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Largest press contract for Forgemasters

03 April 2008

Sheffield Forgemasters has won a £5m casting contract for German press builder SMS Meer.

The contract will run over a year and will see Forgemasters produce five castings for Europe's largest 12,000 tonne open-die forging press in Völklingen, Germany.

The project, on behalf of Forge Saar - a subsidiary company of Saarstahl AG, is on such a vast scale that the foundation table for the press will be cast in three sections weighing up to148 tonnes each.

Forgemasters will also supply two 280 tonne castings for the upper and lower cross-heads of the press, which will be used for making products for power generation.

Volker Schaffer, sales director of Sheffield Forgemasters Engineering, said: "This project marks a milestone for us as we are seeing the new generation of ultra-large presses coming on line in Europe and subsequently, the components that we manufacture for these presses are of a much larger scale.

"Forgemasters has a long association with the SMS group and with the Forge Saar project we will be building on the success of previous ultra-large castings for presses such as SMS Eumuco's Bohler Press and the SMS Meer Kisko project.

"The Forge Saar press will produce critical components for the power generation industries. The demand for large forgings is increasing as global need for these components outstrips the number of engineering companies with the capacity to fulfil the orders."

Graham Honeyman, chief executive, said: "Engineering across the globe is moving towards a larger scale of manufacture to economise on productivity. We are now casting the largest ingots ever produced in the UK at 300 tonnes each to supply the large steel plate rolling mills in Russia and Asia.

"The same can be said for our casting output as we have seen with castings for the SMS group over the past three years. To put this in a wider perspective there is no other European foundry that can realistically cast anything over 150 tonnes finish machined weight."