New Press Expands Capabilities of Scot Forge

The two-column unit, rated at 5,500 tons, combined with the use of simulation software, enables Scot Forge to produce larger open-die forgings in close-to-net shapes, from of a wider variety of ferrous and nonferrous alloys.

For years, Scot Forge has been a “one-stop shop” for small through large open-die forgings. Now, with the addition of a two-column, custom-built open-die hydraulic press, the company can produce carbon and alloy forgings in more diverse part configurations, in sizes up to 80,000 lb. New types of products that can be produced include parts with hub projections, flanges, and webbing.

Using this new press, Scot Forge also can produce heavier and more intricate forgings than it could previously, from materials with higher deformation properties, such as stainless, titanium, aluminum, and nickel. In addition, reverse extrusion processes available with the new unit make it possible to produce hollow parts with thinner walls and closed-end cylinders.

Equipped with an 11,000-hp hydraulic system, the new press is rated at 5,500 tons. Its forging ram weighs 200,000 lb, and it can cycle at more than 200 strokes per minute. A 10-bolster die train is provided for efficient tool changes. Aided by new computer modeling software and the press’s large “forging window,” Scot Forge has also increased its ability to forge close-to-net-shape parts, saving customers material and machining costs. The new software provides accurate forging simulations, resulting in optimal forging process plans and precise tool design, while the large “forging window,” which measures 14315 ft, allows larger tooling to be used.

The press was designed and built by the company. It joins six other open-die presses, six hammers, and four ring mills, making it possible for Scot to offer customers a wide range of part shapes, including bars, blanks, rings, hubs, cylinders, hollows, torch cut/contoured parts, and spindles.

Company background

Scot Forge traces its origin to 1893 when it began as a small hammer shop in Chicago. Today, the company operates in over 1 million square feet of manufacturing space in five plants, shipping more than 200 million pounds of forgings a year. Scot Forge serves a variety of capital equipment markets, including builders of heavy construction equipment, mining equipment manufacturers, oil- and gas-field suppliers, power-generation and transmission equipment makers, shipbuilders, machine tool producers, and defense contractors, among others

The headquarters is in Spring Grove, IL, where the new press is located.By using it and other equipment, the company has the ability to forge parts up to 80,000 lb and produce seamless rolled-rings to 240 in. outside diameter.

Scot Forge has another plant in Franklin Park, IL, where it forges blanks, rings, and single or double hubs up to 3,000 lb. A third operation in Clinton, WI, has the capability to produce forged parts up to 50,000 lb.

In addition, Scot Forge is involved in two joint ventures: Ringmasters and North American Forgemasters. Ringmasters, in Wayne, MI, is a joint venture with Frisa Forjados, a Mexican rolled-ring specialist (see Forging, Fall 1998, for details). North American Forgemasters (NAF) is an open-die forging shop operated jointly with Ellwood City Forge in Ellwood City, PA. This plant sources ingots from Ellwood Quality Steels in the hot state to minimize the cost of reheating before cogging to desired dimensions.

Secondary processing operations available include saw cutting, rough machining, deep-hole boring, heat treating, contour torch cutting, and Level 3 destructive and nondestructive testing.

A team effort

Scot Forge engineers began designing the new press in June 2004. Ground was broken for the foundation and a 65,000-ft2 addition in October 2004, and less than year later the press was installed and operating.

“We’re 100% employee-owned,” Sharon Haverstock, executive vice president, points out. “We think of that is as a major competitive advantage, because every person in this company wants the company to do well. We all make sure that we’re communicating with our customers, listening to what they are saying.”

And that is how the specifications for the press came about. “It was our customers telling us what they wanted and needed,” Haverstock says, adding that the press was built for a couple of reasons.

“Our NAF 4,500 ton press had a three-month planned shutdown scheduled for 2004, to replace the foundation. But, we kept postponing it as we were so busy, and there was no backup capacity for the size range it was capable of handling.” “Also, we have been doing more and more work in the specialty metals categories, such as nickel alloys, titanium, aluminum, and copper. These metals need a lot more tonnage to forge parts,” she observes.

“They’re also very expensive materials, so we’ve developed loose tooling to make parts that are closer to net shape. Therefore, we can start with less material than would normally be needed. With the expense of these materials, it makes a huge difference in the final cost. A near-net shape also means less machining for the customer.”

“We’ll do one or two jobs for customers like this and suddenly the light bulb goes on and they think of other parts that could be done in the same way. So, our business has grown in this area. As a result, we really wanted to do more of this work here at Spring Grove.”

The design work for this particular press started in June 2004. “A starting point was the drawings from the NAF press, which we designed and built from scratch, also,” Haverstock recalls.

“In brainstorming what we wanted, we got input from our forging crews. And we also talked extensively with our customers about what they wanted us to be able to do.”

Building a press this size cannot be accomplished independently, so Scot Forge worked with several other companies, “including some of the customers we sell forgings to. It’s nice to have a reciprocal relationship with friends,” Haverstock says.

Smooth startup

As noted, the press produced its first forging in August 2005. “This was the smoothest start-up in our history,” Haverstock states. “It is the seventh press we have installed and started up.”

“We really believe that it was because we incorporated input from all our forging crews. That combined with our engineering department’s knowledge and creativity led to a design and layout that were exactly what we wanted.”

Last October, Scot Forge held an open house for employees, their families, and the representatives of companies who provided parts and services to the project. “We had over 500 people come through here on a Saturday to see the new press operate,” Haverstock recalls. “It was very exciting.”

The press startup took place just as the NAF press was being shut down for its large-scale maintenance project. “By having the new press go into operation while the NAF press was shut down, we were able, almost seamlessly, to continue producing for our customers,” Haverstock says.

Near-net-shape simulation

Scot Forge recently acquired the Transvalor Forge simulation package. It has proved that it can accurately simulate the forging process so that optimal near-net-shape forging can be planned and tooling designed. The simulation approach replaces the need to conduct shop-floor trials with new tooling, and then possibly having to rework that tooling.

“We are working with some specific customers to design new parts, especially with the specialty metals,” Haverstock states. “We see near-net-shape open-die forging as a very good growth area for us.”

SCOTFORGE.COM IS FEATURE-RICH

A “hot link” to a page with details on the new press at Scot Forge is prominently featured on the home page of the company’s feature-rich website website. That’s just one example of the information the company provides about itself via this medium.

According to Sharon Haverstock, executive vice president, “Our website is designed for a number of different users. It is for current customers and prospects who want to be able take a look at our company newsletters, press releases, etc. And, also for people who don’t know about Scot Forge and somehow find us through other means.”

“We want the navigation to be as simple as possible and have as few clicks as needed to be able to get to the information needed,” she states. “That’s why there are many menu choices right on the home page.

“When one of our account managers is talking to a client on the telephone, they can direct the person to our website and then guide them through the links to the page with the information they need. During this process, they’re able to clarify or answer further any of the client’s questions, right on the phone.”

“We have a lot of literature available on our website. Industry specific sheets, for example, include mining, construction, offshore drilling, gear manufacturing, and many others. We can give people information they’re interested in and they can download and print it as a PDF. Or they can request the literature and we’ll mail it to them.”

Scot Forge has provided numerous videos showing its equipment in action, including hammers, presses, ring mills, and rolling/planishing.

“We often have marketing interns working at Scot Forge during the summer,” Haverstock says. “One of their assignments is to review our website and offer suggestions. Many of their ideas have been incorporated into the website, and many more will be intended in the future.”

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