In January 2018, MES received a stainless steel RFQ in which the customer required hot forging process. This is a fuel rail part with high cleanliness and tight tolerance requirements. In most cases, MES follows customers’ requirements and then reaches out to the best supplier. However, we always seek an alternative process which can help to ease cost pressure for our customers.
After our sourcing team took over the project, they went through the drawings, specs sheets, and had a communication with the customer to better understand the customer’s needs. Instead of cold forging, the team suggested using investment casting instead.
Cold forging is a metal forming process for shaping metal into a predetermined form by using a massive hammer or press. The tooling cost of cold forging is high, yet the life of parts made of this method is short. Special equipment is required which causes the piece price to be higher for this type of process. With the lack of tolerance, forged parts need to be treated and machined.
Investment casting, on contrary, has less tooling cost due to its uncomplicated process. This process ensures higher tolerance, less machining and ultimately leads to a lower final part cost.
In the end, our sourcing team recommended investment casting for this project, which saved 20% for our customer by using cold forging process.