Long Beach, Calif., is perhaps best known as the retirement home of the legendary cruise ship Queen Mary, which is permanently moored there and is currently an operating hotel and museum. But on Sept. 11-12, Long Beach hosted some of the forging industry’s best and brightest technical people, industry professionals, suppliers and educators at what was FIERF’s 32nd Technical Conference. This included a tour of Weber Metals, an extensive battery of technical presentations and hours of exhibit floor time.


Tour of Weber Metals

Although not a formal part of the technical program, interested attendees started their Tuesday morning touring Weber Metals, an OTTO FUCHS (OF) company, in nearby Paramount, Calif. In a well-organized and efficiently run tour, several bus groups of attendees were brought from the hotel to Weber’s plant site. The individual groups toured Weber Metals’ new plant addition, which was built to house the company’s new 60,000-ton hydraulic press – one of the world’s largest – built by SMS group.

At this writing, the press is undergoing its commissioning process and has not yet been turned over to Weber for commercial production, which will consist primarily of producing large aluminum and titanium forgings for aerospace applications. After a moment of silence commemorating the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, those who toured the facility got to see the press in action, when a heated cylindrical aluminum billet was easily flattened to a large, flat disc.

At the end of the plant tour, attendees were brought back to the hotel for a lunch in the tabletop exhibit room before the formal technical conference program began.


FIERF 32nd Technical Conference Program

Tuesday, Sept. 11

Afternoon, Joint Session ...............................................

  • Welcome/FIA & FIERF Activities – Rob Mayer, conference organizing committee chair; Jim Warren, FIA president and CEO; Karen Lewis, FIERF executive director
  • Big and Smart – The Future of Forgings for the Construction and Mining Equipment Industry – Matthew T. Kiser, PhD, Caterpillar Inc.
  • Electrification Disruption: How Not to Get Shocked, Jolted and Fried by the Coming Shift in Automotive – Paul Eichenberg, chief strategist
  • The Connected Enterprise – Accelerating High-Performance Operations –Alvin R. Hooper Jr., Rockwell Automation
  • Historic Heavy Forging Presses of the World – Jon Tirpak, Advanced Technology International
  • The Decision to Invest – Justin Owen, Weber Metals


Wednesday, Sept. 12

Morning, Track A ................................................................

  • Recent Developments in Sheet Steels from a Forging Perspective & Outlook – Chet Van Tyne, Professor Emeritus, Colorado School of Mines
  • Material Behavior Modeling in the Aerospace Industry
    S.L. (Lee) Semiatin, Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson
    Air Force Base
  • Material Modeling – Patrick Anderson, TimkenSteel
  • High-Strength, High-Toughness Microalloyed Steel Forgings Produced with Relaxed Forging Conditions and No Heat Treatment – Aaron E. Stein, graduate student, University of Pittsburgh
  • Laboratory Testing to Identify Permanent PVD Coatings to Minimize Lubricant Use – Kester D. Clarke, FIERF professor, Colorado School of Mines
  • Paradigm Shift for Aerospace Forging Industry Oversight – Brian Streich, Honeywell Aerospace, Materials Engineering


Morning, Track B ................................................................

  • Press Upgrade and Analysis of Surface Topography in Hot Compression – Dr. Joseph P. Domblesky, professor, Marquette University
  • Improving Temperature Uniformity in Forging Furnaces with Industry 4.0 Techniques – Alberto Cantu-Perez, Nutec Bickley
  • Evaluation of Intensive Quenching Hardening Process Immediately After Completion of Hot Forging Operations – Joseph A. Powell, IQ Technologies Inc.
  • ServoDirect Drive for Hydraulic Machinery – Mike Gill, Lasco Engineering Services LLC
  • Energy Saving: New Drive Concepts for Forging Presses – Uwe Konnerth, Schuler Pressen GmbH
  • PhotoGauge: A 3D Scanner in Your Pocket – Shankar Subramanian, PhotoGauge


Afternoon, Joint Session ...............................................

  • Focus on Mass Reduction and Power Density
    Jeffrey W. Nichols, AAM
  • Development of a Forging Process for High-Power-Density Hollow Shafts – Gracious Ngaile, professor, North Carolina State University
  • Magnesium-Alloy Forgings for Automotive Applications – Mary Wells, College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Guelph
  • Arconic Additive Manufacturing and Development of the AmpliforgeTM Process – Melanie Chastka, Arconic
  • Post-Sintering Forging for Improvement of Mechanical Properties of AM – Timothy Cyders, professor, Ohio University
  • Characterization of High Entropy Alloys for Welding Applications – Michael Wall, Material Science and Engineering, University of North Texas
  • Use of Direct Metal Deposition Additive Manufacturing Techniques for Forging Die Repair – Arshad Harooni, DM3D Technology LLC
  • Closing the Loop for Future Projects – Suzanne Tkach, Tkach Consulting


General Session

FIERF’s 32nd Technical Conference was opened by Howard “Rob” Mayer (The Queen City Forging Co.), who was this year’s conference organizing committee chairperson. After again observing a commemorative moment of silence of the date, Mayer welcomed the group of about 160 attendees and introduced FIA President and CEO Jim Warren, who discussed the state of FIA and reviewed the association’s activities, challenges and upcoming events. The program was then turned over to FIERF Executive Director Karen Lewis, who thanked everyone for attending and spoke of FIERF’s various ongoing technical research projects with partners from industry and academia.

The first industry speaker was Matthew Kiser of Caterpillar. He spoke of his company’s use of forgings in parts requiring good stress and fatigue performance, controlled grain flow, modeling sophistication and advanced process controls.

Paul Eichenberg of Paul Eichenberg Strategic Consulting spoke of the trend in automotive design toward increased electrification in passenger cars. According to Eichenberg, the forging market for powertrain components will be adversely affected as cars move toward electrification in the future and away from internal combustion engines.

The connected enterprise was the topic of discussion for Loren Shifley of Rockwell Automation. He talked about global trends that influence markets and products as we know them. One of these trends is the interconnectivity of devices and processes. Shifley mentioned that 84% of executives think the Internet of Things (IoT) will create new income streams for their operations. He also outlined how his company has benefited from its connectivity.

Justin Owen of Weber Metals gave a detailed presentation on how the decision was made to order their new 60,000-ton press from SMS group. This was a very orderly process that involved not only the decision to invest in the press but also where to locate it. This is the largest single investment in parent company OF’s history and was made to provide the capacity to produce medium-to-large forgings of aluminum and titanium to service the aerospace industry.

The last presentation in the opening general session was given by Jon Tirpak of Advanced Technology International (ATI) and former ASM International president. Tirpak was home-bound by the then-threatening hurricane Florence and had to give his presentation to the group by telephone connection. He gave a historical perspective on some of the world’s largest forging presses, when and why they were put into service, how they were coveted after global conflicts and (in some cases) where they are in service today.



Ajax Tocco Magnethermic Corp.; Warren, Ohio

American GFM Corp.; Chesapeake, Va.

Bosch Rexroth Corp.; Bethlehem, Pa.

Condat Corp.; Saline, Mich.

Ellwood Quality Steels; New Castle, Pa.

Forging Equipment Solutions; Medina, Ohio

Glama USA; Berea, Ohio

Lasco Engineering Services; Monroe, Mich.

Nutec Bickley; Mexico

Presstrade AG; Switzerland

QForm/Forge Technology Inc.; Woodstock, Ill.

Scientific Forming Technologies; Columbus, Ohio

SMS group; Pittsburgh, Pa.

Transvalor Americas Corp.; Chicago, Ill.

Uddeholm USA; Elgin, Ill.

Vibro/D LLC; Broadview, Ill.


Technical Sessions

On Wednesday morning, Sept. 12, the technical sessions were split into two concurrent tracks of six papers each. Track A’s predominant theme was research-and-development projects, while the theme of Track B was applied technology.

After a lunch on the exhibit floor, the remaining papers were presented in a single session through to the close of the conference.



Ellwood Quality Steels

Forging Equipment Solutions

Glama USA


Rexroth, A Bosch company

SMS group

Uddeholm, a voestalpine company

Weber Metals, an Otto Fuchs company


Meals and the Exhibit Floor

During the conference, meals were served on the show floor among the tabletop exhibits of the 16 companies at the conference. During the two-day event, three meals were served between technical sessions, offering ample opportunity for participants to engage, talk business, renew old acquaintances and make new ones.



1 industry publication covering the event

2 miles to the Queen Mary from the conference hotel

8 corporate conference sponsors

16 tabletop exhibitors

22 different speakers

About 160 people in attendance

60,000-ton capacity hydraulic press at Weber Metals