo. Forged components also respond better to heat treatment, can withstand more mechanical force and more substantial impacts, and are more effective in pairs which are subject to stress and high loads. Forging also helps to limit the formation of pockets, cavities, and gas voids within the piece.
What Are Cast Components?
Cast part are created by super-heating steel until it changes into a liquid, then pouring the liquid steel into a mold. Cast parts cost less than forged parts, and are generally considered the better choice when it comes to mass-produced parts. Castings also work best in parts that have internal cavities. Another advantage is that castings can use alloys such as anything using a high amount of nickel, which is difficult to forge. Casting can also produce larger parts more consistently. Forged parts will be limited by the sizes of available equipment. There are two common types of casting used: sand casting and investment casting. In sand casting, the liquid steel is poured into a mold made from pressed sand or specialized clay. This is usually used for larger parts. In investment casting, the liquid steel is injected into a metal die and ceramic coating. This is mostly used for smaller, more delicate parts.
So, Are Forged Steel Fittings Better Than Cast Fittings?
It depends on the project and what you really need the part to do. If you need strength, forged is probably your best option. If you need detail or a special alloy, cast is going to be your best bet.
As always, your best option is to work with a distributor who knows how to help you spec the right parts for your project. Give us a call at Lynco Flange & Fitting today and we’ll help you get on the right path!