|A reconditioned ring-rolling mill has expanded capacity for a range of products at IBC Nonferrous Products in Franklin, IN, including rings for electric motors, oil-and-gas heat exchanges, and critical components for marine and aerospace manufacturers.
Nonferrous Products Inc., a manufacturing division of IBC Advanced Alloys Corp. has a new ring-rolling operation underway. The manufacturer of copper and copper-alloy rods, plates, rings, tubes and discs installed a ring-rolling machine earlier this year, significantly increasing its production efficiencies and expanding its market presence. IBC Nonferrous’ customers are aerospace and defense suppliers, oil and gas equipment builders, and producers of electronics, plastic molds, oil and gas equipment, power generation systems, marine products, and welding equipment, all of who will benefit from IBC Nonferrous’ recent manufacturing upgrades.
The recent addition expands IBC Nonferrous’ product offering to include rings weighing up to 2,000 lb. and measuring up to 60 inches in diameter. IBC will be able to cater to a range of customers and applications according to the demand for specific alloys and component wall thickness.
IBC Nonferrous was founded in 1946, producing sand castings. Forging began with the addition of a hammer mill in 1972 and in 1975 a new head office and machine shop was built in Franklin, IN, about 20 miles south of the first location.
In 1980, more buildings were added at the Franklin site to house the forge shop, and later a warehouse. The operation grew and the offices were expanded, and more CNC lathes and machines were available to increase production. The forging facility was expanded in 1995 with the significant addition of a 1,500-ton hydraulic press, with clamshell ovens and manipulators. More recently, finishing operations were enhanced for larger manual machining.
In October 2008 the operation was bought by IBC, an integrated global manufacturer and distributor of rare metals, including beryllium-alloy products and related products. IBC’s various products are supplied to the nuclear power, oil and gas, defense, electronics, and automotive industries, among others.
Vice President of Sales Rajeev Jain explained: “IBC Nonferrous has always produced forged rings. They had been produced both on the manual hammers and with the hydraulic press using a mandrel. A manual hammer faces the challenge of longer processing times, especially with the production of larger rings, which previously would have to be worked on the hydraulic press, and this required a great deal of set up.”
A ring-rolling mill was available for upgrade and installation, through a former affiliate of IBC Nonferrous. Not long after the acquisition, IBC approved a budget to relocate and “completely overhaul and upgrade the unit to meet IBC Nonferrous’ requirements, (and) excavate and complete the installation,” according to Jain.
In preparation for the installation, a committee of plant managers and operators developed an optimal workflow pattern for production, anticipating the movements required to access the plant’s existing heating units and other peripheral equipment. Jain recalled that a mechanical trim press had to be removed from its location and a billet saw had to be repositioned, but an appropriate space was identified for the new ring-rolling mill, near the necessary utility systems.
The start-up and commissioning began in the summer of 2009 and word quickly spread of the ring-rolling machine and its substantial manufacturing efficiencies. The reconditioned mill has a main roll driven by a 150-HP electric motor running through a large gearbox. Forging is achieved by hydraulic pressure applied to the main roll.
“Except for some growing pains making the initial rings, it has been very smooth sailing,” Jain confirmed. “The most notable advantage of the machine has been the time estimate per ring we had planned, as we surpassed it by 25%, resulting in less time to manufacture the rings.”
Another advantage of the new ring-rolling mill is that it allows IBC Nonferrous to achieve better production efficiencies by committing its manual hammers and hydraulic press to other products.
The added capacity for rolled rings expands the range of IBC Nonferrous’ offerings to producers of electric motors, oil-and-gas heat exchangers, and critical components for marine and aerospace manufacturers. “It has positioned us to be able to supply more custom-made sizes and shapes for our customers, instead of only stock sizes,” Jain explained.
He continued to detail that the addition has created a very positive response from the market: “IBC Nonferrous has seen an impressive increase in ring orders,” Jain confirmed. IBC maintains that the addition of a dedicated mill establishes its IBC Nonferrous division as a one-stop forging plant for rolled-ring products benefiting customers and other manufacturers by delivering superior products.
For more information, contact Rajeev Jain, v.p.-sales, Nonferrous Products Inc., division of IBC Advanced Alloys, Tel. 317-738-2558, or by e-mail at [email protected].