Sheffield Forgemasters International Ltd., a British engineering group with expertise in forging and casting large-dimension components, reports recently processed the largest ingots ever to be forged from a specialty grade of stainless steel. The ingots were produced in an electroslag remelting (ESR) process by Rubiera Special Steel SpA, a part of the Ringmill Group.
ESR is a process for remelting and refining steel and “superalloys” for critical materials used in aerospace, defense, and power-generation systems.
Large-dimension parts are a specialty for Sheffield Forgemasters, which produces steel castings up to 350 metric tons and forgings of up to 275 metric tons. It claims to have supplied more than 46,000 metric tons of engineered components to the offshore oil-and-gas industry.
In the current project, Forgemasters worked with the Italian manufacturer to develop the finished products, which are destined to operate in high-stress conditions (as required in petrochemical refining) as components of a pressure-vessel system for a global chemicals manufacturer.
SFIL’s role is forging and rough-machining the ingots, each weighing over 170 metric tons, as well as finish machining and pressure testing the completed assemblies.
“For such a safety-critical application we needed a partner who could manage product development alongside a production commitment,” according to David Bunney, sales manager at SFIL. “Rubiera worked extremely hard to demonstrate their capabilities for making 15-5PH stainless steel of the highest quality and to meet exacting client expectations.”
Bunney, who also chairs the U.K. Pressure Vessel Manufacturing Forum, added: "Pressure vessel manufacture has a long history at Forgemasters, with many large-scale units produced over many years. We see considerable potential in the global market in the coming years for pressure vessel equipment.
“One of Forgemasters’ strongest, unique selling points is the time-served reliability of our products,” he continued, “which gives clients the confidence to work with us where safe operation is the prime consideration.
“This is a significant order as it demonstrates this company’s expertise in capitalizing on a diverse range of markets through the provision of proven technical manufacture,” he concluded.
The multi-million-dollar project is now in the final manufacturing stages, according to SFI, and delivery is expected in the coming weeks.