Friday, September 30, 2016

Video of building a 4-cylinder, 4-6-4 British locomotive in the 1930s

Screenshot from Video
I like these old manufacturing videos because they consist of just manufacturing scenes. You don't have to watch "talking heads" talk about the usual platitudes such as "listening to our customers and fixing the problems," "process improvement," etc.

Some points of interest:
  • The frame is built up with thick plates rather than cast as one piece. "By 1930, the company was making one-piece locomotive beds with integral cylinders and cradle..." [Wikipedia]
  • I was surprised they were still using sledge hammers in the 1930s. I expected small forge hammers for small hammered forgings.
  • You do get to watch them build a big mold, pour the metal, and dismantle the mold and sand to free the casting for the inside cylinders.
  • The inside firebox is made of copper.
  • When were hardhats invented? When where they ubiquitously required?
  • Nobody is wearing glasses, let alone safety glasses. Did they have minimum vision requirements for their employees? Most of that work would not require 20/20 vision. But 20/200 might be a problem for at least some of the work.
  • They also show a drive wheel being cast. I assume there is some sort of marker for the hub and crank pin fillers. At first it struck me that they placed the plugs for the hub and crank pin rather causally. Then it struck me that the accuracy is provided by the machining, not the casting.
  • Judging by the crankshafts on the axle, this engine had four cylinders, two on the inside and two on the outside.
  • What is the guy who is playing chicken with the drop forge hammer doing every time he reaches in? He doesn't have enough time to do much.
  • 12:50   "Who will say now that the day of the craftsman is no more." If they thought the craftsman was dying in the 1930s, imagine what they would think about America today?
Looked around the net and it seems like it got derailed in 1951 due to a defective part, 15 people died and 35 are injured.

That is why ultrasound testing and other forms of non-evasive testing were invented so that each part can be tested for defects before it is used.

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