Andritz wins furnaces contract with Sheffield Forgemasters

International technology group, Andritz, is to supply new furnaces for UK’s largest open die forge.

Following a formal tender process, Andritz, which has its headquarters in Austria, has received an order worth more than £20 million from Sheffield Forgemasters, to supply seven new furnaces for the company’s proposed 13,000 tonne forging line.

With no UK companies able to deliver furnaces of the size required within the time-frame and a number of large European suppliers also unable to meet the tender requirements, Andritz won the contract to supply three forging and four heat-treatment furnaces.

Steve Marshall, Manufacturing Transformation Director at Sheffield Forgemasters, said: “The challenge of finding a company with the capability of delivering such large furnaces in the timeframe that we are working to has been substantial, with a number of Europe’s largest suppliers unable to tender against our scope and delivery requirements.”

The furnaces with up to 1,000 tonnes of capacity will feature rail-mounted ‘car-bottoms’ which can roll in and out for the loading of ultra-large components and adopt state-of-the-art burner technology for optimal efficiency.

Steve added: “The furnaces will be the mainstay of our new heavy forging line, delivering both heat-treatment and main forging heating cycles, using the latest burner technologies for optimum efficiency and heat control.

“Andritz demonstrated an ability to work with us on the scope and delivery of the seven major furnaces, crucial to bringing our new forging line into operation. 

“New innovation in furnace technologies includes dual-fuel burners which can switch to hydrogen if the technology to move away from natural gas becomes viable. 

“The largest furnace will measure 18.5m long x 9.4m wide x 8.1m tall and a separate tender process for smaller, ancillary furnaces for the forging line is underway and will be announced in due course.”

Advanced burners for the main forging furnaces will deliver up to 30 per cent reduction in primary heating gas consumption, a more consistent heat to the steel components and highly accurate temperature control.

The forging line will be serviced by seven overhead cranes, supplied by Jaso Industrial Cranes in a contract recently announced by Sheffield Forgemasters and work is underway to demolish existing buildings for the new 12,700 sq m forge facility.

The UK’s largest open die forge will replace the company’s existing 10,000 tonne forging press and will complement its smaller 4,000 tonne press to serve defence and commercial markets.

Caption: (left/right) Roman Mueller-Huenervogt from Andritz Metals and Steve Marshall, Manufacturing Transformation Director at Sheffield Forgemasters, sign the furnaces contract for the UK’s largest open die forging line.