The much-anticipated, 60,000-ton closed-die forging press designed by SMS group for Weber Metals Inc. in Paramount, CA, has been inaugurated. An unveiling event was staged October 23 to mark the completion of the four-year, $180-million project, southeast of Los Angeles.
The press is designed to form oversized parts in aluminum and titanium alloys for commercial and defense aviation and aerospace manufacturing, as well as other industrial markets.
According to president and CEO Doug McIntyre, the new press addresses manufacturers’ demand for larger, monolithic titanium and aluminum parts that reduce both weight and complexity.
The first part to be produced was a main landing gear beam for the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.
Weber Metals is a holding of Otto Fuchs KG, whose managing partner Dr. Hinrich Mählmann stated: “This innovative technology will literally forge the future for parts made for aircraft and spacecraft.
“This, the world’s largest pull-down forging press, will shape some of the world’s largest monolithic parts from both aluminum and titanium. For Otto Fuchs, this is the third time we have developed the world’s largest forging press, and the second time it has been on Weber’s property,” he added.
Groundbreaking for the new press took place in April 2014, but construction began in January 2017. According to the press designer, SMS, the pit-mounted hydraulic forging press has a pressing force of 54,000 metric tons, a 6,000 x 3,000-mm die clamping area, and a stroke of 2,000 mm. It is designed for both hot and cold forging.
Only one third of the 10-story machine is visible above ground.
Weber Metals indicated it will double its total employment to 800 as a result of the new forging capability.