The Best Way to Celebrate Your 120th Birthday is With a New Slide Bar Part

On our Engineering at Vulcan page, we posted this general arrangement of the Vulcan #2 dated 1887.

2-Steam-Pile-Hammer-1887
The first extant layout of the Vulcan #2 Hammer, dated 9 February 1887. It’s probably the first extant layout of the Warrington-Vulcan hammer. Until about World War I, it was common practice for Vulcan to lay out the general arrangement and then the shop produce much of the hammer from just that drawing. It’s an indication of both the skill and the decision making ability of those actually producing the product, and also probably of the involvement of those doing the design work.

Little did we suspect that we’d need that drawing, but then these photos from Crofton Diving of Portsmouth, VA, arrived:

The hammer in question is Vulcan S/N 116, originally sold to the Florida East Coat Railroad (not far from the West Palm Beach facility) in 1897.  The distinctive “open” slide bar design was changed about that time to what is on virtually every Warrington-Vulcan and Super-Vulcan hammer made since.  Vulcan Foundation Equipment  was able to make the spare parts Crofton required from the original detail drawings.

“Planned obsolescence” wasn’t the Vulcan way in 1897 or afterwards, which is why a 120-year old product is still driving pile and being useful to the contractor.

DSCN2960
Crofton Diving at work: the Crofton I barge driving piles at a marina, Norfolk, VA, 2009.  The pile driving rig is using swinging leaders.
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ZWAVE

ZWAVE was Vulcan’s foray into the wave equation program field. It was an outgrowth of research that dated back to the late 1970’s on the magnitude of impact forces of its hammers on pile tops, so as to estimate both the loads on the equipment and the stresses on the piles. The first tangible result of this was a method and computer program based on numerical methods applied to semi-infinite pile theory; this was presented at the Offshore Technology Conference in 1987.

It became clear, however, that such a solution would not be as comprehensive as necessary, so ZWAVE was developed. Developed for MS-DOS computers, it’s “Preliminary Trial Release” (beta version) was released in 1987. The two proper releases (1.0 and 1.1) were done in 1988, after which time there was some work done the program but it had no further releases.  (The user’s manual for 1.0 can be downloaded here.)

Also in 1988 was the paper describing the program, “A New Type of Wave Equation Analysis Program,” presented at the Third International Conference on the Application of Stress-Wave Theory to Piles in Ottawa, Ontario, in May 1988. This paper is available in PDF format and can be downloaded by clicking the link below.

Click here to download “A New Type of Wave Equation Analysis Program”

Unfortunately ZWAVE’s copyright status makes it impossible to make the program available for download. The paper, however, shows many of the advanced features of the program which were both referenced by later authors and included in later wave equation programs.

Abstract for “A New Type of Wave Equation Analysis Program”

This paper describes a new wave equation analysis program called ZWAVE, which is a program specifically for external combustion hammers. The program is described in detail, the discussion dealing with topics concerning the program such as 1) the numerical method the program uses to integrate the wave equation, which is different from most other wave equation programs; 2) the modelling process of both cushioned and cushionless hammers; 3) the automated generation of mass and spring values for both hammer and pile; 4) the method of dealing with plastic cushions; 5) the use of a recently developed model for computing shaft resistance during driving; 6) the computation and generation of values based on basic soil properties such as shear modulus, Poisson’s Ratio and soil density; 7) the completely interactive method of feeding data to the program; 8) the method used to compute the anticipated rebound and the energy used to plastically deform the soil; and 9) the format of the interactive input of the program and the program’s output. Sample problems for the program, along with comparison of the program results with data gathered in the field, are presented.

Vulcan Vibratory Hammers and Vibratory Technology

By World War II, Vulcan’s air/steam hammer line dominated its production and revenue stream. Of all of the attempts Vulcan made to diversify is pile hammer line after that time, probably the most successful was its line of vibratory pile hammers.

Vibratory pile driving equipment represented a major departure for Vulcan, but it also represents an interesting technology in its own right. In addition to recounting Vulcan’s experience, we have a wide variety of items on vibratory technology in general:

Need a field service manual for your Vulcan vibratory hammer? Or other information. Much of that is contained in the Vulcanhammer.info Guide to Pile Driving Equipment, information about which is here.

Vulcan High-Frequency Vibratory Hammers

The mid-1980’s were lean years at Vulcan. The offshore market was still down, the aftermath of the collapse of oil prices earlier in the decade. Vulcan’s own diesel program had to be stopped, plagued by design and manufacturing problems and an overvalued US Dollar. The vibratory hammer program was going reasonably well but the market was competitive. Vulcan had reached the point where it had effectively closed its own manufacturing facility and farmed out what was left.

It was in this gloomy situation that Vulcan designed and produced one of the most innovative products it had ever produced, the 400 vibratory hammer, the first of Vulcan’s high-frequency machines.

High frequency (~2400 RPM, not to be confused with the ~7200 RPM resonant machines) vibratory drivers had been produced in Europe. Depending upon the soil conditions and configuration of the pile, the vibrations used to drive or extract the pile can also be transmitted to neighbouring structures. Since European contractors drove piles more frequently in close quarters with sensitive structures than their American counterparts, European vibratory manufacturers produced high frequency machines first. Their higher frequency, combined with lower amplitude for the dynamic force, reduce the transmitted vibrations through most soils.

Vulcan’s rationale for a high frequency machine, however, was somewhat different. The first impetus for the 400 was the development of aluminium sheet piling, which made development of a driver smaller than the 1150 attractive. MKT had already developed a medium-frequency small machine (the V-2) to drive aluminium sheet piling, but the machine a) weighed over a US ton and b) had a clamp suited to steel piling, which mangled the heads of aluminium sheets.

What was needed was a lighter machine whose clamp was easier on the pile. Vulcan’s interpretation of the theoretical data led it to believe that a high frequency machine would drive the piles (which was certainly the case with the lighter sheeting sections.) The result was the first 400 vibratory hammer, designed and built in the summer of 1987.

The 400 had several innovative features:

  • A one piece gear-eccentric, machined out of plate with the eccentric weight burned out. The gear teeth were a much smaller pitch than their medium frequency counterparts, a feature replicated on the “A” series machines four years later. The small pitch ran more quietly an dispensed with the need for surface hardening.
  • A clamp that was burned out of plate. The cylinder bolted to it used the flat end of the rod as the movable jaw. This only left a shallow round dent in the sheeting when clamped.
  • The “U” configuration which wrapped around the exciter case and transmitted the force from the crane to the pile during extraction. This and other features were subject to U.S. Patent 4,819,740. (This patent has been a nuisance to Vulcan’s competitors for long time, cited in several patents from inventors at HPSI, APE, J&M, ICE and MGF.)
  • It was the first Vulcan pile driving machine to completely dispense with castings.

The result was a machine that weighed only 1100 lbs.–half of the MKT V-2–and still drove the piles successfully.

 

 

Vulcan’s Medium Frequency Vibratory Hammers

In 1984 Vulcan re-entered the vibratory hammer market with the introduction of the 1150 vibratory hammer. This hammer made its debut on a project in Bangor, Maine for Cianbro Construction. More suited for the American market and adequately powered, these machines were far more successful than the Vulcor hammers had been.

The technology used was pretty typical for vibratory hammers of the era, including the large-pitch teeth gears bolted to cast steel eccentrics, 355 mm (14″) throat width for American-style sheeting installation, Volvo hydraulic piston motors (for the high pressure units; vane style motors were used on the low pressure 1150,) and a clamp with an industrial style cylinder bolted on to push the movable jaw into the fixed jaw. Both jaws had two parallel sets of teeth with a gap in between to accommodate the interlocks on the sheet piles, which enabled the hammer to drive two sheets at a time.

Vulcan produced three sizes of medium frequency hammers, the 1150, 2300 and 4600. The size designated the eccentric moment of the hammer in inch-pounds. All of the hammers rotated at 1600 RPM.

Vulcan used the HPSI power pack for its vibratory hammer throughout the 1980’s. (One of these is shown on the flatbed trailer in the 4600 photo below.) This power pack was simple and reliable, using air controls (as opposed to the electric controls used by competitors such as ICE and later APE.

Note: if you’re looking for service and other technical information on Vulcan vibratory hammers, take a look at the Vulcanhammer.info Guide to Pile Driving Equipment.

Below: a 2300 on the job driving h-beams in Portsmouth, Virginia, in 1990. The contractor was Tidewater Construction. A diesel hammer can be heard driving piles in the background for part of the video.

Below: the 2300L extracting soldier beams in Atlanta, Georgia, in December 1990. The fact that these machines can both drive and extract piling without modification is part of their appeal.

Below: a video of the installation of bearings in the 2300L, and a little “tour” of PACO’s yard.

The “A” Series Vibratories

In 1991 Vulcan introduced the “A” series of hammers (1150A, 2300A and 4600A) series of hammers. The biggest changes were a) the abandonment of the Morse shear fenders and b) the complete reconfiguration of the gear and eccentric design, inspired by information obtained from the Soviets. The first “A” series hammer was a 2300A, first used on a job by Agate Construction in New Jersey.

Vulcan also began to manufacture its own power packs, where it was able to make many technological advances.

Foster Units

One of Vulcan’s more interesting ventures in the 1990’s was the private label manufacture of a line of vibratory hammers for L.B. Foster in Pittsburgh. The first hammer to be produced was a replica of Foster’s existing 1800 unit, but it became apparent that this unit was very expensive to produce. Vulcan then designed a line of medium frequency vibratory hammers, the 1050, 2100 and 4200 hammers. With the combination of Vulcan’s and Foster’s experience in vibratory hammer design and manufacture, this was the best line of medium-frequency vibratory hammers that Vulcan ever produced.

Some general arrangements of the Foster hammers are here.

After the Acquisition

After it was acquired by Cari Capital, the company continued to support the line; however, it was left behind when Vulcan Foundation Equipment acquired the air/steam hammer line in 2001. It was ultimately sold at auction the following year.  Current service and support for these units is furnished by Pile Hammer Equipment.

Uraga/Vulcor Vibratory Hammer

Vulcan’s first venture into the vibratory market took place in the 1960’s with the introduction of the Uraga electric vibratory hammer from Japan, which Vulcan marketed as the Vulcor Vibratory Hammer.

Vibratory pile driving technology had been developed in the Soviet Union. One of the first countries to pick up the technology was Japan. With its volcanic soils, it is an ideal place for a vibratory hammer to be used.

Most early Japanese vibratory hammers (which are described some here) followed the Soviet pattern of electric motor(s) driving eccentrics through a chain drive system. (An example of this kind of design is shown here.) This unimaginative application of the technology prompted one Soviet trade official to describe the Japanese as “not very good students.”

The Uraga/Vulcor machine was a departure in that Uraga reversed the rotor and stator on the electric motors and positioned one motor inside of each eccentric. This resulted in a vibrator with a more direct drive than has been seen before or since, making for an efficient construction and operation.

uraga-vh1
Uraga VHD-1 model, with only one “stack” of eccentrics.

Unfortunately the width of the machine clashed with the normal American practice of setting the sheets before driving, which requires either that the vibratory hammer be narrow enough (less than 355 mm) at the throat or use an extension (which adds to both the vibrating mass and hanging weight of the hammer.) Some Uraga machines also suffered from misalignment of the eccentric bearings, a function in part of the “modular” construction of the machines (to increase the number of eccentrics, it was simply necessary to add another “stack” to the unit.

All of these difficuties, combined with American contractors’ aversion to electrics on the job, put the Vulcor at a disdavantage to other vibratories coming into the U.S. By the time Vulcan moved to West Palm Beach, the Vulcor programme was pretty much over and it would be another twenty years before Vulcan would attempt a vibratory hammer again.

Vulcor-VHD2-California
The Uraga VHD-2 (with two eccentric stacks) at a power plant project in California. The hydraulic clamp, although primitive by modern standards, was an advance over the “lever-style” clamps use by many other Soviet and Japanese units. Even Foster was still using lever-type clamps in their units in the early 1990’s.

More on the Uraga/Vulcor Hammer:

Vulcan Diesel Hammers

At one point or another in its history, Vulcan attempted to produce or market every type of pile driver made. Probably the persistently least successful type were the diesel hammers. Vulcan’s failure to manufacture and/or market a widely accepted diesel hammer was a significant long-term problem for the company.

Nevertheless diesel hammers are an important and interesting type of impact pile driver. This section of vulcanhammer.info discusses diesel hammers in general and Vulcan’s several attempts to enter the market.

Russian Diesel Hammers at Vulcan: Series I and II

Vulcan’s last foray into diesel hammers was, in many ways, one of the most interesting ventures in the company’s history. It was certainly one of the most involved.

In 1987 Vulcan first met with Russian (then Soviet) trade representatives in Washington concerning marketing Vulcan’s offshore hammer line in the Soviet Union. It’s interesting to note that the Soviet trade office was just around the corner from the hotel where Ronald Reagan was shot in 1981. The Soviet Union had enormous oil and gas reserves and, not to be outdone by the Chinese, were beginning to solicit foreign assistance in exploiting these resources. (Even having lost the other republics in the break-up of the Soviet Union, Russia remains rich in hydrocarbon reserves and a major producer.)

The Soviets had other ideas. Never much on spending their hard currency on lining American corporations’ pockets (they weren’t well endowed with hard currency to start with,) they invited Vulcan’s people to Moscow with another objective: to convince Vulcan to market Soviet pile driving products.

Vulcan’s personnel made the trip in April 1988, and were regaled with several interesting types of equipment, including the vibratory hammers (native to the country) and the concrete pile cutter. But the most significant products were the Russian diesel hammers, which they demonstrated to Vulcan’s personnel at the Central Testing Facility (TsNIIP) in Ivanteevka, northeast of Moscow. (In addition to scientific testing, this facility also supplemented this activity by raising pigs.) These were the water cooled variety, produced at their plant in Sterlitamak, near the Urals. (More information about these can be found here.  Vulcan personnel also went beyond Ivanteevka to Zagorsk to visit Russian Orthodox Church personnel.)

Although the hammer was simple and ruggedly built (something Vulcan liked to see in a product) the water cooling was a problem. American contractors never took to water cooling diesel hammers, even though it was certainly, in theory at least, the best way to do so. It was an obstacle the Japanese such as Kobe and Mitsubishi had to overcome when they marketed their hammers in the US in the 1970’s, and they largely did so with very competitive pricing. Neither Vulcan nor the Soviets, the latter working through their trade organisation, were prepared to really get the details of such an arrangement, and so Vulcan returned to the US empty handed. (Vulcan did get a chance to propose their offshore hammers, but this too came to nothing.)

At this point all seemed at a dead end, but by 1991 the Soviet Union was unraveling and Vulcan had established meaningful contact with some of the people it has met three years earlier. Given the economic conditions in Russia and Vulcan’s own priorities, the emphasis had shifted to Vulcan acquiring Russian equipment and technology, and the diesel hammers were high on the list.

The following year Vulcan personnel visited Russia again with the idea of acquiring the Sterlitamak hammer. Sterlitamak was the only Russian organisation which actively exported diesel hammers, and the pricing they had proposed (facilitated by the slide of the ruble) would give Vulcan what it was looking for: a proven diesel hammer, economically priced, which would allow it to repeat L.B. Foster’s blitz with the Kobe hammers twenty years earlier. (This kind of blitz was actually carried out by some of Vulcan’s competitors with the Chinese made hammers later in the decade and into the new millennium.)

Sterlitamak, however, got cold feet at the idea of selling their product at the price they originally proposed, so Vulcan was forced to look elsewhere for equipment. In doing so they discovered that not only did other manufacturers exist, but that they produced air cooled hammers, which is what Vulcan was looking for to start with. The first plant Vulcan visited was in Lyubertsy, south-east of Moscow, shown in the video below.

Vulcan purchased a few of their 2500 kg ram hammers. Below: the “before” (left, September 1993) and “after” (right) of the Lyubertsy manufactured diesel hammers. The biggest challenge (as with Nilens) was to move the fuel tanks (one on each side of the hammer, like the old XJ6 Jaguars) up and flatten them to get the hammer into 26″ leaders. Vulcan rechristened it the V25 Series 1 hammer.

Luybertsy-Diesel-Portrait V25-Series-I-Diesel

Vulcan also acquired 1800 kg ram hammers from a plant in Podolsk, south-west of Moscow.

Almost two years later Vulcan visited a military plant in Bryansk, which produced equipment for its railroad troops, as shown below.

SO-215-Front-View
A front view of the largest hammer designed for Vulcan, with a 7500 kg ram (Vulcan V75 Series II.) The jaws designed were stub jaws for U-type leaders. The pile cap arrangement below was a standard Russian type of arrangement using a large wood cushion and fabricated cap. Vulcan never intended to use this, but their own standard diesel cap system.

From this plant Vulcan purchased some 1250 kg ram hammers.

What Vulcan ended up with were hammers which were economical enough, but weren’t intended for export. (They suffered from a common Soviet problem: well executed design, but not so good execution in manufacturing. The Bryansk hammers, being from a military plant, were the best.) Vulcan was required to make modifications to the Podolsk and Bryansk hammers as they did with the Lyubertsy ones.

At this point things went awry on Vulcan’s end. Vulcan certainly did manage to deal with the technical and quality issues in front of it. But it could not come to an internal consensus on how to market them; the Kobe model wasn’t universally accepted. In the midst of this Vulcan’s other problems took precedence and the Series I program fell by the wayside.

Vulcan never intended the Series I hammers to be the last word on this. It commissioned the design of an air cooled “Series II” of hammers which ranged in size from 1250 kg ram to 7500 kg ram. Vulcan’s idea was that they would have a hammer which could be built in Russia, the US or wherever manufacturing was the best. The series design was completed but none were ever built, and so Vulcan never got the chance to overcome its past history and bring a viable and economical diesel hammer to market.

Vulcan IC-30/30D/33D Diesel Hammers

With Nilens gone and the LPG hammer unsuccessful, in 1978 Vulcan found itself without any kind of internal combustion hammer. It passed up the opportunity to purchase the Link-Belt diesel hammer line and attempted to develop its own. The effort that resulted was the IC-30/30D/33D hammer line.

Vulcan’s starting point was the Nilens N-33 hammer, which was equivalent to a Delmag D-12. In the course of development, however, Vulcan attempted to make “improvements” on the Nilens designs. Most of these, unfortunately–the use of a single-piece casting for both cylinders, ram and anvil and others–represented an attempt to adapt the diesel hammer to Vulcan’s customary manufacturing methods. It was mostly these which proved the downfall of the line.

The first hammer, the IC-30, was completed in 1980. After some testing the hammer was released for the market, and the name was soon changed to the 30D or 33D to get away from the “IC” (too much like “ICE” or International Construction Equipment for Vulcan dealers’ tastes.) It achieved some successes, but its weaknesses made it expensive for Vulcan to keep it in the field. Compounding the technical problems was the strong U.S. dollar at the time, which made the German made Delmag relatively cheap.

All of these contributed to the eventual decision to recall the hammer. By the mid-1980’s Vulcan was once again out of the diesel market. By that time the vibratory hammers were achieving success and Vulcan’s product line was broadened in another way.

The one spin-off that survived the hammer–and indeed Vulcan Iron Works itself–was the universal/filler cap system.  This is currently supported by Vulcan Foundation Equipment.  Information (and the field service manual) for this hammer is found in the Vulcanhammer.info Guide to Pile Driving Equipment.

Nilens

One of Vulcan’s more interesting–if not necessarily most profitable–business partnerships was with the Nilens concern in Belgium. This page outlines the company and its product line.

Note: We have extensive technical information available on the Nilens product line, especially the diesel hammers. Click here if you would like to contact us about this.

The Company

When Vulcan began to deal with Charles Nilens S.P.R.L., they were located in Vilvorde (Vilvoorde) at 52, Avenue de la Station. Vilvorde is north of Bruxelles (Brussels); it is the same city where William Tyndale, the first person to translate the Bible directly from the Greek and Hebrew into English, was executed for his activities in 1536. In the late 1960’s Nilens secured new offices at 7-14 Houtemstraat in Peuthy (Peutie), also in Vilvorde, and were then known as Materiel Nilens (MANIL) S.A.

Vulcan’s first agreement with Nilens came in June 1963, where Nilens agreed to be Vulcan’s distributor in the then European Common Market’s six countries: the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, and West Germany. In September of the same year the two companies signed an arrangement whereby Nilens would manufacture under license the Vulcan product line. At the time Nilens’ managing director was Jean Willy Nilens. Vulcan also distributed portions of Nilens’ product line in the U.S., as will be described below.

The early years of the relationship were exciting, with numerous trips to Europe by Vulcan executives (complete with silly questions by travel agents) and with a visit by a Belgian prince to Palm Beach.

Nilens for its part made a few Vulcan hammers under license, but the predominance of diesel hammers in Europe made the appeal of air/steam hammers limited.

The Product Line

Nilens-Size-Diagram
Basic dimensions for all three of these hammers. Shown is a very “European” configuration, strictly set up for the leaders in the back. The “Coupe B-B” is the dual-round rail configuration that Delmag made famous. The “Coupe A-A” shows a spud-type leader made up of two opposing channels. This construction was common in Russia; American contractors also employ H-Beams for this purpose. Also note the French and Flemish nomenclature. The linguistic division of Belgium is something that bedevils the country to the present.

Nilens’ product line broke down into four parts:

  • Single-acting diesel hammers, from Vulcan’s standpoint, the most important part of Nilens’ product line. Nilens produced three single acting diesel hammers:
    • N33, with a ram mass of 1250 kg and a rated energy of 3125 kg-m
    • N46, with a ram mass of 1800 kg and a rated energy of 4500 kg-m
    • N60, with a ram mass of 2400 kg and a rated energy of 6000 kg-m
  • “T” series double-acting air/steam hammers (left), similar to the MKT “B” series machines (9B3, 10B3, 11B3). These were primarily intended for installing sheet piling.
  • Impact pile extractors, held together using a cable wrap system (right). They were a superior extraction machine to Vulcan’s extractors, albeit more complex and expensive.
  • Pile driving rigs, with leader mast and carriage. This is more typical of European manufacturers (Junttan is a good modern example of this.)

Three of these are described below.

Nilens Diesel Hammers

Operation of Nilens Single-Acting Diesel Hammers

The piston, which in fact is the ram, is raised by the trip mechanism, which is attached to the hoist line. Air enters the cylinder as the piston uncovers the exhaust ports. When the trip mechanism makes contact with the cam, the piston is released automatically. The trip mechanism continues up until it is arrested and held by a spring loaded dog.


Diesel hammers are generally either of a cast construction (like the current Delmag hammers and their progeny) or fabricated (as with the Russian diesels or MKT.) Nilens (along with the older Delmags) was something of a hybrid; an iron ram rode in tubular steel cylinders, with a cast “sleeve” complete with cooling fins fabricated into the hammer around the combustion chamber. When Vulcan designed its own diesel hammers, it went to a cast lower cylinder, with uninspiring results.

The piston falls due to gravity and depresses the cam, which actuates the fuel pump. The fuel pump injects a measured amount of fuel oil into the concave top of the anvil.


The Nilens’ fuel pump was unique in that it used an internal cam/plunger instead of the external type common on Delmag and other fuel splash delivery systems. It was not a positive displacement pump either; it was a pressure compensated one, with fuel entering (and excess fuel returning) through a needle valve in the top of the pump. When manufactured properly, the pump worked well, but manufacturing and design variations were the chief weaknesses of an otherwise good diesel hammer.

The piston blocks the exhaust ports as it continues to fall. The cylinder is now a closed chamber, between the piston and anvil, and compression builds up. The convex end of the piston strikes the fuel oil in the top of the anvil and sprays it up into the hot compressed air in the compression chamber, which causes it to ignite. The resulting explosion drives the piston up and adds to the energy already delivered to the anvil by the impact of the piston. The piston uncovers the exhaust ports on the upstroke, permitting the exhaust gases to escape and fresh air to enter the cylinder for the next cycle. To lubricate the piston and cylinder wall, oil is automatically ejected from the reservoir in the top of the piston. The anvil is lubricated by four grease fittings.
nilens-cycle

Nilens-Sheeting
The Nilens hammer in its native environment, driving sheeting using European style leaders, putting it in front of the leads. An ideal setup for sheeting, but one that didn’t always catch on with American contractors.  Note the two ropes connected to the fuel pump. These rotated the needle valve on its threads and allowed it to move in and out, changing the amount of fuel sent back to the fuel tank and thus to the combustion chamber. It was also used to stop the hammer as well.

nilens-florida-a
A side view of an N33 hammer in another environment, namely the pines of South Florida. Nilens’ early adoption of an integrated starting device (as opposed to riding it on the back leader rails, as with the early Delmags) made it simpler to adapt the hammer to American box leaders.

vn-diesel-spd
The “VN-33” hammer, complete with American box leader rails, at Vulcan’s Special Products Division plant in West Palm Beach. Shown at the bottom of the hammer is the adapter to enable the hammer to use Vulcan accessories. This was not a terribly successful plan; a more sensible approach was to develop a universal/filler system, which Vulcan did for its own diesel hammers in the 1980’s.

Nilens “T” Series Double Acting Hammers

Nilens Pile Extractors

nilens-t3
A “T” series hammer in the test rack at the Vilvorde plant in 1966. There were five sizes of this hammer, ranging from the T0 (400 kg-m energy, 160 kg ram) to the T4 (3300 kg-m energy, 1400 kg ram.) As with the MKT hammers, it could be used to drive sheet piles using pants, and before the diesels became predominant it did that regularly. The hammer could also be used as a concrete breaker. Vulcan had limited success with the product in the U.S., but then again it didn’t fare much better with the DGH-900.
DSCN0780
Still available (2005): a Nilens T-1 hammer, S/N N-1247, at the yard of Rush and Parker, West Collingswood Heights, NJ. The hammer is fitted for use with American “U” type leaders.
nilens-extractor
The Nilens impact extractor. The central cylinder rode up and down on the guide tube, impacting at the top of the stroke. The “monkey on a stick” concept was also used by the Menck steam hammers, albeit in a driving mode.

Vulcan was able to sell and rent a number of Nilens diesel hammers in the U.S.; some of them were operational for many years. They ended up outlasting the company itself. In 1976 Willy Nilens fled to Spain; the company went into receivership, the product line was acquired by Intermat, and the Nilens concern passed into history.