×
INTELLIGENT WORK FORUMS
FOR ENGINEERING PROFESSIONALS

Contact US

Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!

*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here

Generator Manufacture ceases
4

Generator Manufacture ceases

Generator Manufacture ceases

(OP)
Sorry this is late, well, sorry it has happened at all!

Another British manufacturer bites the dust. I did my student apprenticeship there, building transformers, switchgear, generators, motors and control systems. You cannot get training like that anymore!

https://www.loughboroughecho.net/news/local-news/2...

Training? I was just relating to a friend the other day that as a student, I was working in switchgear spares (you worked everywhere, I never cleaned the bathrooms, but came close), I found a customer order in my in-tray and a note on it on it from my boss, "see me"

I went to him with piece of paper, “What is that?” he asked. I had learnt by then not to be clever and say, ‘a piece of paper!’

“An order for a spare ‘Castell Key’” I said.

“And what is a Castell Key?” asked boss.

“Don’t know.” I replied.

"Correct reply, follow me.” He said. I followed him to the shop floor and we searched for a board equipped with Castell Keys, found one and I received a grounding in the device.

When we got back to the office he said to me, “They don’t teach you that in college do they?”

“What do I do with this?” I said, holding the order for a Castell Key.

“What have you learnt?” he asked.

“Having a spare Key might be dangerous?” I said.

“This is how we deal with it…” he said.

RE: Generator Manufacture ceases

Very sad.

Both my former workplaces are now vacant lots. One company had over 100 years of a presence in the community and employed over 2000 at their peak, the other over 30 years and employed over 800. I learned a lot at both companies beyond the engineering fundamentals from university

RE: Generator Manufacture ceases

Here's what my former workplace, back in Saginaw, Michigan, looks like now. This facility had been there since before World War One. I worked there for 14 years, from 1966 to 1980, in their R&D organization, first as a draftsman (summer job while in school), then as a machine designer and finally as a project engineer. The majority of the company was shut down and moved to North Carolina in 1982 and this facility was basically abandoned. Bits and pieces of it were leased-out to local small manufacturing companies but all but one left about 10 years ago and that last company is still there but only occupies a couple of the more modern buildings on one side of the property, the rest of the buildings were left empty. In 2013 the city declared the unoccupied buildings as derelict and ordered them razed in the name of public safety. When I heard about this I made it a point the next time I was back in Michigan to run up to Saginaw and check it out and get some pictures before it had disappeared completely.

The first photo shows where the main machine shops and the primary assembly floor was located:



April 2014 (Sony A65)

This photo shows the drawing office where I had worked most of those 14 years. The door on the far left was where our CAD room was located:



April 2014 (Sony A65)

We stopped by again last Summer and the site has been pretty much cleaned-up with only a couple of old office buildings remaining as it appears that the owners are still trying to lease some of that space:



August 2017 (Sony a6000)

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Generator Manufacture ceases

John Baker,
I can relate to that. A company I worked for in the UK, Simon Barron LTD., who made the animal feed equivalent of the products you used to make and earlier in their history competed with you. Closed down and for years on my visits to the UK , I would drive by the empty factory . On my last visit, the place was flat on the ground and front end loaders were picking up the pieces and placing them into dump trucks . The company had been in business since 1905 . For those that are interested I am including a link to a short history.
B.E.


https://www.gsia.org.uk/reprints/2007/gi200745.pdf

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: Generator Manufacture ceases

berkshire.... appreciated.

Dik

RE: Generator Manufacture ceases

And just so that you know, the company I worked for was a subsidiary of a British company, Baker Perkins LTD, headquartered in Peterborough, but it has since been acquired by a group from Newcastle and even that facility has now been closed (not sure if it met the same fate as did their American operation). However, through it all, at least my pension had been protected and I was able to collect it when I turned 65.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Generator Manufacture ceases

I used to know the name of the manufacturer of the turbines used at Pointe du Bois... they were a British outfit. The interesting thing is that the bearings are Lignum Vitae, a very hard durable wood, and are replaced with same. I have a few samples of the material; they used to use it as a bearing material for ship rudders. The turbines, last I heard, are still operating and over 100 years old.

Dik

RE: Generator Manufacture ceases

JohnRBaker

I joined a photography group on Meetup.com, and we visited the abandoned Harvey Woods Garment Factory out in Woodstock Ontario. I believe the building has been converted into affordable housing.







I looked up A.B.Ormsby Limited (Toronto). Their factory now is a bar on King Street. It turns out that Albert Benjamin Ormsby built a fancy estate out near my neighbourhood, so I will have to check it out.

--
JHG

RE: Generator Manufacture ceases

Dik,
When I worked for Barrons we used Lignum Vitae for hanger bearings in a lot of screw conveyors. It was quite commonly used in many low speed bearings in flour mills.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: Generator Manufacture ceases

Dik, one of the following perhaps?

Charles Parsons
English Electric
Metropolitan Vickers
British Thompson Houston
AEI / GEC

I grew up not far from the huge C.A. Parsons works at Heaton, Newcastle. It was similar in many ways to the Brush works, an old site with a proud history beginning early in the age of electricity, and sadly now also closed.

Reyrolle-Parsons was formed by a merger between two eponymous giants of the British electrical industry and became part of the NEI group when I was a kid, then in the 90's passed through the hands of Rolls-Royce and Siemens on its way to closure. At its height about 22,000 people were employed on one colossal site. A couple of links to the local paper for those interested in the history:

https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/lifestyle/nostalgi...

https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-ne...

RE: Generator Manufacture ceases

ScottyUK,
Reading through one of the links in the Parsons article you provided divulged another name from the past, what jumped out was “The George Cohen 600 Group Limited”. My Grandfather used to work for the 600 group in Bradford Yorkshire, from the 1930s until the late 1950s. He was a maintenance man there, upon his death I inherited his toolbox..
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: Generator Manufacture ceases

ScottyUK: Vickers kinda rings a bell, but, I'm not certain.

Dik

RE: Generator Manufacture ceases

Old machines then. smile I bet they're beautifully built.

RE: Generator Manufacture ceases

Scotty... likely pushing 120 years of solid use... and they were attractive... I cannot locate the pix I took of them.

Dik

RE: Generator Manufacture ceases

I was just to the Smithsonians in DC last week. I saw some generators that were pretty impressive for their time. One steam generator was 30 MW. It was a lot smaller than I expected but it wasn't attached to a boiler so maybe that was huge.

One of the things that I read about the displacement steam generators, which I never would have thought of, was that the dwell time of the steam in the piston affected the efficiency. A piston that operated quickly was more efficient due to the steam having less time to transfer heat into the piston walls.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.

RE: Generator Manufacture ceases

When these great factories fall down we feel so sorry and depressed. My first boss(managing director) was a graduate ( BSc -Engineering) of Imperial College in London in early 1930s and apprenticed at English Electric Transformer factory at Stafford(?) A couple of years back when I got a mail from Bushing Company UK management that they are closing down, I felt really sorry. I used to order bushings on them 30-40 years back and for the past couple of decades, I had no contact with them. But some how they found out my mail and send notice and I was moved.

But one thing we have to remember-there are factories of the same vintage and age going strong in certain pockets of the world- why they are surviving while all others are disappearing? eg Ludvika in Sweden, all Japanese factories -Hitachi,Toshiba,Mitsubishi. The major difference is that these units are ready to change - try new practices, procedures, inconvenient work norms etc, etc. They are not burdened with unreasonable labor unions, unsupportive banks and government and will never take stupid business risks. They (both management and labor) are ready to undergo painful changes so that they can survive and prosper.

RE: Generator Manufacture ceases

Another great place to see amazing pieces of machinery from the past is the 'Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation' in Dearborn, MI. We were there earlier this year and saw examples like this combination steam engine/generator built by Thomas Edison in 1891:


April 2018 (Sony a6000)


April 2018 (Sony a6000)


April 2018 (Sony a6000)


April 2018 (Sony a6000)

And speaking of Thomas Edison, below is a photo showing a slab of concrete that was poured for the museum groundbreaking ceremony in 1928. Edison grabbed the shovel that had just been used for the groundbreaking, walked out onto the wet cement and shoved it in. He then walked around to the front and wrote his name in the still wet cement. Henry Ford ordered that the shovel be left where it was and when the museum was completed, the slab of cement was then moved inside and placed in front of what was the original main entrance to the museum:


April 2018 (Sony a6000)

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Generator Manufacture ceases

The interesting part to me about the HF Museum is their collection of production equipment and the various displays of interesting machine setups. Whereas toolroom equipment is general enough to be useful seemingly forever, production machines are often too specialized to be worth saving so most go quickly to scrap. Even among the toolroom and common maintenance equipment in the museum there are many interesting setups, one of the large steam engines has the head off and a portable boring bar set ready to take a cut on the cylinder, the Wright Bros shop lathe has an engine block bolted to the cross slide for boring each cylinder....etc, etc.

Regarding the march of time, my father has some interesting pictures from his younger days as a traveling metallurgist including several taken within the Mesta Machinery and Bethlehem Steel plants. After seeing the scale that these plants were working on 50+ years ago I sometimes wonder if we could do similar in the US today.

RE: Generator Manufacture ceases

Yes, many of those displays are in 'Greenfield Village', a separate museum located next to the 'Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation', also in Dearborn, MI. This past April we didn't tour the Village as the weather was cold and rainy, and while the Henry Ford Museum is all under one roof, Greenfield Village consists of many different buildings, most of them the original historical structures that have been moved to this site. But it's basically an outdoor experience as you go from building to building spread over an 80 acre site.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Generator Manufacture ceases

If you are ever in Nagoya Japan you should visit the Toyoda museum. It goes into the history of weaving and innovations in looms.
The family got the money to start an auto company by selling patent rights to the British.
And nearly all of the old equipment runs.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
P.E. Metallurgy, Plymouth Tube

RE: Generator Manufacture ceases

My pre-university year (1986/1987) was spent at Lucas CAV Acton. Now sadly gone (the works and the company name). Some nice old pictures archived at that link. The "Prince of Darkness" made starters and alternators there, while the diesel business conducted R&D in the big new research building.

Steve

Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Eng-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Eng-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members! Already a Member? Login


Resources

Low-Volume Rapid Injection Molding With 3D Printed Molds
Learn methods and guidelines for using stereolithography (SLA) 3D printed molds in the injection molding process to lower costs and lead time. Discover how this hybrid manufacturing process enables on-demand mold fabrication to quickly produce small batches of thermoplastic parts. Download Now
Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM)
Examine how the principles of DfAM upend many of the long-standing rules around manufacturability - allowing engineers and designers to place a part’s function at the center of their design considerations. Download Now
Taking Control of Engineering Documents
This ebook covers tips for creating and managing workflows, security best practices and protection of intellectual property, Cloud vs. on-premise software solutions, CAD file management, compliance, and more. Download Now

Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close