Abstract The traditional ultrasonic apparatus cannot be operated at high temperature, explaining why the effect of ultrasonic-vibration on high temperature metal forming has seldom been addressed in literature. This study establishes an ultrasonic-vibration hot upsetting system. A cooling mechanism is used to solve the problem of high temperature. The effects of temperature and strain rate during ultrasonic-vibration on the upsetting of aluminum alloy were explored using this new system. Experimental results indicate that ultrasonic-vibration can considerably reduces the compressive forces during hot upsetting. The reducing effect on compressive forces decreases while the temperature increases. The strain rate does not significantly affect the reducing effect on compressive forces.