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Grain Flow is a term you will hear throughout the forging industry. But what is it? And why is it so important?

All raw materials are processed at a mill or foundry turning them into certified and useable bars or plates.  Molten metal is mixed together to create the final chemical composition required.  This determines if the material will be steel, stainless steel, aluminium, titanium, and so on.

During the recrystallisation process, as the molten metal solidifies, crystals are slowly formed in the internal structure. These are commonly referred to as grains.

Once formed into initial workable bars or slabs, the material is then further processed and refined into usable bars or plates.  This process compresses and elongates the grain in one defined direction.  This is referred to as directional grain flow.

During forging, the directional grain flow is compressed even further by correctly orientating and aligning the material in the forging dies to best suit the component in production.  This yields a stronger and more resilient result when compared to its machined or cast counterparts.

Forging is the only process that manipulates the grain flow in a way that further increases the strength characteristics of the resulting component.  Therefore, you will always find forged components within many safety-critical industries including Civil Engineering and Construction, Wind and Nuclear Power Generation, Rail and Locomotive, Petrochemical, and Subsea, where failure is simply not an option.