The FutureForge program and model at the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) encompasses collaboration across academia, research and technology institutes and industrial organization. This second of three articles discusses the future of forging as a part of the cyclical economy in which, ideally, nothing goes to waste.
In the manufacturing world, many people use technology readiness as a means of describing the journey within the valley of death, the gap between proof of concept and first use in the operational environment.
Germany’s Kaiser Aluminium-Umformtechnik GmbH, a manufacturer of forged-aluminum components for small- and medium-sized products, successfully started up its first Schuler servo screw press. The system will be primarily used to produce complex chassis components for the automotive industry. The investment further expands Kaiser Aluminium-Umformtechnik’s market position as a competent partner for forged parts and components in the aluminum sector.
France’s Transvalor, a manufacturing process-modeling software developer, joined the University of Strathclyde’s (Scotland) Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) as a tier-one partner. The first partner to join the AFRC in support of its soon-to-be-opened FutureForge facility, Transvalor will provide process simulation expertise and deep insight into material behavior resulting from manufacturing processes. The FutureForge facility will help manufacturing companies of all sizes become more competitive by exploring less energy-intensive methods of forging. It will also use digital technologies to accelerate the development of forged products.
SMS group put a 31.5/34-MN open-die forging press into operation at Gustav Grimm Edelstahlwerk (GGE), a forge based in Remscheid, Germany. GGE specializes in the manufacture of high-alloy forgings. Because of the built-in hydraulic and control systems, GGE’s new high-speed forging press achieves time savings of about 10% compared to the old press. For the first time, SMS group has installed an additively manufactured machine component in an open-die forging press. The 3D-printed hydraulic manifold block is lighter, more compact and has a flow-optimized design. Designed by SMS group and made of an aluminum alloy, it weighs just one-tenth of the conventional steel component. The manifold block is used to distribute hydraulic oil for operating and venting the cylinders.
According to a report, Spain’s Alcorta Forging Group will open its first U.S. manufacturing operations and regional headquarters in Marysville, Ohio. The 100-year-old company, which develops and manufactures automotive components, will invest $15 million and create 50 new jobs. The 150,000-square-foot forging and manufacturing facility will be completed in three phases and include state-of-the-art machinery and equipment. Under the current uncertain circumstances, Alcorta will move forward with its pre-construction activities while remaining on hold for the construction launch.
The Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) at Scotland’s University of Strathclyde is trying to transform the global forging supply chain. AFRC’s FutureForge program, scheduled to launch later this year, will offer a virtual forging experience coupled with a versatile forge shop to develop production processes and solve industry challenges.
For millennia, a sword was a warrior’s weapon of choice. Forged by a blacksmith heating metal or a combination of metals and working it into shape, the best swords for winning battles were not the sharpest or the longest, they were the strongest, most hard-wearing ones.
Italy’s Danieli Group (Danieli Breda) recently commissioned a new integrated forging complex at the Zlatoust Metallurgical Plant (ZMZ) in Chelyabinsk region, Russia. The plant consists of a 25-MN open-die forging press and two integrated manipulators operating in conjunction with Danieli’s proprietary DanForge automation system. The open-die press has 80-spm frequency, a daylight span of nearly 11.5 feet, automatic top-die clamping and an automatic tool-changing device. The manipulators can lift ingots weighing 20 tons with a load moment of 60 t/m.
Forging equipment is built to last for decades, and much of it does. When the time comes to consider investing in upgrading and updating old equipment, however, there are choices to make concerning who should do the rebuild. Selecting an OEM for a repair or rebuild gives an operator the confidence that the work will be based on the specifications unique to the machine backed by the people that originally built it.
April 7, 2020
In an era where equipment is routinely rendered obsolete at an ever-increasing pace, forging equipment stands alone as machines built to work on a daily basis for decades – if not the better part of a century.
Independent Forgings and Alloys Ltd. (IFA) acquired Doncasters Precision Forge from the Doncasters Group and rebranded it as IFA Precision Forge. IFA manufactures high-integrity, open-die forged components for OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers within the aerospace, nuclear, power-generation and marine industries. The deal increased IFA’s site size threefold to 680,000 square feet and expanded its capabilities.