Raymond 60X Hammer

Raymond Concrete Pile Company (later Raymond International) was in its day the greatest pile driving organisation in the world. It either developed or perfected many of the techniques which are standard for designing and installing driven piles today. The most significant of these was the wave equation, the brainchild of Raymond’s chief mechanical engineer, E.A.L. Smith. The practical aspects of Raymond’s pile driving expertise are documented in Pile Driving by Pile Buck.

Most all of this was done with Raymond’s steam hammers, some of which were modified Vulcan hammers but many of which were Raymond’s own adaptations of Vulcan’s design. (Information on these can be found in the vulcanhammer.info Guide to Pile Driving Equipment.) That made for a complicated relationship, as was evidenced with Vulcan’s “00” hammer and the Raymond-Vulcan 80C Hammer. In Raymond’s later years it became a reliable customer for Vulcan’s offshore hammers, the largest of which was the Vulcan 5150.

The largest hammer Raymond developed on its own (except for its offshore underwater hammer) was the 60X. The “X” series hammers were developed as a result of disasters in Maracaibo Bay, where Raymond de Venezuela had a major operation. It convinced Raymond that its existing hammers were too small, which led first to the 8/0 and later to the “X” series hammers, the 22X, 30X, 40X and 60X. (The number was the weight of the ram in kips.) Unlike Vulcan’s larger offshore hammers, these were designed to drive concrete piles, including Raymond’s cylinder piles.

A two-point pickup of a cylinder pile. The pile is off the ground and horizontal; it is simply supported at the chokers. Behind the pile is Weeks Marine’s Raymond 60X hammer.

In the early 1990’s Vulcan was able to acquire from Skyline Steel the remnants of Raymond’s hammer inventory and much of its hammer engineering. One of the hammers that came out of that was a 60X hammer. Vulcan built one of these for Raymond de Venezuela, now an independent company. A general arrangement (Raymond would have called it a “general assembly”) with specifications is shown below.

The differences between this and Raymond’s own configuration are minor. Vulcan also developed a Vari-Cycle II version of this hammer as well.

In acquiring Raymond’s engineering, Vulcan realised that Raymond had made improvements that Vulcan needed to adapt to its own hammers. Some of these improvements were incorporated into these designs. Alas, Vulcan itself got into financial trouble, some of which was caused by Raymond de Venezuela’s inability to take delivery on the 60X that Vulcan had built. The hammer was sold after Vulcan passed to the Tennessee corporation.

The 60X is still a very useful hammer for driving large concrete piles, as can be seen in the video below, taken in 2020.

A Raymond 60X driving 36″ square concrete piles for the Harry Nice bridge replacement between Virginia and Maryland.

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