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Heavy Press Program

The Wyman-Gordon 50,000-ton forging press

The Heavy Press Program was a

  1. ^ Heffernan, Tim (8 February 2012). "Iron Giant". The Atlantic. Retrieved 12 February 2012. 
  2. ^ "China Building World's Largest Press Forge". China Tech Gadget. 27 October 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2012. 
  3. ^ Kurtz, Horace F.; Heindl, R. August; et al. (1954). "Aluminum". Minerals yearbook metals and minerals (except fuels) (Bureau of Mines). 1 (1958): pp. 133–157. 
  4. ^ Blue, Delwin D.; Kurtz, Horace F. (1953). "Aluminum". Minerals yearbook metals and minerals (except fuels) (Bureau of Mines). 1 (1956): pp. 143–163. 
  5. ^ "Alcoa Gets Big Extrusion Press". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 31 January 1952. Retrieved 12 February 2012. 
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  9. ^ The Wyman-Gordon 50,000 Ton Forging Press. American Society of Mechanical Engineers. 1983.  History of the Loewy Press at Wyman-Gordon
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Titanium bulkheads for the F15 jet fighter before and after pressing by the Alcoa 50,000 ton press

Air Force Lieutenant General K. B. Wolfe was the primary advocate for the Heavy Press Program. Alexander Zeitlin was another prominent figure of the program.

Seventeen presses were originally planned with an expected cost of $389 million, but the project was scaled back to 10 presses in 1953.[11]

The Heavy Press Program was motivated by experiences from Soviet Union captured the largest German press to survive the war, with a capacity of 33,000 ton, and were suspected to have seized the designs for an even larger 55,000 ton press. The next two largest units were captured by the United States and brought across the Atlantic, but they were half the size at 16,500 ton. As cold war fears developed, American strategists worried that this would give the Soviet Air Force a crucial advantage and designed the Heavy Press Program to help win the arms race.[8][9][10]

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers designated the 50,000-ton Alcoa and Wyman-Gordon presses as Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmarks. The Alcoa press weighs 8,000 tons and is 87 feet (26.5 meters) tall. The die table is 26 feet by 12 feet (7.9 by 3.7 meters), and the maximum stroke is 6 feet (1.82 meters).[7]

The Alcoa 50,000-ton forging press
(short tons)
Type of press Built by Operated by Location Began Operation
13,200 extrusion Alcoa Lafayette, Indiana 1953[5]
50,000 forging Mesta Machinery Alcoa Air Force Plant 47, 1600 Harvard Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio May 5, 1955
35,000 forging United Engineering Alcoa Air Force Plant 47, 1600 Harvard Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 1955
8,000 extrusion Loewy Hydropress Kaiser Aluminum Halethorpe, Maryland
8,000 extrusion Loewy Hydropress Kaiser Aluminum Halethorpe, Maryland
8,000 extrusion Loewy Hydropress Harvey Machine Co. Torrance, California
12,000 extrusion Lombard Corporation Harvey Machine Co. Torrance, California August 1957[6]
(Scrapped 1990s.[6])
50,000 forging Loewy Hydropress Wyman-Gordon Air Force Plant 63, Grafton, Massachusetts 1955
35,000 forging Loewy Hydropress Wyman-Gordon Grafton, Massachusetts
12,000 extrusion Loewy Hydropress Curtiss-Wright Buffalo, New York
[4][3]The program produced ten machines:


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