February 13, 2012 1:09 AM Subscribe
posted by disillusioned (79 comments total)
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It towers 51 feet high, extending a further 36 feet below ground. It weighs approximately 16 million pounds. And it's capable of delivering 50,000 metric tons of compressive force. "The Fifty" is the largest hydraulic closed-die forging press in the world. Chances are, you've interacted with something built in part by The Fifty: every flying manned U.S. military aircraft (and every aircraft built by Boeing and Airbus) uses parts forged by it. Built in 1955, the press has recently completed a $100 million refurb, and is now back online
in Alcoa's Cleveland Works facility.
The steel "bolts" (if you can call them that) which support this behemoth are 40 inches wide and 76 feet long. Four sections of each column were threaded and fitted with four steel nuts, each 52 inches in diameter. Eight of the largest nuts weigh 52 tons each.
The press, which stands eight stories tall and weighs 8,000 tons, responds instantly and precisely to the lone operator’s hand on a lever just three inches long. His slightest touch governs 2100 tons of moving weight and can apply 50,000 tons of forging force.This fantastic PDF
from 1981 has even more detail (and pictures!), though it's unclear if any of the press's specifications may have changed in the most recent rebuild.