Ironworker was originally a brand name, but has since become the generic name, for a machine which can shear, notch, and punch holes in steel plate. This is accomplished with a powerful hydraulic system and a blade made of extremely hard and brittle (high carbon content) steel. Because of the enormous forces required to shear steel, the machines must also be made of thick steel. It is common to see machines using steel over 1 inch (25 mm) thick. The hydraulic system is driven by an electric motor and three-phase alternating current is chosen when possible. Hydraulic rams push down on a variety of hardened steel blades and dies to perform the shearing, punching, and notching action.
An Ironworker is an integral part of manufacturing facilities, and fabrication shops which involve working with steel. It is an indispensable asset to these operations due to the reduction in the amount of man hours and effort needed to cut or punch steel sections. They are rated in tons of force, and they range from 20 tons to 150 tons and higher, although the average machine is about 70 tons. They are easily re-tooled for various operations and can by operated by one person. ~From Wikipedia