SMS group
The first billet processed through the 31.5/34-MN, high-speed open-die forging press at Gustav Grimm in Remscheid, Germany, supplied by SMS group.

SMS Applies 3DP to Press Hydraulics

July 1, 2020
A new high-speed, open-die forging press started at Gustav Grimm Edelstahlwerk, incorporating a 3D-printed aluminum, hydraulic manifold block

Press builder SMS group started up a 31.5/34-MN high-speed open-die forging press at Gustav Grimm Edelstahlwerk GmbH in Remscheid, Germany, a novel development due to the design that incorporates a 3D-printed, hydraulic manifold block.

It's the first time that SMS has installed such a component in an open-die press, though it has adopted additive manufacturing for other parts – notably to produce die-spray heads for closed-die forging presses.

The new open-die press replaces a previous machine for Gustav Grimm, which forges stainless, duplex and super-duplex alloys, titanium alloys, engineering and nitriding alloy steel products.

According to SMS, the machine's built-in hydraulic and control systems help to meet the particular requirements for efficient, high-speed forging of such materials. 

In the open-die forging operation, the manifold block distributes hydraulic oil for operating and venting the cylinders. The optimized valve arrangement takes into account the direct, optimized flow of fluid through the individual channels and provides easier maintenance access to the manual valves. The monolithic component design significantly reduces the number of points for potential leakage.

SMS also noted the 3D-printed hydraulic manifold block can be delivered in much less time than the equivalent steel part.

The 3DP version in aluminum also is lighter and more compact than the steel version, and according to SMS it has a flow-optimized design that contributes to the reliability and performance of the press hydraulics. Because of their fluid-conducting function, hydraulic components are particularly well-suited to 3D printing, due to the design flexibility that the technology offers.

"This new manufacturing technology enables not only the channels to be engineered for optimized flow but also the installation space and mass to be reduced as a result of the much more compact design," explained Nina Uppenkamp, R&D engineer at SMS.

Because 3DP promotes a more "function-oriented" approach to design, the manifold block could be simulated according to the fluid-volume requirements of its performance. These results contributed the necessary specifications for the wall thicknesses. Thus, printed material is placed only where it is needed for functional reasons.

The new SMS press also is equipped with a data-monitoring system. All target and actual parameters are collected during forging, so that any malfunctions can be address using remote-diagnostics of machine condition and operating data. Data monitoring also can also be used for process optimization and quality assurance.

For quick tool changes, the press is equipped with a hydraulic forging-tool changing device. As this die turning/clamping device is designed with fewer mechanical components, it requires less maintenance, according to SMS.

Demolition of the old press and assembly of the new one, including acceptance testing, were completed in less than 11 weeks, according to the developer.