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Ellwood City Forge Invests For Its Future

June 25, 2007
Late last year, directors of Ellwood City Forge approved a new open-die forge press facility— just the latest in a series of investments for the Pennsylvania manufacturer.

Using dual, rail-bound automated manipulators capable of lifting 16,000 lb each, ECF's 1,500 ton Demag press produces mainly straight round bars and slabs from steel ingots.

Ellwood City Forge claims to be North America's leading supplier of forged billets for open-die, closed-die, ring-rolling, and extrusion applications.

The 300-horsepower Ingersoll milling machine, located at Ellwood Mill Products in New Castle, PA, mills at three times the speed of standard milling machines. The 24-in. main cutter, with 24 carbide inserts, is nearly twice the size of most cutters.

Ellwood City Forge specializes in producing shafts, bar, billets, and blocks of carbon, alloy, stainless, and tool steels in weights up to 80,000 lb.

Ellwood City Forge traces its origins to 1910. In recent years, however, it has grown significantly through investment and by acquiring the assets of bankrupt facilities near its Ellwood City, PA, headquarters.

ECF now is one of several companies in the Ellwood Group Inc. (see table), which produces heavy, engineered metal sections for capital equipment manufacturers in the U.S. and worldwide. The company's nine operating business units — 18 plants in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio,

Texas, and Belgium — supply customers' with engineered forgings, forging steels, iron castings, and other alloy parts. The industries it served include oil and gas, mining, metals processing, power generation, aircraft, railroad, automotive, tooling, water transportation, and defense.

ECF manufactures concentric and eccentric contoured forgings and single cross-section products, including hollow and disc forgings. Sizes up to 80 in. diameter, 50 ft long, and weighing 80,000 lb., are available. ECF also makes crankshafts, plastic mold steels, forging die blocks, and other custom forgings, to stringent mechanical property requirements. The products are finish-machined by customers, then fabricated into capital equipment for markets like oil and gas well service and wellhead parts; power transmission; power generation; mining equipment; metalforming equipment; parts for other process industries.

The latest expansion at Ellwood City Forge is a forge shop adjacent to Ellwood Quality Steels in New Castle, PA. The project was approved in late 2006, and construction is underway. It is expected to be in operation by August 2008.

It will be equipped with a four-post, 5,000-ton press manufactured by Danieli Breda ( that will use Oilgear ( hydraulics and controls. The press will be served by a 150,000-lb mobile manipulator manufactured by Dango and Dienenthal ( Other equipment in the new shop will include heattreating furnaces and water and polymer quench tanks.

Danieli Breda reports the new press is of push-down design with four pre-stressed columns. It will be capable of a forging force of 45 MN, with up-setting capability to 50 MN. It will have over 3,000 mm of horizontal clearance; and a 2,100-mm mobile traverse stroke. The maximum operating pressure will be of 470 bar, while the maximum upsetting operation frequency will be 120 stroke/min.

The press design provides for three levels of forging and upsetting force, with alternative operating status of the main cylinder and the two double-acting side cylinders. A quickchange system for die and hammer changes will be incorporated, and integrated with a multi-position die magazine.

New quality-control data collection functions are being incorporated in the process control system for product certification, and all significant forging data obtained during workpiece processing, including the associated set points, will be stored for further detail analysis.

ECF operates five plants in Western Pennsylvania, designed to deliver high-quality products within short lead times and with value-added customer service: Ellwood City Forge, Corry Forge, Ellwood Mill Products, Ellwood Mill Products / Billet Facility, and North American Forgemasters.

ECF operates several hydraulic forging presses, ranging from 1,000 tons to 4,500 tons. It has heat-treating furnaces calibrated to the latest revisions of MIL-H-6875 and API 6A; water and polymer quenching facilities; a wide range of machine tools, including lathes, milling machines and trepan lathes; and a metallurgical laboratory to test and certify according to most customer specifications.

Equally important, ECF implemented an advanced material planning and scheduling system it says uses proven techniques to manage constraints and assure on-time deliveries.

Since 1998 ECF has been a 50% partner in North American Forgemasters, directly adjacent to the Ellwood Quality Steels. It includes a custom-built 4,500-ton hydraulic forging press with an automated 10-station die change magazine; eight main hydraulic pumps; and a planishing capability of up to 300 strokes/minute. This press produces forgings as large as 80,000 lb. The facility also has two 100,000-lb lift capacity mobile manipulators; six forge furnaces; and two slow-cool furnaces, each capable of holding more than 1 million lb of steel

In conjunction with the formation of North American Forgemasters, ECF expanded into a 100,000- ft2 manufacturing facility in New Castle. Ellwood City Forge operates machine tools, heat-treatment furnaces, water and polymer quench tanks, and metallurgical testing equipment. In 2001 operation began on a custom-engineered, 300-hp Ingersoll portal machining center, capable of cutting steel at 300 in3/min.

In August 2003, ECF started a new, Consarc 40-in.-diameter vacuum arc remelt furnace in the Oil City, PA, remelt shop of Electralloy. With a capacity of over 6 million ingot lb/year, the furnace can produce remelted ingots from 15 to 40 in. in diameter, ranging from 10,000 to 46,800 lb.

Vacuum arc remelting is a casting process where a consumable electrode is melted under vacuum at a controlled rate, using heat generated by an electric arc struck between the electrode and the ingot. Exposing the molten metal to the low, near-vacuum pressure reduces the amount of dissolved gases in the ingot, including oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen. A shallow liquid pool promotes fast solidification and less alloy segregation than in conventionallyteemed ingots, and the end result is cleaner steel with improved chemical homogeneity and mechanical properties.

In February 2006, a second 40-in. Consarc VAR furnace was added. By the end of August 2006, a remanufactured 42-in. Leybold VAR furnace with updated ALD controls was installed. Total VAR capacity is about 20 million lb/ year. And, ECF has arranged with Electralloy for its supply to ECF of electroslag remelt (ESR) conversion services.

In 2003, EGI purchased the assets of the former McInnes Steel, in Corry, PA, and renamed it Corry Forge. It has a 2,000-ton open-die hydraulic press, and operates as a production department of ECF.

Corry products are sold through Ellwood City Forge, including disks, hubs, rotors, shafts and related products for manufacturers of power generation equipment. It also produces rods, hollow parts, nozzles, and similar parts for the U.S. Navy and commercial nuclear programs.

Corry Forge's production equipment includes:

  • A 2,000-ton hydraulic open-die press, which supplements the open-die forging capability at Ellwood City Forge. This press has seven-position die changing and a rotating top die. The press is used in conjunction with a 35,000-lb. Herr-Voss manipulator.
  • Three air-powered, open-die forging hammers rated at 12,000, 9,000, and 6,000 lb,
  • Heat-treatment furnaces with agitated water and oil quenching that are qualified to MIL-STD-1684.
  • Machining capabilities, such as boring, vertical turret lathes, and milling.

After the acquisition, two box-style forge furnaces capable of heating six 40- 53-in. ingots at one time, with an approximate weight of 540,000 lb., were installed at Corry Forge. A third, slightly smaller box-style forge furnace was installed by October 2006. These new furnaces use the latest regenerative burner technology for quicker recovery times and improved efficiencies. CFC also added two electric manipulators, the larger of which lifts ingots up to 50,000 lb.

Ellwood City Forge recently upgraded its 1,500-ton Demag press shop. Oilgear controls and a high-speed planishing valve were installed to increase productivity. In January 2006, two rail-bound Glama manipulators were commissioned to serve the press. Each has a lifting capacity of 20,000 lb., or 100 ft-tons, and can grip up to 31 in. diameter.

The rotary forge furnace that preheats steel for the press was modified with Rotex oxyfuel technology from Linde Gas LLC ( This has increased heating capacity, decreased natural gas usage, and decreased emissions of CO2 and NOx.

In an ongoing effort to increase press reliability and productivity, a new Glama charging machine with a 30,000 lb. lifting capacity was installed in February.

In May 2006, EMP commissioned a 9.9 MBTU/hr heattreat furnaces at New Castle, followed by a second furnace in September 2006. Upon addition of the second furnace, total heat-treat capacity increased by 20,000 tons/year.

To increase productivity in both the machine shop and heat-treat areas, EMP added an Esab CNC torch-cutting machine, to remove ends after forging to eliminate downstream processing of material not used in the final product, reducing time and manufacturing cost.