Unlike drop forging, which uses a series of blows, forging presses apply slow pressure to the workpiece. This results in uniform plastic deformation, or the shaping of the workpiece without breaking it.

There are two types of forging press dies: open and closed. Open-die forging dies do not completely enclose the workpiece, while closed-die forging dies, also known as impression-die forging dies, do.

Forging presses can use hydraulic or mechanical force to apply pressure. Mechanical forging presses use a flywheel to store energy, which is then used to move a ram attached to a crank mechanism. These presses can apply up to 12,000 tons of pressure.

Hydraulic forging presses, on the other hand, use a high-pressure fluid to create force. Large hydraulic forging presses can apply up to 75,000 tons of pressure.