Biggest ever castings being made in Flanders

Steel foundry and Sirris member Allard-Europe recently received two orders for four large martensitic stainless steel castings. One order from abroad involves two components for offshore underwater pile driving equipment and the other is for two impressive components for a dredging company. Biggest ever in Flanders.

Based in Turnhout, Allard-Europe received an order for two components for offshore, underwater pile driving equipment from a Dutch customer, each with a casting weight of around 40 tons. The second order is for two components from a well-known Flemish dredging company, which are so large and heavy that they have to be cast in two parts and thereafter welded together creating a single item weighing 37 tons in its finished state. The heaviest casting will weigh around 45 tons along with the full casting and supply system. This makes it the heaviest steel casting ever produced in Flanders. 

Technical feat

From a technical perspective, this is truly a bold venture for the Allard-Europe team. Not only does the weight and therefore size of the components present a challenge, but the specific requirements laid down for creating the alloy also require extra attention. The martensitic steel alloy was not just selected for its ability to withstand rusting, but also because of its unique mechanical properties, which are up to three times higher than for normal steel and this for wall thicknesses up to 500 mm. Most of the mechanical finishing work on the castings will be carried out by Allard-Europe. This will involve boring various channels intersecting each other, with diameters up to 200 mm and drilling depths up to just over 1.5 metres. 

Specialisation and innovation

By specialising in heavy and complex castings, Allard-Europe has succeeded in reinventing itself. The foundry sector in Belgium has been struggling over the last few years because of global overcapacity and drastically falling demand, as well as higher manufacturing costs. It is imperative to specialise in the foundry sector and innovation in this area is vital. This is something that Sirris encourages and one of the reasons why it is supporting foundries. Allard-Europe and Sirris have already worked together on several occasions. 

(Picture: Allard-Europe)