Forging is a process of shaping and conditioning metal by pressing, pounding, or squeezing it, with or without heat. In general, forge shop workers set up and operate equipment in which hot metal that is to be shaped into something useful is held in place on a die or metal form. A second die is then dropped or forced against the hot metal, pressing it into the desired shape. The Forging Industry Association reports that approximately 45,000 people are employed in the industry in the United States and Canada.
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Forging machine setters, operators, and tenders-metal and plastic earned average annual salaries of $38,900 in May 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Salaries ranged from $25,100 to $60,310 or more. First-line supervisors of production and operating workers earned median annual salaries of $60,420.
Overtime work is common in forge shops, for which workers receive time an...
Historically, forge shops were noisy, hot, dirty, and presented more hazards than most manufacturing plants. However, many shops have installed equipment that has minimized the discomfort and dangers associated with forging. Heat deflectors and ventilating fans reduce heat and smoke. Improved machinery and shop practices help cut down the noise and vibration from hammers. Workers are given safe...
Forging is a small industry. Since the 1980s, employment in forge shops has declined, and this decline is expected to continue through 2028, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Because U.S. forge shops have had to become more cost-efficient in order to compete with foreign companies and nonforged materials, they have been automating many of the production processes. So, even though the t...