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Introduction :
 Isothermal forging is a special type of forging process in which
the die temperature is significantly higher than those used in
conventional forging process.
In this process, dies are maintained at the same temperature as
the forging stock, due to which it overcomes the problem of
conventional forging.
Heat transfer from the workpiece to the die surfaces causes
thermal gradients in the workpiece, due to which the cooler areas
undergoes less plastic flow as compared to hotter core areas,
which is termed as die chilling.
This process is capable of producing near net or net shape parts,
therefore this process is also referred to as near net shape
forging process.
It has the advantage of reducing chilling effect of the dies.
In general, isothermal forging is costly, but it is suitable for those
materials which are difficult to forge conventionally.
Die Heating Process :
The die temperatures are maintained at these high levels
through continuous heating of the dies during the forging
operation. This is done by using-
1. Induction heating.
2. Gas fired heating.
3. Resistance heating.
 The heating arrangement is combined with the press so
that heat can be provided to the dies during the forging
Induction Heating:

Diagram of Induction Heating system for Isothermal Forging

Advantages of die heating :
Load requirement will not increase. Since the temperature of
the dies are maintained same throughout the forging cycle, so
that it eliminates the die chilling effect, therefore load
requirement does not increases and better metal flow is also
obtained because of elimination of loss in temperature of the
forging stock.
Close tolerance in dimension is obtained which results in less
material wastage i.e. less machining required.
Number of preform required are reduced. Conventional forging
requires several preform dies to get the shape of the forging
stock approximately equal to the shape of the product before
final blow, but in isothermal forging, thermal gradients are not
present so material can be deformed easily, hence eliminating
use of preform dies.
Slow acting(slow speed) equipment i.e. hydraulic press can be
used because continuous heating of die reduces chilling effect. In
conventional forging, continuous contact of dies results in
temperature fall of workpiece and thus increasing the load
required to deform the stock, but in case of isothermal forging,
die chilling does not occurs, so hydraulic press can also be used in
isothermal forging.
Here lubrication plays an important role because of
precision requirement in forging.
The lubricant or coating system acts as a parting agent for
the easy removal of the forging from the dies.
Lubricant protects the forging surface in order to maintain
surface finish of the forgings.
For the die temperatures to 6500 C (12000 F), graphite
lubricants are acceptable, but for higher die temperatures,
glass frits with proper additives or boron nitride coatings
find wider use.
Die Materials :
Generally die materials used for isothermal forging are :

Ni base super alloy. Ex- Alloy 100,B -1900, Astroloy, NX-188.
Mo base super alloy. Ex- TZM.
TZM is the most practical material for isothermal forging of
Ni base alloys.
TZM as die material requires vacuum or inert gas
atmosphere because, Molybdenum alloys oxidizes severely
at temperature greater than 4250 C.
Alloy 100 and Astroloy are best suited or α-β titanium
Most of the dies are manufactured by EDM process using a
precision machined graphite electrode.
Advantages :
Die chilling effect is eliminated.
Deformation resistance of material is greatly reduced. Presence
of lubrication between dies and workpiece and maintaining the
temperature of dies helps in reducing deformation resistance.
Since in this process, extra features on workpiece, such as draft,
fillet, radii are not required, so weight of the input material is
also reduced and machining cost is also reduced.
Improves the degree of uniformity, i.e. uniform microstructure is
obtained throughout the workpiece, because of elimination of
the problem of thermal gradients.
Process can be used to form complex parts and thin sections.
Materials having narrow forging temperature range (Ex.-
Alloy100) can also be deformed because problem of
temperature fall in workpiece is eliminated, so forging
temperature range of workpiece is maintained throughout the
forging cycle.
Disadvantages :

Requires expensive die materials.

Requires uniform and controllable die heating system.
Requires an inert atmosphere or vacuum around the dies to
avoid oxidation process when die material is Mo base alloy.
Applications :
Automobile industry.
Aircrafts industry.
Marine applications.
Sports equipment.
Medical applications such as medical implants for dental,
kidney valves etc.