The Book - Bart Beck

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About Bart Beck

THE PARSONS TURBINE

My responsibilities had changed, by the time that the additions were made, in the turbine room. I had been put in charge of that part of that part of the mill, so I therefore, took charge of the installation of the new machines. We were able to engage the services of a real fine Erection Engineer from the Parsons Company, in England, and I was able to put together a good crew, so the work of erecting the unit went along smoothly.

One of our big problems was that when they dismantled the machine, at Dearborn, it was replaced by another turbine having different steam pressure requirements, so we did not get the generator that it was originally connected to, and also, when it was dismantled, it was Ford's intention to scrap it to their steel furnaces. Because of that, there was not a whole lot of care exercised in taking it apart. Many of the bolts were cut off with a torch and many more were lost.

We were fortunate that all of the casing bolts and nuts were with it and they were all in good condition. It would have been a serious situation if any of those casing bolts, or nuts, had been missing or damaged. They were special, hollow bolts, about three inches in diameter and the nuts weighed about thirty pounds each. All of the threads were the Whitworth pattern which is not compatible with anything in this country.

I think that I should describe those casing bolts, a little more fully. The reason that they were hollow was that, to install them, the nut was first turned down only hand tight, then a carbon electrode, connected to an Arc Welder, was inserted into the cavity. Then current was applied in the amount, and for the period of time that was shown on a chart that the Erection Engineer, Ernie Tate, brought with him, from England, and left with me.

When the prescribed time had expired, the electrode was removed and the nut was turned the number of flats that were also shown on the chart. When the bolt cooled and shrunk, the nut was tight. The exact procedure was reversed when the nuts were removed, to dismantle the machine.

The company bought an old 4000 KW Westinghouse generator and had it rewound for our voltage (2300) so we not only had to erect a machine without all of it's pieces, we had to erect one whose major components did not match. We did, however, get it assembled and it turned out to be an excellent machine. It had several features that I consider to be superior to American machines, one in particular was the throttle valve. That valve was opened and held open by pressure from the machine's own oil system, so that if, for any reason, the oil pressure failed, the valve would close and shut off the steam to the unit.

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