A new forging line described as "the world’s most advanced" is planned by thyssenkrupp in Homburg, Germany, with unnamed customers already committed to long-term contracts for the commercial vehicle axles it will produce. The €80-million (est. $89.7 million) capital investment will be completed and production will begin in 2021.
The new operation will center on a highly automated and digitized closed-die press, 10 meters high and weighing 1,700 tons, with a pressing force of 16,000 metric tons. thyssenkrupp did not reveal any suppliers for the plant or production systems.
“The main press of the new forging line will be the world’s first eccentric press of this size, capacity, and output to go into operation," stated Dr. Franz Eckl, COO of thyssenkrupp’s Forged Technologies business unit. “It will produce around 360,000 forged components per year, and will not be restricted to one product.
“In addition to front axle systems this forging line will also be able to produce crankshafts and other forged parts as required,” Eckl added.
Eccentric forging presses deliver force that is derived from a circular motor device, with a mechanism that converts the motor’s circular motion into a linear stroke. Some of the advantages of the process are longitudinal rigidity and minimal ram tilting, contributing to high forging precision, and fast stroke rates that correlate to high productivity.
The thyssenkrupp Forged Technologies business was established in 2017 by consolidating the former Forging & Machining and Undercarriages businesses. It produces various component parts for automotive, construction machinery, and general engineering applications, and operates 50 closed-die presses at 17 sites worldwide.
thyssenkrupp’s forging business employs around 7,500 people, and the new operation will add about 70 more workers to the 750-person workforce at Homburg, Germany. Construction of the new, roughly 12,000-sq.m. plant will start in early 2020.
“Our customers have made a conscious decision to place their orders with our Homburg site in order to secure the reliable supply of these specialized parts in Europe in times of international customs risks and rising logistics costs," according to Dr. Alexander Becker, CEO of thyssenkrupp Forged Technologies.