Sheffield Forgemasters is to repeat engineering history by creating two 340 tonne castings for which will be used in some of the world’s largest mechanical forging presses.
Forgemasters made engineering history in 2005 with the casting of a forging press traverse for SMS Meer, on behalf of Austrian company Böhler Schmiedetechnik GmbH & Co. This weighed 340 tonnes and was the largest steel casting made in Europe.
The company then went on to equal this feat in 2006 when it cast the foundation platen for the Korea Iron and Steel Company (KISCO) open-die forging press in South Korea, also weighing in at 340 tonnes, and on behalf of SMS Meer.
Forgemasters is now set to repeat both of these castings, with a combined value of almost £10m, and destined for presses in China and Germany to service the automotive and power generation industries.
Mick Holloway, senior sales manager for Forgemasters Engineering Ltd, said: “Both of these orders were taken on the strength of Forgemasters expertise in making large-scale castings. We have tried and tested the technology to get these products right as proven with the Böhler and KISCO presses.
“To cast components on this scale takes an enormous amount of preparation, much of which has already been done in creating the patterns for both original castings. This reduces the lead-in time for the projects, but we still need to prepare more than 550 tonnes of molten steel for each casting, which then has to be poured in a continuous, controlled stream.”
Forgemasters has signed a deal to provide the components for SMS Meer, as one of the only foundries in the world with the capability of taking on projects of this scale, and the only foundry with the operational capacity to fulfil the order.
Mr Holloway added: “Although there are other foundries across the world that can handle this size of casting process, there are few with our proven track record and even less with the capacity and assurances that Forgemasters can offer to complete such an order.”
Casting of the vast pieces is set to start early in 2009 when foundry technicians will begin preparing the sand and resin mould to replicate the Böhler press traverse, which will form part of a 20 metre high clutch operated screw-press located at Wuxi in the Jiangsu province of China, and will be used to manufacture aero engine turbine blades.
The other huge casting will make up the foundation platen or table for a 10,000 tonne open die press for German forgings company Buderus. Forgemasters will also supply additional forged and cast components to complete both orders.