Sheffield Forgemasters takes on mammoth castings

Posted on 5 Feb 2015 by Callum Bentley

Sheffield Forgemasters International Ltd (SFIL) has poured the first in a series of ultra-large components destined to be some of the largest castings ever made.

The casting will weigh more than 320 tonnes finished weight, but required a staggering 600 tonnes of molten steel – poured continuously – to fill the vast subterranean mould and create the component.

Sheffield Forgemasters International Limited (SFIL) will deliver 11 similar castings over two years as part of a landmark 19m USD contract for German company SMS Meer.

Manufacture of the components creates a significant body of work for all of SFIL’s operational areas and its 800 staff and will see the production of more than 6,000 tonnes of molten steel, with each casting requiring multiple ladles of steel poured continuously.

Dr Steve Price, managing director of sales at SFIL, said: “This is not the first time we have produced castings of this size, but the process is highly complex with precise timescales for each element of the pour – from melting the steel, transporting such large volumes of molten steel across the site and scheduling the continuous pour.

More than 6,000 tonnes of molten steel will be poured into the massive castings.
More than 6,000 tonnes of molten steel will be poured into the massive castings.

“I am pleased to say that the process went exactly as planned and we are already scheduling the second casting in over the next four weeks.”

SFIL has the largest foundry facilities in Europe and is one of the only companies in the world able to manufacture ultra-large castings of more than 150 tonnes in weight, with a track record of casting ‘firsts,’ including the largest ever cast nodes for offshore use created for the Aasta Hansteen Spar platform in 2013.

Dr Price added: “SFIL has a long working relationship with the SMS group of companies to create ultra-large castings for a global portfolio of projects and this renewal of that relationship comes at a good time for us as we continue to work our way out of the effects of the wider global recession and late-cycle orders.

“The castings are providing a significant body of work across the site but particularly for the Melt Shop, Foundry and machine shops.”

SFIL has previously worked with SMS Meer, a world leader in the production of metals processing and manufacturing machinery to produce a broad range of technically challenging, ultra-large castings including the world’s largest single casting for a closed-die forging press – weighing in at 325 tonnes.