Oil Rig Clamp Casting Wins 2012 Industry Best Casting Award

Best of British Casting

A 114 tonne cast steel clamp for use on an offshore subsea structure has won the Best UK Casting Award 2012. Manufactured by Sheffield Forgemasters Engineering Ltd. the component is a remarkable one off casting requiring considerable ambition and skill to produce.


On a very tight weather window deadline and with no margin for error bearing in mind the structural role this casting would perform, the components was modelled, cast, machined and then delivered to the Danish Siri Oil Field in October 2012. The judges were particularly impressed by the scientific approach and the confidence and ambition of the company to take on and deliver such a difficult project.

"Sheffield Forgemasters Engineering produces remarkable large components, and this clamp casting is world class," said John Parker, Chief Executive of the Cast Metals Federation which organises the awards. "Every year UK foundries produce some incredible castings that lead the world for innovation and technical achievement, constantly pushing the boundaries of what is manufacturable. This is modern engineering at its finest."

Sheffield Forgemasters Engineering won the award from a shortlist which included a lightweight aluminium handheld thermal imager for soldiers by Wrexham-based Tritech Group; a large brass panel from Brass Founders Sheffield, and a boron steel storage rack by Lost Wax Developments in Bridgnorth.

"The four shortlisted components involve four very different metals, three different processes and ranged in weight from 1.25kg to 114 tonnes showing the strength of the UK foundry industry," concluded John Parker. "The industry has weathered the recent economic storms and is looking to the future."

2011 Winner - Bicycle Castings

A three part cast aluminium bicycle frame for a specialist downhill racing bike has won the Component of the Year 2011 Award in the UK Cast Metals Industry Awards.

Typically replacing 12 parts using processes including stamping, forming, annealing and bending, and 15 welds the three castings are produced by WH Rowe Ltd of Southampton for Empire Cycles.

bike casting

"These are highly stressed components due to the high dynamic loading of the frame," said Constantine Theoharis of WH Rowe. "We knew that, using the sand casting process, we could produce components that would not only withstand the stresses but would also save our customer considerable time and money particularly in the tooling process where the start up costs are particularly high."

It was agreed that the whole bicycle would be manufactured without any welding thus removing the need for special jigs. Only a small tool box would be required to assemble wheels, headset, gear mechanism, suspension components etc. and the rider should be able to infinitely adjust the frame to his or her own preference without specialist tools.

A number of challenges had to be overcome such as the need to maintain casting thickness as small as possible in order to keep weight the same or lower than equivalent welded fabrications. At the same time some sections needed to be cast relatively thick creating an uneven structure which required extensive use of chills for directional solidification.

Another challenge was to maintain control of the metallurgy in order to achieve the highest possible strength and stiffness without making the castings too brittle, something that was achieved by careful alloy composition selection and carefully designed heat treatment.

This presents a rugged industrial look, without specialist finishing, giving confidence to the downhill rider to push harder during a race.

"This is an excellent set of castings that not only take the process into the bicycle frame market, but also saved the customer money and produced a very stylish and rugged bike," said John Parker, Chief Executive of the Cast Metals Federation which organises the annual awards.

The WH Rowe castings were selected from a final list of three which also included the aluminium 16V engine block of the Bugatti Veyron manufactured by Grainger & Worrall and a copper spiral Tuyere, a 215kg casting used in blast furnaces made by Peel Jones Copper products.