Saturday, December 3, 2016

Closed-die forging press

I haven't seen anything on steel forging during the two years that I have been writing this blog, then I see two things in three days. (Kroop Forge was the first.)

I don't care for the order that they edited stuff in this video so I'll use a couple of screenshots from near the end of the video to show what the machine is making because that was the question in my mind as I watched most of the video.

Screenshot from video

Screenshot from video
Now that I'm aware of the term "closed die forging," a Google search finds lots of info. Examples are the differences between closed and open die forginga tutorial video and a history video. (I don't know why the history video doesn't start at the beginning. Fortunately, you can move the slider back to the beginning. It is long, if you want just an example: this takes you to forging a crankshaft. The jet turbine forging is also very interesting.) Another video shows a 10-ton drop hammer going through several stages to make a part.

It would be interesting how many of these companies still exist in America. These are the ones I noticed in Chicago:
drop forging tines. Just one die, but the forging is repositioned between some of the blows.

I copied Steve's work because I could not get a permanent link out of Facebook:
Steve OConner posted to World War II History
An early indication that advances were needed in forging technology came during World War II, when examination of captured German planes revealed large forgings of magnesium—forgings much larger than those possible under Allied manufacturing methods. These forgings from the German aircraft were made of magnesium, a material one-third lighter than aluminum, but a difficult substance to work with. Under the impact of heavy hammers, magnesium tended to rupture; it became apparent that the Germans (who suffered from a shortage of aluminum) made their magnesium forgings with presses larger than any previously thought practical.

The War Production Board took a strong interest in development of similar facilities in the United States. In 1944, it was determined that an 18,000-ton closed-die hydraulic press would be built in North Grafton, Massachusetts. The Mesta Machine Co. of Pittsburgh was contracted to build the press. Wyman-Gordon Company, which had specialized in forgings since its beginning in 1883, was selected to operate the plant.

Wyman-Gordon’s new plant, located about five miles away from the main offices in Worcester, was built on a tract of land known as the Bonny Brook Farm. The project was not completed when World War II ended, but work went on; the aircraft industry, it was decided, needed at least one heavy press to continue to carry out research into large forgings.
The Grafton plant was finished in 1946, built completely around the 18,000-ton press, at that time the largest press ever built in this country.

But in Germany, much larger presses had been in operation. This was discovered by a team of experts who went into Germany in the summer of 1945, virtually on the heels of the Allied advance. As had been suspected because of the forgings found in captured aircraft, the Germans had been operating enormous presses: one was a 33,000-ton press, then the largest in the world. This press was claimed by the Soviet Union. The United States was able to dismantle two other 16,500-ton presses and ship them to this country.

The Germans, incidentally, had not been able to complete the crowning achievement of their forging program—a 55,000-ton press. It was reported that the plans for that press fell into the hands of the Soviets.

In the U.S., two factors soon pushed heavy press production into new realms. First was the growing interest in supersonic aviation: The jet engine and airplane required large components of tremendous strength, but at a minimum of weight. And the rumblings of the Korean War increased interest in development and production of aircraft.The outgrowth of the need for larger, stronger aircraft parts was the Air Force Heavy Press Program. Air Force Lt. Gen. K. B. Wolfe, one of the team who had visited post-war Germany to inspect the presses, was the originator and prime motivator of the program. In 1951, Lt. Gen. K. B. Wolfe foresaw the possibilities. “The Heavy Press Program,” he said, “will revolutionize plane making.” 

It has.…/Commun…/History/Landmarks/5662.pdf

This photo is from an article on the Heavy Press Program and "The 50."

John Abbott posted
Mesta 50K
[Please access the "posted" link for long comments by Steve OConner.]

Library of Congress
An Atlantic 2012 article about Alcoa's 50,000-ton forging press.
John Abbott posted
Mark Beam Alcoa's Big 50, the largest of a series of three . The program is a great read
Morgan Godbold That's not Alcoa's, I have worked on that press it's Wyman Gordon's
Morgan Godbold I think they are the only 2 50ks in the united states.
Morgan Godbold I have actually repaired that big beast twice. It use to be a government owned plant. That bad boy has pressed everything from Blackbird parts to parts for the space shuttle.
Morgan Godbold commented on the above posting
Morgan Godbold commented on the above posting

Dane Rubsam commented on a post
Here's the 50k ton press here in Cleveland at Alcoa.
David Richards: Dane I worked on that monster several times,,,,we took that press from Germany,,,WWII,,,,,it’s got a twin,,,, supposed to be still in Germany.
Dane Rübsam: Looks like after the rebuild about 10 years ago. I was involved a little with that project. Know the Millwrights that did that job with Norris Bros.
John Abbott posted
Paul Fisher That's how it was where I worked. It shook dishes of the shelves 3 streets over. It had a 21 foot long opening. I think the stroke was only about 12 inches or so though.
Jim Reynolds I work for Williams White and Company.... They've been making presses since 1856
[Additional comments by Paul indicated the press did a part almost every second and the bearings would get hot if they did not have constant flow og grease.]
John Abbott posted
Tom Berry Making car fenders. Nice.
I think the style of cars that used those fenders were back in the 1930s. I was wondering how I would find a picture of one of those cars when about an hour later I came across this photo.

The Hot Rod Barn posted
Does your muscle car or classic need some modernized upgrades or a Pro-Touring conversion? Give us a call for LS Swaps, Fuel Injection, A/C. Located in Joliet, IL.
John Abbott posted
Chris Moore It must have been on an overhead line shaft at one point. Looks like it had been converted to a electric motor for power at some point. Small motor, must have had a decent speed reduction to keep that beast fed.
John Abbott posted
Clearing Press
[I'm assuming this is closed die because, judging from the size of that gear, it is designed to create a lot of tons of pressure on the steel.]
John Abbott posted
[Note this press is belt driven. It looks like his is taking shapes that are a couple of inches deep and stretching them out to be about six inches deep. This also illustrates why "pick and place" was the first task that robots were developed for.]
John Abbott posted
[At first I thought this was converted from a line-shaft drive but putting a big motor up on a beam. But then I saw the electric motor on top of the press that drives a vertical shaft down the front of the press. Was that an improvement that was added later? I wonder what it controls.]
Bob Gaston commented on the above posting
There are splices on endless belts, just no lacing.
[Endless belts are stronger.]
Randall James Marquis posted
Ernie Higgins Now this is a real press. Just imagine how many tons of pressure it is capable of.Les Collum Love the mind of people who can dream of machines like this and make it work.[Just two guys can lift that much steel all day long?]
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You Tube comment: Chinese workers in life threatening danger while working INSIDE a hydraulic stamping press. With no EPA, OSHA or lawyers in China, the U.S. is at an unfair disadvantage.
[Note that they are not even wearing safety hats! In America, one is not only outside of the press, I believe they have to put their hands on bars before the machine will cycle to ensure their hands are away from the press.]

1 comment:

  1. A forge press is a process that uses a vertical ram to apply gradual controlled pressure to a die holding a workpiece. The process is similar to drop forging but uses slow pressure instead of a series of blows.