Forge +

Forge +

Historically, Nogent industrial area has concentrated a large variety of industry sectors, like forge, with a wide range of  processes, materials, and applications. Among numerous activities , automotive industry (steel), aerospace (light alloys, titanium,..) , medical devices (non ferrous, titanium, stainless…) with hot and cold forging,  hot and cold stamping as main manufacturing processes.


Forges de courcelles NOGENTECH


An experimental forging facility is anticipated to be located at the PĂ´le Technologique de Haute-Champagne in Nogent, in partnership with CRITT-MDTS, (Centre de Recherche, Innovation et Transfert de Technologie – MatĂ©riaux, DĂ©pĂ´ts et Traitements de Surface) and UTT (UniversitĂ© de Technologie de Troyes), as well as a special connection with the Nuclear Power industry leader (AREVA). This heavy equipment will contribute to the validation in real conditions, of forge material flow and specific tooling numerical modelling.

This project, named FORGE+, was started in close co-operation with Pôle Technologique de Haute-Champagne and AREVA, after the organization of a prospective seminar in 2008. This event had the objective to gather the best national specialists of the Forge sector, in association with our historical partners : NOGENTECH forging companies, CRITT-MDTS and UTT), together with CEMEF labs (Ecole des Mines-ParisTech, Sophia-Antipolis), CETIM labs and ENSAM (Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Arts et Métiers de Metz)

FORGE + was officially launched by Ms Lauvergeon, CEO of Areva, in St Dizier, at the beginning of 2008. Whereas several contacts have been established following this first seminar, a technological co-operation between  NOGENTECH and AREVA was officialized at the beginning of 2010, through the signature of a frame-agreement defining scientific collaboration between the 2 parties.

Of course, the aim of FORGE+ is not to create redundancy with existing teams and laboratories. It is rather aimed at the installation of an original research facility, complementary to existing equipments, within the scope of local  development , taking into acount the large concentration of local forging companies in Haute-Marne and Ardennes territories. Such a concentration being not found neither in Metz (ENSAM), nor in Saint-Etienne (CETIM), nor in Sophia-Antipolis (CEMEF)

In France, technological research on manufacturing process is not as developed as it is in Germany, or Japan, where process development is very active and innovative, particularly in Material processing. Therefore, there is a strong expectation from industrial companies in this field. This will imply, for this project, the acquisition of forging presses, heating and control systems to be flexible enough to be able to develop new innovating forging techniques and calibrate modelling softwares for different applications.

During the seminar and subsequent visit of CEZUS ( Zirconium and Hafnium forging, AREVA Group) the following technical subjects have been pointed out, for the sake of reflexion :

  • Inception of cracks during forging.
  • Optimization of computer time during forge flow numerical modelling.
  • Metallurgy questions, particularly  grain size control on finished parts.
  • Evolution of metallurgical textures.
  • Process optimization to make complex shapes.
  • New processes and material to make more complex shapes, and/or with lesser wall thickness
  • Weight optimization for a given material.
  • Process optimization to obtain tighter dimensional tolerances directly out of forging. Tight tolerances on inertia axis ( quasi-final dimensions or « near net shape”).
  • New alloys/materials for weight and cost reduction.
  • Materials rheology at different temperatures and rates of deformation.
  • Influence of initial temperature on the process .
  • Lubrication, contact, surface problems ; interference between material and tooling.
  • Suppression of neutral fiber.
  • Process influence on in-service forged parts behavior (fatigue, corrosion, dimensional stability)
  • Process influence on further manufacturing steps (machinability, dimensional stability).

The main steps of this particular development strategy would be as follows :

  • Identify the main forge specialists of the cluster as well as relevant future partners.
  • Propose a appropriate management process for  a Forge Cluster, a method for internal communication, and a suitable governance structure.
    • Thematic meeting cycles.
    • Industrial sites & factory visits.
    • Seminars and congress gathering industrial and academic worlds, while maintaining a technical watch about forge.  (CETIM[1], CEMEF-Sophia Antipolis, ENSAM Metz, MATERALIA, CARINNA, UTT, …).
    • Educational trainings dedicated to professionals of the Metallurgy sector.
  • Identify best “collaborative projects” » with « PĂ´les de CompĂ©titivité », other french and international clusters, institutions , public and private funding, and prepare technical programmes  (financing, partnership, leadership,…)
  • Establish a pre-requisite for Forge R&D tools, that would be complementary to existing means being utilized by the forge industry as well as the cluster members :
    • Listing existing equipment operated by cluster members and their partners.
    • Define missing equipments that would be mandatory to a good completion of the « collaborative projects ».
    • Select a first apparatus and size it properly.

This FORGE+ project, wil be part of  a Regional Progress Plan (Haute-Marne, Ardennes) initiated by the French Government (DIRECCTE Champagne-Ardenne)  to support and develop the industrial sector of cold/hot forging & cold/hot stamping.. It is to follow another Regional Progress Plan started in 2005 to the benefit of the Foundry sector.