Today’s rapidly changing economic climate has affected the forging community unequally, depending on which economic sectors companies serve. A post-crisis rebound strategy may help you decide how to cope with a reopening economy. Here are some matters to consider, in Q&A format, as your operation moves into the next economic phase.
August 12, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the forging landscape –seemingly overnight. With many in the industry initially expecting the impact to last a matter of weeks, most forgers are now preparing for a much longer recovery period that will likely last into early 2021.
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.
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.
For decades, automotive component makers have relied on hot forging presses and shearing systems to transform metal bars into high-quality parts such as drive shafts, gear wheels and bearing rings, to name but a few.
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.