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David Colville and Sons: 1881 Description of Works

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Note: This is a sub-section of David Colville and Sons


Dalzell Steel Works, Motherwell -[1]

These extensive works, belonging to the firm of Mr. D. Colville, which have been in course of construction for the last twelve months commenced operations last week.

The works comprise thirty-two Siemens gas producers, with large wrought-iron over-head conducting tubes for the gas. One main lends to the melting department and another to the reheating furnace of the mill department. The melting shop contains four 12-ton Siemens steel melting furnaces, capable of producing 500 tons of steel ingots weekly, and one accessory-combined sand and manganese furnace.

The ingots are handed over to the mill department by two steam cranes, capable of lifting 6 and 10 tons respectively, made by Mr Grieve, Motherwell. The ingots are then reheated in two large gas furnaces, and reduced from 14 inches thick to slabs of four or five inches in thickness by a powerful steam hammer, made by Messrs R. Harvey and Co, Glasgow, the cylinder of which is 33 inches diameter, by 8ft stroke. The anvil consists of a huge iron casting weighing about 140 tons, mounted by a smaller one with a steel face - in all, weighing over 150 tons. The weight of tup, piston, and rod is 12 tons; and with a working steam pressure of 80lb per square inch, the hammer is capable of giving a blow considerably over 400 foot tons.

The slabs thus consolidated and cut into sizes suited for the plates required are again reheated in other three large Siemens gas furnaces and then passed through the plate mill. In a central position of the mill floor are placed a pair of powerful Ramsbottom reversing mill engines, made by Messrs Turnbull, Grant and Jack, Canal Basin Foundry. The cylinders are 40-inch diameter by 4ft 6in, worked with 80lb of steam. The engines are fitted with the Allan link motion, and are placed under the driver's easy control by means of steam and cateract reversing cylinders. On the right hand side of the driver is placed the plate mill, with two pairs of rolls 8 ft. long by 28-in. diameter, the one pair being chilled, the other grain, and is capable of rolling plates up to 93 in. in width, by almost any length and thickness. On the left hand side is placed a 27-inch bar mill consisting of three pairs of rolls, and capable of rolling the heaviest sections of angle, bars, bulb, T, beams &c . Both mills are from the workshops of Messrs. Turnbull, Grant, and Jack, and like the engines are of the most massive proportions throughout, the forgings and gearing being almost wholly of Siemens steel.

The entire plant, for design and workmanship, is an excellent example of the most modern rolling mill practice, and the performance is proving highly satisfactory. The machine for shearing the plates to the exact dimensions required is also of a massive and powerful description, made by Messrs. Turnbull, Grant, and Jack. The steel shearing blades are 10 ft. in length with a stroke of 12 in. and capable of shearing steel plates 1 1/2 in. in thickness by 7 ft. broad through at one stroke. The machine has also combined a scrap shears, and is driven by a combined steam engine of 16 in. cylinders by 20 in. stroke, working with 80 lb. steam. The same company have also made for the bar mill side a powerful hot sawing machine, driven by a pair of 8 in. cylinder engines capable of cross sawing to the lengths required the heaviest class of billets, bars, and beams.

There are four boilers for supplying steam to the various machinery of combined flue and multitubular type, constructed entirely of Siemens steel by Messrs. A. and W. Smith and Co, Eglinton Engine Works, and are worked at a pressure of 80lb. The chemical and mechanical testing houses adjoin the works. The testing machine made by Messrs. Joshua Buckton and Co., Leeds, is capable of testing up to 50 tons on the piece, the whole operation being entirely done by steam power.

The roofing covers an area of over 5,490 square yards, is constructed entirely of wrought iron with galvanised corrugated sheet iron covering, and supported on cast iron columns.

The works will occupy about fourteen acres of ground.



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Sources of Information

  1. Colliery Guardian 1881, Pg 307