In the simplest example of impression die forging, two dies are brought together and the workpiece undergoes plastic deformation until its enlarged sides touch the side walls of the die. Then, a small amount of material begins to flow outside the die impression forming flash that is gradually thinned. The flash cools rapidly and presents increased resistance to deformation and helps build up pressure inside the bulk of the workpiece that aids material flow into unfilled impressions.
Fundamentally, impression die forgings produced on horizontal forging machines (upsetters) are similar to those produced by hammers or presses. Each is the result of forcing metal into cavities in dies which separate at parting lines.
The impression in the ram-operated "heading tool" is the equivalent of a hammer or press top die. The "grip dies" contain the impressions corresponding to the hammer or press bottom die. Grip dies consist of a stationary die and a moving die which, when closed, act to grip the stock and hold it in position for forging. After each workstroke of the machine, these dies permit the transfer of stock from one cavity to another in the multiple-impression dies.