China Forging Industry: Moving Forward
From 2000 to 2011, the machinery manufacturing industry in China increased annually by at least 15%. For example, automobile production was 2.07 million in 2000, and it was 23.72 million in 2014, with automobile forgings amounting to 4.98 million tons in 2014. Both the owners and employees of forging companies benefited significantly during that golden decade.
The Chinese economy became weaker and weaker since 2012. However, it is widely anticipated that it will rebound in 2016. Forging companies are facing consecutive years of profit downturn and increasing labor costs, even in the midst of the roaring automobile forging sector.
Before 2011, forging companies devoted exclusive attention to enhancing output and were proud of being able to domestically produce a new forging that substituted for imported goods. Forgers are now more practical and realistic and are focusing on profit and cash flow because account receivables are really high and dangerous in the industrial chain.
The output of forgings in China amounted to about 10 million tons in 2013, including 6.4 million tons of closed-die forgings and 3.6 million tons of open-die forgings. Many companies own very advanced and complete forging lines and technologies with global competitiveness. Meanwhile, too many friction screw presses (>400 ton, more than 8,900 sets) and drop hammers (>650 sets) are still in operation. We are glad to see that new investment is focused mainly on high-level machinery and automation with higher efficiency and lower energy consumption.
In 2011, the Confederation of Chinese Metalforming Industry (CCMI) organized over 100 experts to make the “China Forging Industry Technology Roadmap,” which proposed the following: By 2020, the output of cold/warm precise forgings should reach at least 12% of closed-die forgings; the accuracy should reach to grade 7 or higher from the current grade 5; the unit energy consumption for producing each ton of forgings shall be reduced by 10% (compared with the unit energy consumption of 0.44 ton of standard coal equivalent per ton forging in 2011); material utilization shall rise 3-5%; manufacturing cost of each part shall drop 20%; and annual output per employee shall increase 30%. In 2011, the output was 65.64 kg per hour per forge operator.
In 2013, CCMI was finally able to publish a book series entitled “Forging Technologies” after three years of work. This series systematically summarizes forging theories and technologies of process and equipment.
China’s forging industry also has several unique technologies. These include roll forging front beams; producing camshafts and large bearing balls with cross-wedge rolling technology; and integrated forming technology for high-precision forgings.
In general, China’s forging industry is progressing on the way of providing complete solutions that integrate materials technology, forming technology and post-processing.
ChinaForge Fair, which will take place in Shanghai Sept. 16-19, will showcase more than 200 exhibitors with 40 presentations, and more than 4,000 forging companies will take part in the event. It is the best way to get to know China’s forging industry.
We hope to see you there.