Just three years since it designed and supplied its first ring-rolling operation, Siempelkamp is preparing to combine an open-die press and ring-rolling mill in a new plant concept for French forger L’Union des Forgerons. The 33/30-MN press will produce conventional open-die forgings weighing up to 10 metric tons, as well as ring blanks as feedstock for the ring-rolling mill. In total, the new line will allow the plant to achieve a level of flexibility for forming high-value materials for heavily engineered products

Forgerons aims to expand its capacity for nickel-based and titanium alloys at the plant in Méréville, for products in high demand by aerospace manufacturers. The new press’s precision lifting and centering system will ensure high accuracy for blank punching and piercing.

The ring-rolling mill that processes the ring blanks will have radial and axial forces of 4,000 kN, each, for maximum ring diameter of 2,500 mm. The mill will roll rings up to 700 mm high and weighing up to 5 metric tons.

The value of the project was not announced. The installation of the new press will start in October 2016, followed by installation of the ring-rolling mill at the start of 2017. Full production on the new line would begin in the summer of 2017.

L’Union already produces forged parts and rolled rings in specialty and tool steels (particularly for pressurized vessels), stainless, and nonferrous alloys (aluminum, copper alloys, titanium). The current operation consists of several hammer mills in the 600- to 2,000-kg range, along with an open-die press and a circular rolling mill. A range of heat-treating options are offered, and finished products are available as-forged, sand blasted, rough machined or custom machined.

According to Michel Discour, president and director general of the forger near Paris, “We will be able to manufacture a higher number of difficult-to-form materials in the future that require higher pressing and rolling forces. This includes higher-quality materials, larger dimensions, and higher working weights.

“We will be able to achieve higher outputs,” he continued. “We specialize in the flexible manufacturing of complex products; the new machines will help in this regard because we will achieve shorter delivery times.”

In addition to the new open-die press and ring-rolling mill, Forgerons’ new line will have dedicated furnaces and material handling systems.

Siempelkamp will supply all the mechanical equipment for the forging press and the ring-rolling machine. For the latter, it also will provide the hydraulic system, electrical system, the process controls and the rolling dies.

Oilgear Towler will contribute the hydraulic and electrical systems for the open-die press. Glama will supply the charging manipulator, the forging manipulator, and a rail-bound forging robot that will transfer ring blanks from the press to ring-rolling mill.

According to the developer, the ring-rolling mill’s “Universal Cassette Design” makes it possible for the forger to use different main roll configurations in the same machine to increase flexibility and throughput, even for small batches, because the cassette can be exchanged within 30-50 minutes.

Siempelkamp’s SicoRoll 2.0 control software was specially developed for ring-rolling operations, and recently was updated with new features for greater precision in process control. Stored rolling models will help Forgerons during process planning. Process simulation programs take into account the machine’s threshold values, so all relevant rolling parameters are determined.

The SicoRoll program uses a database that stores the tool and material data, and it contains the standard rolling curves and strategies as the basis for the planning process. The calculated rolling parameters are transmitted to the machine control, which ensures the optimal ring rolling process and keeps the rolling parameters synchronized with the process.

During rolling, two lasers measure ring dimensions on a constant bases, and product temperature is monitored online. Siempelkamp describes temperature-data feedback as “an integral part” of the updated SicoRoll 2.0 software control.

The software also simulates ring blank dimensions for the forging press.