LimaNiner
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What Plane Components Did This Thing Make?

Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:52 am

I have a question about this article about "The Fifty", Alcoa's 50,000 ton forging press.

The second paragraph states that this machine broke down 3 years ago, and only returned to service earlier this year, implying a 3-year outage.

A little later, the article says "Every manned U.S. military aircraft now flying uses parts forged by the Fifty. So does every commercial aircraft made by Airbus and Boeing."

So my question is: what parts did they make with this press, and how were they able to ride through 3 years of downtime? Did they really have 3 years' worth of inventory when the thing broke down?

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1969/12/iron-giant/8886/
 
redflyer
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RE: What Plane Components Did This Thing Make?

Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:48 am

Quoting LimaNiner (Thread starter):
So my question is: what parts did they make with this press, and how were they able to ride through 3 years of downtime? Did they really have 3 years' worth of inventory when the thing broke down?

My first guess is that this is piss-poor reporting. If you look at the link, it states clearly that it's an archived story from 1969. It would appear that the author took an old story and added some modern window dressing to it (JSF program) at the bottom.
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scrubbsywg
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RE: What Plane Components Did This Thing Make?

Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:59 am

look further into the comments. here are some more pictures of the machine and parts it has forged:

http://www.loc.gov/pictures/search/?...&va=exact&co=hh&st=gallery&sg=true
 
scrubbsywg
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RE: What Plane Components Did This Thing Make?

Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:06 am

Quoting redflyer (Reply 1):
My first guess is that this is piss-poor reporting. If you look at the link, it states clearly that it's an archived story from 1969. It would appear that the author took an old story and added some modern window dressing to it (JSF program) at the bottom.

dont be so sure. this link shows it as part of the March 2012 edition. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/03/iron-giant/8886/

another link found in the comments: http://www.clevelandareahistory.com/...50000-ton-mesta-press-matters.html
 
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kanban
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RE: What Plane Components Did This Thing Make?

Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:07 am

I wonder if it was used for landing gear components .. I don't recall Cleveland Pneumatic having in-house forging capability for cylinders and struts.
 
redflyer
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RE: What Plane Components Did This Thing Make?

Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:48 am

Quoting scrubbsywg (Reply 2):
look further into the comments. here are some more pictures of the machine and parts it has forged:

http://www.loc.gov/pictures/search/?...=true

Those photos look a little dated, especially since some of them reference parts that went into the C-5A and the Space Shuttle...vehicles that have not been under construction for, literally, decades. Nevertheless...

Quoting scrubbsywg (Reply 3):
dont be so sure. this link shows it as part of the March 2012 edition.

I'm not so sure...my comment was, as I stated, just a guess. But if the OP's linked article is current in every way then my next guess would be that this can't be the only press of this capability. In fact, the article does state that 4 were built:

The now-forgotten Heavy Press Program, inaugurated in 1950 and completed in 1957, would ultimately result in 10 forges built with taxpayer dollars: four presses (including the Fifty)

And if I'm mistaken in that assumption as well then I'm really curious to know how Airbus and Boeing have gone without since their current production rates would mean parts forged by this incredible beast would have to be stockpiled for a good number of years.
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BreninTW
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RE: What Plane Components Did This Thing Make?

Tue Feb 14, 2012 8:16 am

Looks like the forge has indeed only just been put back into service after three years.

At least according to this article: http://www.cleveland.com/business/in...lcoas_50000-ton_ready_to_go_b.html

According to this article, the work of the 50K ton press was taken over by the 35K ton press (at reduced efficiency), which explains how Boeing and Airbus managed to not run out of parts  

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