Checking the Soviets: A Tale of Two Cities

In our last post Checking the Soviets: Determining the Eccentric Moment, we looked at a specific calculation of the eccentric moment of an impact-vibration hammer. Before we get further into this topic, it would be good to pause and give some background on how the Soviets developed the impact-vibration hammer. Once it got out of its initial development, it was not a centralised business (as one would expect in an economy such as the Soviet Union) but developed by several institutes and organisations in different parts of the country. As far as I know both of the centres of development were in Russia; in spite of its extensive heavy industrialisation and significant participation in the Soviet economy, institutes outside of Russia, in places such as Ukraine, were not involved in this research.

There were two centres of effort for this: Leningrad and Moscow. The Leningrad part of the development is documented in Vibro-Engineering and the Technology of Piling and Boring Work, a significant part of which is translated into English and available on this website. As noted in Vibrating Drivers and Impact-Vibration Hammers, there was more than one organisation involved in this development, and in many cases the organisations were end users of the machinery.

Meanwhile in Moscow the VNIIstroidormash institute, which was dedicated to the design of construction equipment, was involved in the development of impact-vibration hammers. The history of this effort is described in the monograph Russian Impact-Vibration Pile Driving Equipment: Chapter 1, Introduction and its sequels. Actual calculations for one of the models is described in Soviet S-834 Impact-Vibration Hammer: Overview and its sequels. Other equipment designed by this institute can be found at the page NPO VNIIstroidormash: Soviet Construction Equipment Technology.

In the early 1990’s Vulcan was involved heavily in contacts with this institute and its chief pile driving equipment designer, L.V. Erofeev. Sometimes things could get interesting, and a couple of these stories are told at He is Prepared to Sign Anything and Half a Million Roubles. Is it Enough? Because the depth of the information we have is better for the Moscow-based institute, most of our study of Russian design will focus on the S-834 design, although we will include information from the Leningrad material.

We trust that you find this study of Soviet design of interest.

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