China’s AVIC Shaanxi Hongyuan Aviation Forging Co. Ltd. put what it says is the world's largest clutch-operated screw press into operation at its site in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province. The SPKA-type clutch-operated screw press, which was supplied by SMS group, has a screw diameter of 1,330 millimeters (52 inches), a blow force of 365 MN, a gross power of 27,000 kJ and a weight of 2,900 tons. It offers flexibility when it comes to optimizing the forging process and requires far less stroke to achieve the preset ram speed than a conventional slipping-wheel screw press. This type of press is particularly suited for high-energy forging typically used for turbine blades or structural aircraft components.
Nucor Corp. selected SMS group for the supply of a single-strand continuous caster for ultra-wide and thick slabs. Designed for an annual capacity of 1.45 million tons, it will be a core element of the production chain of Nucor’s new plate mill in Brandenburg, Ky. The companies say the casting machine will be one of the largest of its kind worldwide. The caster will produce slabs 8-12 inches (200-305 mm) thick up to 124 inches (3,150 mm) wide. Slab lengths will vary from 104 to 600 inches (2,642 to 15,240 mm).
Ampco-Pittsburgh Corp. completed the sale of its Canadian specialty steel subsidiary, ASW Steel Inc. (ASW), to Valbruna Canada Ltd., a subsidiary of Acciaierie Valbruna S.p.A., of Vicenza, Italy. With production facilities in Fort Wayne, Ind., and in Italy, Valbruna produces stainless steels, nickel alloys and titanium long products. It has an annual output of approximately 200,000 tons of specialty steels.
American Axle & Manufacturing, a leader in the design, engineering and manufacturing of automotive driveline systems and components, opened a new 15,600-square-meter manufacturing facility in the industrial area of Viladecans, Spain, just outside Barcelona. The facility will support demand and growth from new and current European customers, including Renault, BMW, Daimler, Porsche, Audi and Ford. AAM Barcelona produces a complete range of vibration control and damper products, including PV-bonded dampers, press-in compression dampers, isolation pulleys, in-mold bonded dampers and damped gears. It consolidates two smaller facilities in nearby Gavà and will employ nearly 300 associates at full capacity.
Siemens and Materials Solutions opened a highly advanced metal AM innovation center in Orlando, Fla. The 17,000-square-foot facility offers a pairing of design with manufacturing, implementing robotics, rapid prototyping, scanning, digital tools and on-site metal AM. Materials Solutions – a Siemens Business – uses selective laser melting (SLM) technology for the manufacture of high-performance metal parts, with a focus on high-temperature superalloys. The Siemens innovation center will focus on rapid problem solving supporting the company’s energy businesses, while Materials Solutions will offer additive services to support the innovation center and external customers.
Toyota is investing $391 million at its San Antonio truck assembly plant in an effort to better serve customers. The announcement comes as part of a broader commitment from Toyota to invest $13 billion in its U.S. operations over five years through 2021. The investment will make the plant more competitive in the long-term and more efficient while remaining flexible with multi-vehicle production capabilities by introducing various advanced manufacturing technologies. Separately, Aisin AW, a supplier to Toyota Texas and other automakers, will invest $400 million and bring 900 new jobs to a future facility in nearby Cibolo, Texas.
United States Steel Corp. announced a joint-venture partnership agreement under which it has taken the first step toward acquiring Big River Steel through the purchase of a 49.9% ownership interest for approximately $700 million in cash, with a call option to acquire the remaining 50.1% within the next four years. U.S. Steel has committed financing to execute the transaction. Big River Steel operates an LEED-certified, Flex Mill in northeast Arkansas that is, according to the company, the most advanced EAF-based flat-rolled mill in North America. Big River Steel produces advanced automotive steels and electrical steels and provides services to customers in the automotive, energy, construction and agricultural industries. The company’s recently announced Phase II-A expansion is expected to double the mill’s hot-rolled steel production capacity to 3.3 million tons annually.
American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. (AAM) entered into a definitive agreement to sell its U.S. iron casting operations (Grede) to funds managed by Gamut Capital Management for $245 million. Across 10 manufacturing facilities, Grede develops, manufactures, assembles and supplies ductile, gray and specialty iron castings and machined components for the automotive, commercial vehicle and industrial markets. AAM will retain its El Carmen, Mexico, iron casting operations.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced that Bharat Forge America Inc. will build an aluminum forging plant to manufacture automobile components in Lee County, N.C. The $127.3 million investment will create 304 jobs. The new facility will be part of a larger manufacturing center that will create as many as 460 jobs. According to Bharat Forge, the investment will help it create a strong global manufacturing footprint as part of its aluminum strategy.
Western Superconducting Technologies Co. Ltd. (WST) successfully put a 63-/80-MN two-column open-die forging press into service. Supplied by SMS group, the high-speed push-down press has a maximum press force of 63 MN and an upsetting force of 80 MN. Due to the advanced hydraulic and control systems installed, the press is capable of forging highly demanding and temperature-sensitive materials such as titanium and titanium alloys with extreme precision.
Check out the October 2019 issue of FORGE, featuring our cover story that showcases "2019 Buyers Guide. Other features include "Why Forgers Should Invest in Automation", "Flat Tool Cross-Wedge Rolling", and much more.