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Energy conservation is an important consideration today in a world where the competition for energy sources is intensified by rising demand. But making best use of fuel isn't new, and the Vulcanaire Supertherm was Vulcan's contribution to energy savings.
The Supertherm was developed in conjunction with Horn Construction in Merrick, NY, and first demonstrated in late 1964. The Supertherm was simple in concept. As described in the unit's field service manual (which has more information on the unit:)
The objective for the contractor was to use a smaller compressor to power the same size of pile hammer.
Below: Vulcanaire Supertherm mounted on top of a LeRoi 1200 CFM compressor at the time of its original demonstration.
Below: a Supertherm (yellow) being installed on top of a Gardner-Denver compressor in the mid-1970's.
Although the unit worked as intended and performed well, the simple concept didn't translate into a simple design. With numerous parts and complex fabrication and assembly, the unit was uneconomical to produce and difficult to install. Air compressor manufacturers learned how to use hot exhaust gases in other ways to improve the energy efficiency of their products.
By the late 1970's, even with the elevated energy prices of the era, production of the Vulcanaire Supertherm had gone cold.