World's Largest Isothermal Forging Press Built for Production of Jet Engine Components

ERIE Press Systems manufactures new press for Ladish.

ERIE, PA – Doug Currie, President of ERIE Press Systems, reports that production of the world’s largest Isothermal Forging Press is underway for Ladish Co. Inc., Cudahy, WI. The unique design of the press, rated at 12,500 tons, will allow it to forge larger-diameter, close tolerance forgings required for today’s high efficiency jet engines.

The unit will provide Ladish with increased operational flexibility and capacity, giving the company significant production advantages now and in the future.

"Our challenge was to produce a strain rate controlled, high-tonnage press to forge critical aerospace materials," Currie said.

The press will weigh over 1200 tons, stand 33 feet above the floor and 27 feet below it. Four massive tie rods, each weighing more than 100,000 pounds, will support the structure. Two main rams will drive the crown and rugged press guiding will maintain tooling parallelism. Two push-back cylinders will return the press to the open position.

This pulldown design press is being equipped with the latest in hydraulic and electrical/electronic controls and integrated with a vacuum chamber, multi- station furnace, and part-handling system.

"The hydraulic controls are a combination of servo-controlled pumps driven by 100-horsepower motors," Currie added. "Using energy-efficient servo controls, the maximum input to drive the press will be less than 275 horsepower. Forging speed is adjustable for precise strain-rate-velocity control while increasing to a maximum force of 12,500 tons. The hydraulic power unit utilizes manifold-mounted-cartridge valves to minimize space requirements and simplify piping and maintenance. The modular hydraulic system is preassembled and tested at Erie to facilitate installation on site."

The design specifies electrical controls that provide ease of operation, as well as high-level diagnostic capabilities for quick fault detection. Intelligent control is used to view and log all motor-data parameters. The press I/O is designed into functional groups and connected to remote I/O modules to reduce wiring. Redundant safety circuits are used throughout the electrical design for safety. Ethernet communication provides high-speed data transfers. Power management for control and data acquisition ensures that information is not lost in the event of a brownout or main-power failure. All operating, maintenance and vendor manuals, along with hydraulic and electrical schematics, are available on line at the main operator console, through the machine PC. Remote diagnostics and trouble-shooting capabilities are available through an Ethernet or phone connection. Press-performance data for each part forged is collected, recorded, and sent to a database for traceability by serial number.

According to Currie, "Given Ladish’s production schedule, not only is it imperative that we meet or exceed rigorous quality and performance requirements for design, manufacture and installation, but equally important, that Erie controls delivery performance of critical-path components through on-going, project-scheduling review, technical liaison, and inter-company communications vital in a project of this magnitude."

Gene Bunge, Vice President of Engineering at Ladish, is a member of the project team overseeing the design and installation of the new press, scheduled to be making parts in 2008.

"We have spent considerable time thinking through the demands that will be placed on this press and we know we are building a resource that will serve jet-engine manufacturers for decades to come," Bunge said. "We are excited to be working with Erie to create the world’s largest press—one that can meet all the component-technology and production demands our customers require."

ERIE Press Systems ( www.eriepress.com ) is a leading manufacturer of custom hydraulic and mechanical presses and machinery for a broad range of metal and non metal forming applications. Since 1895, ERIE has supplied integrated process solutions for open and closed die forging, sheet and extrusion stretch forming, carbon extrusion and compacting, super plastic forming, cold extrusion, powder metal compacting, composite molding, and other custom applications. Designed to meet the unique needs of each customer’s forming process requirements, press capacities typically range from 500 to 15,000 tons. ERIE is ISO9001: 2000 certified.

For further details, contact George Currie, ERIE Press Systems, Phone: (814) 455-3941 Ext. 620 or E-mail: gmcurrie@eriepress.com .
or
Matt Glass, Altman-Hall Associates, Phone: (814) 454-0158 or E-mail: matt@altman-hall.com.


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