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Casting vs. forging – what are the differences?

At FJ Industries we produce metal components for a wide range of customers with varying requirements. Some choose casted components while others prefer forged parts, depending on the required properties, complexity and size of the component in question.

First, let’s define casting and forging. Casting is what happens when you pour molten metal into a mould and let it cool and solidify; after this process the unit will have a shape very close to the finished product. Forging is the process of working with the metal in its solid form, using pressure or hammering tools to give it the intended shape.

The two processing methods of course each have their certain characteristics and advantages, and we have listed some of the more significant differences between casting and forging below.

Forging vs. Casting





Relatively lower strength because of the cast structure

Very high strength because the structure of the metal will follow the shape of the unit


High uniformity

High uniformity

Size restrictions

Almost no limitations

Certain limitations to size

Level of complexity

Very high; the liquid metal makes it possible to fill all corners of a complex shape

Low complexity; using pressure to shape the units has its limitations


Iron, steel



Low costs, because there’s usually less processing after casting and because casting tools are less costly than forging tools

Relatively higher costs as the forged units usually require more processing before having a finished product


Can be advantageous for small, medium and large quantities

Can be advantageous for medium and large quantities

Casting methods

Investment casting

This casting method, also known as lost wax casting or precision casting, begins by producing a wax pattern with the exact same shape as the finished product. This takes place in a metal mould. The cast wax pattern is mounted on a so-called pattern tree and then dipped into a ceramic slurry which produces a hard shell around the pattern. The wax is then heated and removed from the ceramic mould which can now be used for casting of the steel units. The finished steel units are cut off from the pattern tree for further processing. Note that investment casting is for steel, not iron.


Shell mould casting

This casting method involves covering a pattern with a layer of sand and resin binder. This layer creates a hard shell which is used as the mould for casting the steel or iron units. The mould is supported during the casting process to keep the required tolerances. Afterwards the shell is removed from the unit which is now ready for further processing. Both iron and steel can be cast with this method.


Sand casting

A pattern in wood or metal is used to make an imprint in sand, and the form created this way is then used as the mould for casting the units. After casting the sand is removed from the units which are now ready for further processing. Both iron and steel can be cast with this method.

Forging methods

Free form forging

During this process the heated steel is shaped, but without using tool especially designed for the task. The shaping is primarily done by hammer or hydraulic presses. This process can be used for many purposes, from small to very large units.

Drop forging

A special tool is designed to forge the units. The raw material is typically heated, placed in the tool and then pressed into the desired shape. Afterwards the unit is ready for further processing.

What is the best processing method for you?

At FJ Industries we have decades of experience manufacturing metal parts for various industries. Our specialists are happy to share their expertise, so contact us to find the right solution for your component.