Hand Forging

As an experienced leader servicing the Converting Industries for 50 years, BEST offers both Hand Forged Steel Cutting Dies and Pre-hardened steel Cutting Dies cut from a solid block. Although both are viable options, Hand Forged Steel Dies offer many distinct advantages when compared to other processes. The following information details the many benefits when using hand forged quality steel.
BEST uses steel that is much harder and tougher than other suppliers. BEST Dies last on average twice as long before sharpening is required, as compared to the Dies made using pre-hardened steel and standard flat steel used by other suppliers of Hand Forged Cutting Dies. Through hardened up to 56 Rockwell, BEST Dies are designed for high volume cutting in demanding applications. Pre-hardened steel Cutting Dies that we have inspected from other suppliers are typically 51-52 Rockwell. Steel strength refers to compressive strength (compressing without crushing), tensile strength (pulling without breaking) and shear strength or impact toughness (the ability to avoid breaking allowing two pieces to slide past one another). Anything that can be made of metal can generally be made stronger and more weight-conscious by forged steel.

Hand Forged Cutting Dies offer a high degree of reliability and tolerance capabilities and offer uniformity of composition and structure. Forged steel dies also have minimum variation in machining and mechanical properties. BEST hand forged dies are stronger and more reliable than machined or cast parts, mainly due to the fact that the grain flow of the steel is altered, conforming to the part’s shape. As a result, the grain is continuous throughout the part, giving rise to a piece with improved strength characteristics. Grain flow strengthening in steel forgings is analogous to the cross grain strength of wood. Hand forged steel makes it possible to cut more difficult designs that accommodate high loads and stresses. Forgings are free from internal gas pockets, voids, or cooling defects that can cause unexpected fatigue or impact load failure. Hand Forged Steel is clearly the best option when quality cannot be compromised.

The amount of carbon used in the mixture determines the final strength of a piece of wrought or forged steel. Forged steel tends to be more flexible than wrought steel in the final product regardless of the blend, which can also contribute to making it less susceptible to breakage. Steel, especially when heated to forging temperature, is ductile and malleable; able to be shaped by applying pressure. With proper processing methods, Hand Forging allows a billet of steel to be shaped permanently without cracking, due to its plasticity. Forged steel is more durable in certain applications because, although it begins life as a casting as well, it is forged using hammers that force the atoms and molecules of the steel into alignment as they hit it. Forged steel is harder and less likely to crack when struck. Striking tools like swords and axes are often made of forged steel because they are used to hit things, and the brittle nature of a cast steel would lead them to breaking rapidly if they were not forged. Relating this to the Converting Industries, BEST Forged Cutting Dies do not chip out like those made using other processes or hand forging with inferior steel.

All Forged Cutting Dies are tempered in our in-house Salt Bath to a depth of 20-25mm (approximately 1/3 of total height). The competition tempers their Cutting Dies to a depth of typically 8-10mm, using an inferior oil quenching process. This added depth allows BEST Dies to be sharpened approximately twice as many times as Dies made by other suppliers and the salt quenching causes less distortion and produces more uniform and consistent hardness. More detailed information on the benefits of our in-house Salt Bath can be found in the Capabilities section of our webpage.