Vulcan Onshore Tip #39: Winter Operation

Cold weather operation of Pile Hammers and Pile Extractors on compressed air frequently presents problems of ice accumulation in valve assemblies and air passage ports. Icing is a function of temperature and humidity and causes erratic equipment operation. There are several remedies for this problem which will help eliminate the icing condition:

  1. Install on your compressor the Vulcanaire Supertherm. At 400° F air temperature, ice is nonexistent.
  2. In your air line oiler, dilute your lubricating oil with an equal amount of ethylene glycol.
  3. Install in the air line between the Lubricator and the Hammer a Tanner De-lcer Tank. The Tanner De-lcer atomizes the anti-icing chemical into the airstream to prevent Hammer icing. Tanner gas equipment is available from Tanner Systems, Inc., Sauk Rapids, Minnesota 56379.

Always remember that in subfreezing weather it is essential to preheat the Hammer Cylinder prior to commencing daily operation. This is necessary to eliminate any frozen condensate inside tile Cylinder and Valve. It is also necessary to prevent possible cracking of the Cylinder due to thermal shock.

During winter operation, it is advisable to be sure that all condensate is expelled from the Lubricator at the end of the shift so that it will not be allowed to freeze thereby plugging the oil suction line. It is also advisable to preheat the Lubricator to assure immediate lubrication when operations are commenced.

If your crane boom is hard piped part way up, it is desirable that this piping be insulated to help minimize losses in air volume due to cooling.

Note: use of these procedures may be affected by environmental regulations.  The photo at the top of the page shows a Vulcanaire Supertherm.

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