Forty Years of “A Fistful of Yuan”

My trip report to the rest of Vulcan after I got back from this epic started with the following, forty years ago today: Out of the shadows came Jesse Perry (seated) and Lloyd Berwald. Jesse was Vulcan's most experienced field service person, who also had good customer relations skills along with an extensive knowledge of … Continue reading Forty Years of “A Fistful of Yuan”

If You’re Not Going to Use a Head Sheave, Use a Bar or Suspension Type Head

In Vulcan Onshore Tip 65, the safe use of sheave type cylinder heads is discussed. A view of the different types of sheave/sheave head/sheave pin/retaining pins from that tip are shown at the right. In the a more recent post, a more detailed diagram of a sheave head is shown below. Some Vulcan users feel … Continue reading If You’re Not Going to Use a Head Sheave, Use a Bar or Suspension Type Head

Reconstructing a Soviet-Era Plastic Model to Predict Vibratory Pile Driving Performance

The latest in our series of monographs on vibratory pile drivers, this one takes us back to the beginnings of vibratory pile driving in the Soviet Union. It was prepared for the ReSEARCH Dialogues at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in April 2021. The vibratory driver that started it all: the Soviet BT-5, used … Continue reading Reconstructing a Soviet-Era Plastic Model to Predict Vibratory Pile Driving Performance

A Nice Vulcan Hammer Model From One of its Users

Models of Vulcan hammers--working or otherwise--are rare. This one comes from the Boston area, made by one of the pile drivers who worked the Boston waterfront. It is a real gem; I have not seen one this good in a long time. The "front" view of the hammer model. Traditionally Vulcan hammers were run with … Continue reading A Nice Vulcan Hammer Model From One of its Users

Yes, Civil Engineers, Things Move

A salutary reminder from Y. Ryabov's An Elementary Survey of Celestial Mechanics: There is of course no sense in asking why the planets rotate or why they have motion in general. Everything in the universe, from the smallest dust particle to colossal cosmic bodies, is in constant motion. There is no such thing as matter … Continue reading Yes, Civil Engineers, Things Move

Vulcan Never Believed in a “Throwaway Culture”

There's finally some meaningful pushback against this: But significant amounts of that waste could be avoided through repairs. According to a study by the French Environment and Energy Management Agency, only 40% of electronics breakdowns in France are repaired. But surveys have found nearly two-thirds of Europeans would rather repair their products than buy new … Continue reading Vulcan Never Believed in a “Throwaway Culture”

Vulcan’s Sight Feed Line Oilers

Proper lubrication is essential to just about any type of moving machinery, and Vulcan's pile drivers are no exception. The most important single point of lubrication is the steam or air cylinder which pulls up (and with some hammers pushes down) the cylinder. Failure to do this will result in reduced efficiency and expensive repairs, … Continue reading Vulcan’s Sight Feed Line Oilers

They’ve Never Liked the Oil Industry

The incoming administration's cancellation of the Keystone pipeline and its ideas on rolling back leasing on federal land signals its desire to act on climate change. But its assault on the oil industry is nothing new. In a letter to its shareholders dated 19 November 1970, Vulcan's President, H.G. Warrington, noted the following: Incomplete platform, … Continue reading They’ve Never Liked the Oil Industry

Those Pesky Kilogram-Force Units

Generally speaking, engineers educated in the U.S. must be educated in two units: the U.S. system (the Brits abandoned the Imperial system long ago) and the S.I. system, commonly called the "metric system." I say commonly because they're not really the same; countries that have been using the system the French came up with it … Continue reading Those Pesky Kilogram-Force Units

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. … Continue reading Raymond 60X Hammer