Vulcan 014 and 016 Hammers: Specifications and Information

The 014 and 016 hammers were the first single-acting hammers Vulcan produced based on the Super-Vulcan design.  The main difference between the two was the ram weight, as can be seen below.

 

 

These hammers are without the Vari-Cycle feature; the drawing at the very top shows the Vari-Cycle added.

Specifications for the onshore hammers (which sported 32″ female jaws) are below.

 

 

The 016 was the basis of the Conmaco 160, which Vulcan first produced for Conmaco before they “struck out on their own.”

Vulcan also produced these hammers in an offshore configuration with 54″ male jaws, as shown below.  The first of these was for Ingram Contractors (that’s right, the subsidiary of the book distribution company, they got into the platform installation business) in 1968.  T.L. James and McDermott also purchased these hammers.

 

 

Specifications for the offshore hammers are below.

DWPB1961
Vulcan Drawing DWPB-1961 (Offshore Hammer Specifications)

One major difference between the offshore and onshore models is the raised vs. lowered steam chest.  The onshore model cylinder design was modelled after the Super-Vulcan hammers, which required a steam chest raised above the bottom of the cylinder.  For the offshore hammers this was dispensed with and the steam chest design was more like the Warrington-Vulcan hammers, low on the cylinder.  The main benefits were a shorter slide bar and less chance for core burn-in in the air/steam passages.

The heavier build of these hammers (as opposed to the earlier single-acting hammers) was more beneficial offshore than onshore.  The frame is more durable (although it’s hard to argue with a configuration that lasts 120 years!) but this added to the weight.

 

D77V1010
Vulcan toyed with the idea of a 5′ stroke version of the 014 and 016 hammers; this is the 016 version, or the 516. Vulcan never built this and towards the end gravitated towards a 5′ stroke version of the larger Raymond “0” series hammers, which were closer to the original Warrington-Vulcan concept and lighter.

The weight of the 014 and 016 may have put them at something of a disadvantage, but they have given good service in the sixty-years they’ve been out, as can be seen in this video (courtesy of Pile Hammer Equipment.)

 

Advertisements

Vulcan 400C and 600C Hammers: Specifications and Information

The Vulcan 400C and 600C were the company’s “final frontier” on the Super-Vulcan hammers.  It invested a considerable amount of resources in the engineering of these products, both offshore and (in the case of the 400C) onshore.

Promotion wasn’t lacking in the specifications either, as can be seen below.

Yet the fact remains that neither of these hammers was ever built.  Why was this so?

For the onshore hammer, demand for hammers this large onshore only came on Vulcan’s “radar screen” in the mid- and late 1960’s, and by that time the offshore market was dominating Vulcan’s activity.  There was also the persistent “blow rate” controversy.

For offshore, on paper a differential acting hammer made perfect sense.  Hourly barge rates were (and are) high; the more rapidly the work got done, the better.  And the length of the piles was the last nail in the coffin for pile driving formulae; the wave equation and pile driving analysers were taking over.  The energy into the pile could be monitored, as noted in Pile Installation by Pile Driving.

However, there were other issues.  In some cases the pile rebound timed itself to return with the next blow, resulting in the “dancing on the pile” issue Vulcan ran into sometimes with the smaller Super-Vulcan hammers.  Beyond that, the air or steam consumption of these hammers was considerable.  The 600C, for example, used the same boiler size as the 560 with 40% less striking energy.  To penetrate a hard layer, the additional energy was worth more than the higher blow rate.  That could have been compensated for by designing a Super-Vulcan hammer with a 5′ equivalent stroke, but Vulcan never tried to present this to its customers.

It’s yet another “what-if” situation that Vulcan faced in its long history.

Indicator Devices and Cards for Vulcan Hammers

The indicator card, and the devices that produced them, have been around about as long as there have been steam engines.  The basic idea is simple: as the piston of the engine moved, a pressure indicator moved a needle and pen up and down on a paper (usually a rotating drum) and produced what’s called in thermodynamics a pV diagram, shown below.

indicator card
An indicator card, taken from A Practical Treatise on the Steam Engine Indicator and Indicator Diagrams by Amice, edited and enlarged by W. Worby Beaumont, 1888. The area of the central region would indicate the energy output of the engine. The displacement is noted on the x-axis and the pressure on the y-axis. The straight lines over the region are probably a method of graphical integration, although even then (before the advent of CAD and numerical integration) a planimeter would be much easier.

The steam engine (or any reciprocating engine, they’re also used with internal combustion engines as well) is somewhat straightforward in that it has a fixed stroke.  With an impact pile hammer, you have a free piston engine whose stroke is not determined by the rotation of the crankshaft.  Vulcan’s attempt to attach an indicator mechanism to its smallest hammer (the DGH-100,) shown above, is a little tricky.  The telltale rod coming out the top of the ram moves the pen radially around the drum through a lever and cord mechanism.  The pressure from the hammer moves the pen up and down on the drum.  Either the pressure above the piston or below can be fed to the indicator mechanism, as shown below.

D10272

Vulcan’s motivation in looking at this was probably due to questions about the downward assist of the air pressure on the top of the piston.  This question challenged Vulcan during the whole life of its differential-acting hammers.

Whether Vulcan actually did this is unknown.  Vulcan used a more modern approach to determine pressure-time and pressure-displacement histories in its linear vibrator, and the analysis software Vulcan developed electronically generated indicator cards for its single-compound hammer.

SC-Indicator-Card
The “indicator card” developed for the S/C hammer, using an HP-85 computer, 1982. The output was actually printed on thermal tape. The HP-85, with its Basic programming and VisiCalc spreadsheet, was a useful device for hammer design and trade union negotiations alike.

Mechanical indicator mechanisms are still used for slower, reciprocating engines (usually steam) but no matter how they’re made, indicator cards–and the concept behind them–are important in the performance analysis of reciprocating engines of all kinds.

 

Vulcan 200C Hammer: Specifications and Information

The 200C was another important hammer in the Vulcan line, being the “basis” for the single-acting 020, 030, 520, 530 and 535 hammers.  The 200C was also important because, like the 140C, it was made in both onshore and offshore configurations.  Some general arrangements of both are shown below.

One important note for the 200C and its single-acting counterparts is that the onshore and offshore hammers, in addition to different jaws, have different sizes ram points and driving accessories.  The difference is explained here.

Specifications for each (on different spec tables) are shown below.

Vulcan 140C Hammer: Specifications and Information

Although not a particularly popular model, the 140C was a groundbreaker in many respects because of its place in Vulcan’s product line.

First, it was one of the first of Vulcan’s hammers to be larger than the Warrington-Vulcan hammers.  Second, it was the first with a “single-acting version,” in this case the 014.  In that respect it was a significant break from the Warrington-Vulcan construction, being much heavier.  This design was carried over into Vulcan’s offshore hammer line.

Speaking of offshore hammers, the 140C was the smallest Vulcan offshore hammer that was really viable; general arrangement are shown below.

The hammer sported the 54″ male jaws, which were standard on Vulcan offshore hammers, single-acting and differential-acting alike, for hammers up to the 530 and 535.

Specifications for onshore and offshore 140C alike are shown below.

 

140C-Sand-Drain-Closeup
A Vulcan 140C hammer installing sand drains.

Another application for the 140C was the sand drain hammer, shown at the left. Sand drains are not conventional driven piles but are used for accelerating consolidation drainage, as described here.  The cylinder head is different (to allow for a retractable hook to raise the hammer)  but otherwise the hammer is pretty much the same as a standard onshore 140C.

 

Raymond-Vulcan 80C Hammer: Specifications and Information

As was the case with its 65C, Raymond made multiple improvements to the Vulcan 80C hammer, but used a slightly different approach.

Probably because the patents on the Super-Vulcan hammers hadn’t run when Raymond saw the need to modify the Vulcan hammers, Raymond started by extensive modifications on the Vulcan 80C, which are similar to those they made later on the 65C.  The result is the hammer shown above.  There is no doubt that Raymond probably had as much money in the modifications–or more–than the original hammers, but as Charlie Guild observed to me, Raymond had “no idea” what their costs were.

That may not have been a problem.  For one thing, Raymond’s superintendents had a reputation of being hard on the equipment; it was cheaper, in their view, to damage the equipment rather than to stop the job.  Raymond’s equipment designers responded to this by making these hammers more rugged than the original Vulcan hammers, and that’s saying quite a bit.

Probably the modification that gave the best return on the investment was the conversion from column keys to cables, one that Vulcan eventually did on its hammers.  With the 80C, it was faced with the same problem as Vulcan: how to deal with the steam belt, which got in the way of running the cables straight out of the columns.  Vulcan’s solution is discussed here; Raymond opted to shift the cables slightly off column centre, using eccentric and concentric column sleeves.  The result, coupled with running the cables to the head, worked well, especially with the Raymond Step-Taper piles, which were probably the most grueling test of a pile hammer ever devised for onshore piles.

It’s noteworthy that Pile Hammer Equipment, in its approach, “dog-legs” the cables a bit as they go to the head while keeping them concentric with the column, thus avoiding the steam belt.

Raymond went on to develop a “true” Raymond 80C as it had done with the 65C, but at this point documentation lacks for this hammer.

Specifications for Raymond’s 80C and other air/steam differential hammers are below.

raymond-50c-65c-80c-125cx-150c-specifications

Pile Driving in Old Havana, Cuba

Without a doubt, one of the most interesting photos Vulcan had in its collection was this one, taken of a Vulcan #0 driving reinforced concrete sheet piles 500 mm x 600 mm x 21.9 m long (20″ x 24″ x 72′) for the New Harbor Wall in Havana, Cuba.  The piles are being driven off of the Cristóbal Colon floating derrick, owned and operated by the contractor, Arellano y Mendoza. The photo is dated 1927.

In addition to its historical value, Vulcan was so taken with this photo that it used a drawn rendering of the photo for the cover of its very first dedicated bulletin to advertise the Warrington-Vulcan Single-Acting hammers, Bulletin 68, shown below.

bulletin-68-cover
Cover for Bulletin 68, showing the Vulcan #0 being used in Havana, Cuba, by Arellano y Mendoza.

 

The Differential Acting Hammer Cycle, from a Raymond Point of View

Above is the differential acting hammer cycle, an explanation from the Raymond Superintendent’s Handbook, with some specifications.  The cycle is the same for both Raymond and Vulcan hammers.  The 65C specifications given above are for the Raymond 65C, not the Vulcan 65C.

Product Literature Cover for Soviet SP-88 Concrete Pile Cutter @sovietvisuals

An interesting example of late Soviet commercial art (no, that’s not an oxymoron) is this one, the cover to the literature for the SP-88 concrete pile cutter, from 1989.  The array of cubes on the cover represents square concrete piles; the one in the lower left hand corner has been cut.  An interesting graphic presentation.

More information on this machine: