Case Study

Sheffield Forgemasters Produces 11 of the World's Largest Steel Castings

Sheffield Forgemasters was contracted to produce a series of 11 ultra-large castings, including one that finished at 325 tonnes. The finished components were to be used in heavy Steel Plant and material processing operations.

The Requirement

Sheffield Forgemasters was contracted to produce a series of 11 ultra-large castings which in total required over 6000 tonnes of molten steel. This posed a number of manufacturing challenges.

Firstly, there was the sheer volume of molten steel required for each component, the largest required over 600 tonnes of steel for a single pour.

Secondly, castings of this size require a vast amount of modelling, simulation and planning before they go to manufacture. The ultra-large size means that very few foundries are capable of manufacturing them so experience is relatively limited.

Finally, was the large amount of space required, not only to mould, cast, and store but also to manoeuvre and transport components of this size.

The combination of challenges and the short time scale placed Sheffield Forgemasters in an almost unique position to fulfill the requirements.

What we Delivered

Sheffield Forgemasters is an almost unique steel manufacturing company with integrated R&D, melt shop, pattern shop, foundry, machining and testing facilities on a single site. These were all utilised to deliver these ultra-large and complex components.

Acting as a single source supplier our teams were able to take the project through R&D, pattern construction, mould making, casting, heat treatment, fettling and finish machining.

Due to the number of components being produced, over a relatively short time scale, our foundry casting bays were adapted to handle multiple ultra-large components at the same time.

For the largest component our melt shop produced 600 tonnes of molten steel through multiple melts and transported this in six 100 tonne ladles to our foundry. The largest component took around six weeks to cool enough (from 1500°C to around 1000°C) that it could be removed from the sand mould and allowed to further cool before spending two weeks in heat treatment. The  resulting black steel weight (pre-machining) of this largest casting was 370 tonnes. After final machining this component ended up at a finshed weight of 325 tonnes.

Sheffield Forgemasters Foundry

Outcome and Benefits

Sheffield Forgemasters were able to take initial discussions with a valued customer to delivering 11 ultra-large and complex components in a short time scale. This offered a significant benefit to the customer who was able to keep contact with a single supplier throughout the entire process.

Our total integrated steel facilties are almost unique worldwide. The ability to offer so many steel services and capabilities from a single site, as well as the size and scale of the products we can produce, places us in an ideal situation to be able to provide solutions to complex engineering challenges. This capability is unrivalled throughout the world.

Castings of this size are a real challenge so it was a pleasure to be able to demonstrate our full capabilities.

Foundry Team

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