Device to Load Materials into a Furnace for Melting
The Charging Machine for Vacuum Melting Furnaces.
Hereinafter called the Charger.
Melting metals in vacuum requires a device to put in materials to be melted without releasing the vacuum.
This basic idea for a new type charger had it's beginnings at 100 Indel Avenue in 1967 when a single person did all the drawings for a new company called Cragmet located in the Inductotherm building. Cragmet was actively engaged constructing a 15,000 pound vacuum melting facility for Special Metals where we were using a 15-ton hydraulic crane for most of the lifting.
The #9 furnace facility was designed under my watchful eyes at the offices of Venetta Engineering in Warren, Ohio. The contract to build this facility was given to Ajax Magnethermic but John Logan, president of Ajax, decided that we would have to sub contract the housing and vacuum system to Airco Temescal. Temescal had an office near Philadelphia run by Reese DeHaven and his sidekick Vince Flynn who were responsible for the details of the design.
The charger was typical of many built to date but the valve that isolated the charger from the melting chamber was much larger than the ones used before, AND this large valve was in the face of hell just above the molten metal. Jack Huntington and I went round and round as to the best way to solve this problem but in the end went back to the old way.
When International Nickel wanted a 15-ton furnace in Kentucky in early 1968 I asked Jene Shrock to study the Pettibone hydraulic crane as a model for a new type charger. He completed most of this design with details by other draftsmen who were borrowed from Venetta to work in Rancocas.
The first charger of the type was put in service at Certified Alloys in Long Beach, California before the final construction was completed.
Another was installed for Armco Steel before the Russian job was finished.
The most interesting modification was installed in Chicago for Western Electric.
We built another type charger for Cannon Muskegon and Howmet that featured a large vibrator fed with a drum that looked like a cement mixer. If someone has a photograph please send it.
There were quick ways to insert a thermocouple for measuring temperature and a device to take a sample.
When Robert Klingerman and I arrived in Moscow in the dead of winter in early 1973 we stayed at the Metropole Hotel near Red Square. There was an engraved note on the top edge of the building that read in rough translation. "After building s new building I can see better ways of doing it next time."
In 2004 not yet the age of 73, I am ready to sit down with any of you that need a better mousetrap.