How Does Near-Net-Shape Forging/Casting Work? Can It Benefit Your Precision Parts Production?
Understanding Complex CNC Machining Processes with LeanWerks Manufacturing & Engineering
Near net shaping (NNS) is a complex industrial manufacturing process that takes advantage of metal forging or casting. As the name implies, the initial production of the custom component is as close as possible to the final (net) shape of the product. As a result, the need for additional production processes such as surface finishing and CNC machining is minimized.
The Advantages of Near Net Shape Forging and Casting
In mid- and high-volume manufacturing applications, as well as ongoing low-volume productions that require small numbers of parts over long periods of time, the reduction in conventional metal finishing techniques streamlines the overall production process, yielding substantially lower manufacturing costs and turnaround times. Some additional benefits of near net shaping include:
- Increased metallurgical strength with more effective grain flow due to cold working.
- Reduction in the energy requirements of your production which reduces costs while making your products more environmentally sustainable.
- Minimum scrap and wasted material, further reducing costs as well as your carbon footprint.
- Exceptional surface finishing suitable for aesthetic applications; simultaneously, increased resistance to rust, corrosion and wear.
- Streamlined automated productivity from design to delivery.
How Does the Near Net Shaping (NNS) Process Work?
Near net shape castings and forgings are precision-designed to be as close as possible to the final shape and size of your finished components. As a result, much of the complex geometry and other custom design features are essentially “baked into” your parts, as opposed to requiring costly CNC machining and grinding operations.
Near Net Casting for the Oil and Gas Industry
A client in the oil and gas sector required custom-spec plug valve inserts that were both cost-effective and long-lasting. LeanWerks contracted a foundry with precision capabilities to create a near net casting with in-mold inoculation. As discussed, this provided a much more uniform metallurgical grain structure when compared to continuous cast ductile iron.
In addition to our leading expertise in the near net shaping process, LeanWerks is one of America’s premier providers of custom investment casting solutions. In the below case, we engineered a fixture that accommodated access to five of six facets to enable more efficient multi-axis CNC machining processes.