Anhui Anhuang Machinery Co. Ltd. placed an order with SMS group for a fully automatic closed-die forging line for pistons. The 2,500-ton line consists of a fully automatic closed-die forging press and an induction heating system from SMS Elotherm for heating the forging blanks. Anhui Anhuang will be one of the first automotive suppliers in China that is capable of manufacturing pistons for cars and trucks in a fully automated process. Commissioning is scheduled for the second quarter of 2022.

The induction heating system has a capacity of 800 kW, which enables the forging blanks to be heated to a temperature of 1220°C. With a throughput of around 2 tons per hour and a cycle time of 2.2 seconds, the modular heating system works in perfect harmony with the SMS forging line. The material feed system and the fully automatic discharge unit are an integral part of the plant concept and enable forging right up to the last part under production conditions within the specified cycle. The 25-MN closed-die forging press is equipped with an automatic walking beam, a die-spraying unit and a die holder with quick-change system. Important features include the electro-hydraulic clutch-brake system and the programmable single ejectors for each forging operation.

The cost efficiency of the whole process is significantly improved as the forging line is fully automated. Car pistons can be forged in a cycle time of less than 4 seconds. The flashless precision forging process also saves material and energy costs during production. Only the exact amount of material required to forge a piston without cutting scrap is heated and used, and other machining steps can be reduced thanks to the high dimensional accuracy of the forged parts. An integrated process control system permanently monitors the entire line and is able to evaluate the production data saved if necessary.