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Forgemasters' quality eclipses competition

01 February 2011

Manufacturing quality has won Sheffield Forgemasters a large American steel castings order, securing re-entry into an existing geographic market and beating off competition from Asia.

The order, for three hot-metal mill-housing castings weighing between 150 and 275  tonnes for the ATI Allegheny Ludlum (an Allegheny Technologies company)  advanced hot-rolling and processing facility in Pennsylvania, was awarded by Siemens VAI based on the extremely high quality of the Forgemasters castings, unmatched by Asian competition.

With a £multi-million value, the contract firmly re-establishes Forgemasters in the metal rolling mills market for the USA, a geographic market which it hasn’t operated in for some years.

Mick Holloway, senior sales manager at Sheffield Forgemasters, said: “Securing a foothold into the market for rolling mills within the United States is a key strategic lead for Forgemasters.

“This is an existing market, which the company has supplied to in previous years, but changes in technology and Forgemasters’ development of castings and ultra-large castings through a dedicated research and development programme, enables us to produce components which far exceed the quality offered by competitors.

“The contract was essentially secured on the back of a previous contract, to supply smaller 67 tonne rolling mill castings to Siemens VAI, for the AHMSA steel mill in Mexico and the quality and level of finish for those castings set a standard which impressed the client.”

The new USA mill will be part of an advanced speciality metals hot-rolling and processing facility and will be built at Brackenridge, Pennsylvania for Allegheny Technologies Incorporated. It will be capable of rolling a wide range of stainless steels and other specialty alloys at widths exceeding 2m.

Structural integrity of the castings is critical as the rolling forces applied during the mill’s operation will be among the highest ever to be applied in a hot-strip mill.

The components supplied to the ATI Allegheny Ludlum mill include two roughing mill housings at 275 tonnes each and one edger housing casting at 150 tonnes.

Forgemasters has invested heavily in an ongoing research and development programme since a 2005 management buyout to refine its processes and create highly complex casting solutions for industries ranging from hydro, civil nuclear and thermal power generation, to offshore oil and gas exploration

The company has supplied some of the largest single steel castings in the world and has the capacity to pour up to 600 tonnes of molten steel in a continuous pour.

Allegheny Technologies Incorporated is one of the world's largest producers of speciality metals which are used in the aerospace and defence, oil, gas and chemical process industries, electrical energy, medical, automotive, food equipment and appliance, machine and cutting tools, construction and mining markets.