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Sheffield Forgemasters Produces Massive Monoblock Castings

Jan. 8, 2010
Two complex steel castings for a forging press, hundreds of tons
England’s Sheffield Forgemasters Intl. Ltd., a producer of steel castings and forgings, reported recently that it has cast two large complex pieces for a new forging press. The components will be machined and shipped to China later this year. SFIL is the contractor to the press builder, SMS Meer GmbH. SMS Meer’s customer is China National Heavy Duty Truck Jinan Power Co. Ltd., which ordered two new forging presses in 2008. CNHTC is the former Jinan Automobile Works, one of China’s largest manufacturers of service vehicles. At that time SMS Meer said the size of the order would make it a “reference project” for its work in China. Mick Holloway, senior sales manager at SFIL, stated: "This order was taken on the strength of our expertise in making large-scale castings and the excellent relationship we have with SMS Meer.” Both lines will be fully automatic closed-die operations. The first — which will feature the SFIL castings — will be a 12,500-metric ton wedge press. The other forging press in the order will be an 8,000-metric ton eccentric press. The order also included robots for transporting material to the presses. Finished product capacity will range from 400,000 to 450,000 pieces per year. The 12,500-mt press will forge longitudinally oriented pieces, e.g., crankshafts and front axles. According to SMS, this line is designed to form such parts thanks to its high transverse rigidity and resistance to tilting, and to the extensive table load resulting from these characteristics. The first casting is for the press “frame crown,” a component that was conceived originally as three pieces. Sheffield Forgemasters and SMS Meer, arrived at a monoblock design measuring 248 X 177 X 138 in., weighing more than 282 tons. "To cast components of this complexity takes an enormous amount of preparation and innovation,” Holloway explained. “Producing a monoblock solution for a frame crown of this size is some feat and speaks volumes for the skill and ingenuity of our engineers.” The second casting is a 190-ton component for the press’s frame bed. "The sheer scale of the project dictated that SFIL was one of only a handful of companies across the world which had the capacity to produce these castings," according to Holloway.