France’s Obut has been producing steel balls weighing around 700 grams each for popular sport Pétanque since 1955. In an effort to improve production of boule balls at its headquarters in Saint-Bonnet-Le-Château, the company ordered a 1,300-ton forging press from Farina. The forging press replaces two lines with a press force of 600 and 800 tons respectively, which are becoming obsolete. The future line, which also includes a transfer and a furnace, will form a half shell every 2 seconds. The starting material for the boule balls, which have a diameter of just over 2.75 inches (7 cm), are steel rods cut into sections that a press first forms into discs and then into half shells. These are then welded together, machined and polished to a mirror finish.
According to Obut, the Farina press is the first ever in France to be equipped with the KERS kinetic energy recovery system. This enables the company to significantly reduce power consumption and increases the attractiveness of the workplace for operators thanks to the associated lower vibrations and noise emissions.
On Obut's website, visitors can choose between different models of boule balls made of stainless or carbon steel and mark them individually. Once the customer has clicked on "Order," the job goes straight into production.
A 1,300-ton Farina forging press (courtesy of Schuler)