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In The Engineer’s Pictorial Survey of 1961 issue, published around 50 years ago today, readers were shown three pieces of innovative heavy mechanical equipment that had made waves in the engineering industry that year.

The first performed a new hot-milling method for steel sheet. ‘With present-day severe demands regarding the quality of steel sheet, it is of the greatest importance to remove all scale and surface defects from ingots before rolling,’ the article began, before introducing a ‘hot-peeling’ machine designed to satisfy this requirement better than was previously possible.

The hot-milling method, the article explains, ‘avoids cooling the ingot after stripping and so saves time and fuel, as well as obviating the risk of splits or cracks’. The hot-peeling machine pictured worked with ingots weighing up to 5,000kg; had a feed rate of up to 3m per minute; and featured a 2m-diameter cutter with a peripheral speed of 500m per minute. It also had a tilting device that permitted each face to be machined in turn.

Pictured alongside was a ‘continuously operating 4,500-tonne sheathing press developed by Hydraulik of Duisburg, in co-operation with Siemens-Schuckert-werke, Berlin-Erlangen’, which was designed to process aluminium sheathed cables.

‘Aluminium sheathed cables are lighter than those sheathed with lead but a higher extruding temperature is required, which can damage the insulation when the press is stopped for inserting a new metal slug, as may be necessary if a long length of cable is required,’ the article informs. ‘To release the pressure also gives rise to a ‘neck’ in the sheath, a possible source of mechanical weakness.’

The 4,500-tonne sheathing press combated these potential difficulties through using an inventive extrusion process:

‘Aluminium at 400 to 450°C is extruded into a die floating between an auxiliary ram and a hydraulic counter-cylinder. A reservoir of metal is created in the die under the auxiliary ram, which allows extrusion to continue while a new slug is being inserted. During this procedure a non-return valve prevents metal flowing back into the main cylinder.’

The final piece of heavy machinery featured was a lathe for workpieces of up to 250 tonnes, with a maximum turning diameter of 4,600mm and a maximum length between centres of 20,000mm. Judging from its dimensions, this lathe was quite a leviathan:

‘Made by HA Waldrich, Siegen, the machine weighs 570 tonnes and occupies a space of 332 cubic metres. It is powered by a Ward-Leonard-controlled motor with a speed range of 15:1 driving through four mechanical gears to give a range of spindle speeds of 1 to 40 rpm, as well as a creeping speed of 0.1rpm. The feed can be varied between 0.3 and 400mm per minute.’

Featuring a maximum torque at the faceplate of 6×106 kg-cm, this lathe boasted impressive specifications for its time. It had a 32m-long and 5m-wide bed with four ways and subdivided into six sections for transport, as well as two front and one rear saddles.

Archive feature: Innovative heavy mechanical equipment makes a splash

In The Engineer’s Pictorial Survey of 1961 issue, published around 50 years ago today, readers were shown three pieces of innovative heavy mechanical equipment that had made waves in the engineering industry that year.

The first performed a new hot-milling method for steel sheet. ‘With present-day severe demands regarding the quality of steel sheet, it is of the greatest importance to remove all scale and surface defects from ingots before rolling,’ the article began, before introducing a ‘hot-peeling’ machine designed to satisfy this requirement better than was previously possible.

The hot-milling method, the article explains, ‘avoids cooling the ingot after stripping and so saves time and fuel, as well as obviating the risk of splits or cracks’. The hot-peeling machine pictured worked with ingots weighing up to 5,000kg; had a feed rate of up to 3m per minute; and featured a 2m-diameter cutter with a peripheral speed of 500m per minute. It also had a tilting device that permitted each face to be machined in turn.

Pictured alongside was a ‘continuously operating 4,500-tonne sheathing press developed by Hydraulik of Duisburg, in co-operation with Siemens-Schuckert-werke, Berlin-Erlangen’, which was designed to process aluminium sheathed cables.

‘Aluminium sheathed cables are lighter than those sheathed with lead but a higher extruding temperature is required, which can damage the insulation when the press is stopped for inserting a new metal slug, as may be necessary if a long length of cable is required,’ the article informs. ‘To release the pressure also gives rise to a ‘neck’ in the sheath, a possible source of mechanical weakness.’

The 4,500-tonne sheathing press combated these potential difficulties through using an inventive extrusion process:

‘Aluminium at 400 to 450°C is extruded into a die floating between an auxiliary ram and a hydraulic counter-cylinder. A reservoir of metal is created in the die under the auxiliary ram, which allows extrusion to continue while a new slug is being inserted. During this procedure a non-return valve prevents metal flowing back into the main cylinder.’

The final piece of heavy machinery featured was a lathe for workpieces of up to 250 tonnes, with a maximum turning diameter of 4,600mm and a maximum length between centres of 20,000mm. Judging from its dimensions, this lathe was quite a leviathan:

‘Made by HA Waldrich, Siegen, the machine weighs 570 tonnes and occupies a space of 332 cubic metres. It is powered by a Ward-Leonard-controlled motor with a speed range of 15:1 driving through four mechanical gears to give a range of spindle speeds of 1 to 40 rpm, as well as a creeping speed of 0.1rpm. The feed can be varied between 0.3 and 400mm per minute.’

Featuring a maximum torque at the faceplate of 6×106 kg-cm, this lathe boasted impressive specifications for its time. It had a 32m-long and 5m-wide bed with four ways and subdivided into six sections for transport, as well as two front and one rear saddles.

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