Sheffield Forgemasters recently received an order, valued at about $17.4 million, to repeat its record-breaking castings for presses in China and Germany that will service the automotive and power-generation industries.

The U.K.-based company made engineering history in 2005 when it cast a forging press traverse for SMS Meer on behalf of Austrian company Böhler Schmiedetechnik. It weighed 340 tons and was the largest steel casting ever made in Europe. Sheffield equaled this feat in 2006 when it cast the foundation platen for the Korea Iron and Steel Company’s (KISCO) open-die forging press in South Korea on behalf of SMS Meer.

Casting of the new pieces will begin in early 2009 when foundry technicians start preparing the sand and resin mold to replicate the Böhler press traverse, which will form part of a 20-meter-high clutch-operated screw press used to manufacture aero-engine turbine blades. The other huge casting will make up the foundation platen or table for a 10,000-ton open-die press for Buderus, a German forging company.

According to Mick Holloway, senior sales manager for Forgemasters Engineering Ltd., “Both 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. 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 tons of molten steel for each casting, which then has to be poured in a continuous, controlled stream.”