By the early 1970’s, the lack of capacity for the machining and assembly of the offshore product line was evident. Unfortunately, the cyclic nature of the business did not make expansion of the facility an obvious choice. Nevertheless, in 1978 the management decided to expand the facility to enable the company to produce its entire product line, which included the 6300 hammer.
On 22 May 1979 ground was broken for the expansion of the Chattanooga facility. From left to right, Don Warrington, President and Chief Engineer; Vernell S. Warrington (1923-2000), Chairman of the Board; Eugene Logan, Chairman of the Industrial Revenue Board, who facilitated the financing of the plant expansion. The use of tax exempt IRB’s–with low interest before rates went through the roof the following year–made payback a lot easier. Mrs. Warrington was Vulcan’s last Chairman, and also was Secretary, from 1961 to 1996 and Executive Vice President from 1977 to 1978.
The steel going up: the crane rail and roof support beams for Vulcan’s plant expansion during erection, 1979.
Bustin’ rocks: the Vulcan DGH-100 hammer on a backhoe adapter during Vulcan’s plant expansion in 1979. Left to right watching the hammer: (in hardhat) Gene Daniels, Vulcan’s Construction Manager for the project; Kurt Winters, Onshore Sales Manager, and W. Calvin Bridges, Executive Vice President.
A view of the plant, again during the latter phases of construction. The plant was equipped for truck shipment (right door) or rail (left door) with an assembly area between them. The machinery in fron is the Morando boring mill during installation. The plant was equipped to assemble vertically and lift the 6300, thus it had a 300 ton crane with 40′ under the hook.
The following year, on 11 October 1980, the plant was dedicated; here is the ribbon cutting. From left to right: Sharon Warrington; her husband Pem Warrington (1953-1995), Executive Vice President; Mrs. Warrington; Don Warrington, President; Louis M. Venture, member of the Board of Directors; Fayrene Bridges; her husband W. Calvin Bridges, Executive Vice President and Treasurer.
Inside the plant expansion during the latter phases of construction, July 1980. Shown is the Innocenti horizontal boring mill. Boring mill capacity was the lifeblood of hammer production, especially with the long cylinder bores. Floor plates and a rotary table are to be installed in front of the machine.
Vulcan’s office, Spring 1980. Behind the office is the old plant, and behind that the new expansion, still under construction. The hammer in the front is the Vulcan #3, which had gone out of production many years before but was revived (with changes) by Pile Hammer Equipment in 2008. The office itself had already expanded; the area on the left was the Engineering area, added the previous year.
Mrs. Warrington speaks to the employees and guests gathered during the dedication ceremony.
The Dismembered Tennesseans, a local bluegrass band, performs for the dedication. At the right on the bass is Ansley Moses. In his regular work as an officer of the American National Bank, he helped facilitate the Industrial Revenue Bonds that made the plant expansion possible.
The Chattanooga facility, with the expansion in the back, at the time of the dedication. The offices had also been expanded as well. (Photo courtesy of Jim Wilson, Hixson, TN.)
In spite of its ideal construction, the expansion never reached its full potential. The oil industry collapsed a few years later, leaving the expansion (with a lot of other oilfield construction capacity) idle.