Selecting the right lubricant is critical to the forging process. Proper lubrication increases a plant’s productivity and profitability by increasing die life, reducing scrap, preventing premature equipment failure, and preventing “stuck” forgings. Henkel is a global leader in providing lubricant solutions for the forging industry through their decades of technical expertise and BONDERITE® line of products for hot forging, warm forging, and precision forging operations.
Types of Forging Lubricants
Billet Coatings: a billet coating lubricates the billet prior to heating and forging, and provides the following benefits:
Lubricates the part during forging
Protects billets from decarburization and oxidation
Creates a barrier between the tool and the workpiece
Die Lubricants: die lubricants reduce the metal-on-metal contact between the forge and the die, and have the following benefits:
Reduce die wear
Reduce forging load
Promote uniform metal flow within the die cavity
Function as a parting compound
Serve as a barrier to heat transfer
Prevent build up in the die cavity
Should You Use a Graphite or a Synthetic Die Lubricant?
A question commonly asked is whether a graphite-based lubricant or synthetic (non-graphite) lubricant is better. Each has their advantages and disadvantages. While graphite-free synthetics are much cleaner than their graphite-containing counterparts, graphite-based products promote metal flow and tend to be more lubricious. The hexagonal lattice structure of graphite allows its layers to slide over one another easily, giving it a low friction coefficient and making it an excellent solid lubricant. Some lubricants are semi-synthetic and contain both graphite and synthetic salts.
Graphite Used as a Foundation
Excellent Lubrication & Release
Shiny Film After Forging
No Build-Up in Die Cavity
Very High Melting Point Salts
Good Lubrication & Release
Provides Some Anti-Corrosive Properties
Cleaner Work Environment
Film Formation for Water-Based Die Lubricants
For the lubricant to properly adhere to the die surface and form a good film, the water carrier must evaporate. For this reason, it is typically necessary to preheat the die prior to applying the lubricant. The right spray equipment is also necessary to ensure proper atomization and speed. Good atomization and droplet force means more wetting capacity, resulting in an increased water evaporation rate and instantaneous film formation.
You Cannot Afford a Bad Lubricant
Die lubricants typically account for a very small percentage of a shop’s expenses. Proper lubrication increases productivity and reduces cost by reducing scrap parts, preventing unnecessary maintenance, and reducing equipment wear. Saving a penny on a die lubricant that underperforms could cost a pound on the backend. Below is an example of a breakdown of shop expenses:
BONDERITE® Forging Solutions
The BONDERITE® L-FG product line from Henkel is an extensive line of metalworking lubricants for hot forging, warm forging, and precision forging processes. Henkel has a longstanding track record of providing innovative solutions to the forging industry, with products that work in widespread applications (i.e. hammer forging, open die roll forging, impression die forging, closed die upsetting) and presses (i.e. hydraulic, mechanical, upsetter). Below is a list of the core BONDERITE® forging products:
Many factors are considered when choosing a forging lubricant including the forging operation, metals being forged, temperatures, application method, and parts being produced. Contact a technical representative for a product recommendation.