Pressing Ahead at Fox Valley Forge

Pressing Ahead at Fox Valley Forge

Fox Valley Forge adds to its product capabilities with a 3,000-ton hydraulic machine.

Pressing Ahead

Fox Valley Forge in Aurora, IL, is preparing to start up a new press line this spring, extending the company’s recent foray into that niche of the industry. Though primarily an upset forger, Fox Valley Forge has been operating a 2,500-ton mechanical press since 2003.

In business since 1948, Fox Valley Forge is an affiliate of Cleveland Hardware & Forging Co. (as is still another specialty forger, Wisconsin’s Green Bay Drop Forge.) Fox Valley Forge produces upset forgings ranging from 2 to 450 lb., and typical products include pinions, gears, flanged axles (2- to 14-in. diameter flanges), gears, blank bolts, CV spindles, eccentric shafts, and spools.

The plant’s 11 upset forging machines range in size from 1.5 to 7.5 in., handling carbon, alloy/microalloy, and stainless steels in bars from 0.5 to 5.5 in. diameter.

In addition to upset forging, Fox Valley Forge and its affiliates offer hammer forging, stamping, saw cutting, bar coding, blast cleaning, heat treating, machining, and packaging. Its customers range across numerous industrial markets: agricultural machinery builders, mechanical power system manufacturers, ordnance suppliers, automotive companies, mining equipment builders, pump and compressors manufacturers, construction equipment suppliers, and manufacturers of off-highway vehicles, trucks and buses, and material handling and oil-field equipment.

In 2003,operations process manager Richard Rooker explains, Fox Valley Forge added the 2,500-ton mechanical press in an effort to supply near-net shapes to its existing customers, and to develop capabilities for new accounts. That press had been designed and built by Clearing and remanufactured by Erie Press Systems.

Erie Press Systems
Erie Press Systems, and a variety of other contractors and suppliers, are working to start up a new hydraulic press in the coming weeks at Fox Valley Forge in Illinois.

The “new” hydraulic press was built by Bliss Machine, and like the mechanical press it’s been remanufactured by Erie Press Systems. According to Rooker, the installation and start-up is underway now. Production testing will begin early in the spring.

Steel billets for the new press will be prepared by an in-line Nishijimax CNC saw system supplied by Pat Mooney Inc., then heated in an induction unit manufactured by Inter-Power Corp.

Billet feeding and part extraction will be handled by two robots built by ABB , with the automation programs and integration supplied by Rimrock Corp.

In addition to the process equipment, the installation project involved rigging services by Milwaukee-based Doral Corp., with Platt Electric Inc. providing electrical engineering.

When asked, Rooker says the new hydraulic press will provide back-up capability for the mechanical press and the customers who rely on products from it, and it will allow Fox Valley Forge to grow what he calls “the press facet of the business.” More detailed market strategies for the near-net forgings it produces may be expected after the start-up.

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