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New Typc of Double-barrel Tuyere, Frequent Renewal of Oil and Thorough Maintenance Among Secrets of Success of Messrs. A.
Beddall's Fleet of Bedfords
UP to the present the employment of producer gas has been, for most operators, a way of supplementing normal working on petrol, or oil fuel, but in the case of Messrs. A. Beddall, Sheffield hauliers, this medium has been used substantially as a means for carrying on traffic that would otherwise have been drastically curtailed by fuel restrictions.
Three out of four of this firm's vehicles have been changed over to producer-gas operation by the installation of plant made by British Vehicle Producer Gas, Ltd., 120, Pall Mall, London, S.W.1, and these three are regularly running 1,000 miles a week each, whilst the remaining machine carries out local deliveries. All are Bedford 3-tonners.
One result of the experience gained has been the introduction by Mr. Beddall of a new type of tuyere. After the first conversion in the early part of this year, a water-cooled tuyere connected with the radiator was being used, but, unfortunately, on one occasion the tuyere burst, allowing all the water of the engine-cooling system to escape. The first intimation the driver had of trouble was' the cracking of the cylinder head. As a result, Mr. Beddall arranged with the B.V.P. Co. to
have a water-cooling tank supplied, and this he mounted on the off-side chassis member, rendering the tuyere cooling system entirely separate from and independent of that of the power unit.
As a further means for avoiding tuyere overheating, he determined, in addition, to cover the tuyere with fire clay brick. This was such a success that he considered dispensing altogether with water cooling of the tuyere. Looking ahead, he foresaw
obvious difficulties in the winter, as a, result of freezing, so he designed a
double-barrelled waterless tuyere in special-shaped brick of high heat resistance, which gave excellent results.
An advantage of the double-barrel design is that a start can be made with the top hole capped and the plant running on the bottorrt hole only..
Then, as clinker forms and causes • a local obstruction, the cap is changed • over and a fresh start made with the clean 'top hole. Regular runs of 400 miles were thus made possible without taking the fire out, the only attention needed being the addition of extra fuel. An improved quality of fireclay brick has recently been employed and this has proved capable of running up to 600 miles without declinkering.
The main long-distance run Mr. Beddall's vehicles undertake is with a load, sometimes amounting to 6 tons, of Whiteway's cider and wines from Wimple (Devon) to Sheffield, the vehicles, however, are also loaded on the outward journey. The round trip, which each makes twice weekly, is approximately 500 miles. For this 50 gallons of petrol were formerly used at a cost of 4 7s. 6d. Petrol is still employed for local journeys, during loading up, shanting, etc., and to assist on steep gradients.
A total of 15 gallons of petrol is consumed in this manner, costing £1 6s. 3d., whilst on the straightforward running, 6 cwt. of Progasite at 4s. 6d, per cwt. is burnt Fuel costs thus amount to £2 13s. 3d. for the standard journey, instead of £4 7s. 6c1.;
against this'is the fact that the i300miles take four or ,five hours longer and drivers are given increased wages for producer-gas work. Altogether there would not appear to be any substantial economy, but the use of solid fuel has the tremendous advantage that it permits Of an unlimited field of operation.
At the outset, some difficulty was experienced in eliminating abrasive substances from the gas, and the first vehicle to be converted covered only 6,000 miles before trouble arose from this cause. By particular attention to the question of filtering, however, the problem has been virtually solved-. The method used" is to fill the bottom of the cleaner, to a depth of 12 ins., with dry coke, and then. to pack the chamber with two deep sections of sisal. This is forced in very tightly and a 3-in. space is allowed between the packs. Experience shows that the top half if usually dustless, whilst the bottom half can often be used again. If cleaned at 500-mile intervals the present filters give complete satisfaction.
At the beginning of this year, when Mr. Beddall decided .to return to producer gas in order to carry on his long
distance work, he . approached Kennings, Ltd., of Sheffield, which concern fitted the B.V.P. plan t. After an adequate period of trial a second was converted in March and a third in April. The compression ratio Of the Bedford engines was standard ---about 61 to 1— andwhen. the Change-over was
made bulge-head pistons were fitted, with the result that the ratio was stepped up to-81. to 1. This gave a good return of power, but there were indications that undue stresses were being created. In consequence, flattop pistons were later substituted which reduced the' ratio to 71 to 1, Ibis giving a satisfactory power output, but at the same time producing a new smoothness of operation,
ft was in 1925 that Mr: Beddall first entered the road-haulage industry.
His first vehicle was a Ford Model T lorry, hut after two years' work he acquired a second machine and engaged two drivers. He was thus free to do his own repairs and canvass for business. Some years ago the Whiteways company, well-known producer of cider and wine, was experiencing difficulty through the railways not being able to give the speedy delivery desired to the North of England, and it was decided to send its products by road. This work was taken over by Messrs. Beddall and the carrying of Whiteways products in hogsheads and the return of the empties has, for some time past, formed a substantial portion of their traffic.
Before the -beginning of the war the fleet had grown to four vehicles in constant commission with an extra machine for use during overhauls, etc., hut at the outbreak of hostilities the spare was requisitioned by the military authorities. Curtailment of fuel supplies in the early days of the war meant difficulty in maintaining the service.s to the south-west, so other avenues were explored. Eventually a decision was taken to employ producer gas, and the B.V.P. plants now in use may be regarded as primarily responsible for keeping the three vehicles in constant, operation.
Being an experienced engineer Mr. Beddall carries out practically all his own repairs. In the maintenance of the gas apparatus he has the co-operation of Kennings, Ltd.
An interesting practice is that he changes the oil at 500-mile intervals, running on a fairly cheap grade of Shell, The underlying reason, he avers, is that producer gas causes the contamination of the sump oil with ammonia and sulphur which are -deleterious .to its lubricating efficiency. Therefore he considers it advisable to drain the sump after each trip.
Neglect is much to be deprecated in the-case of petrol vehicles, but it cannot be tolerated with producer-gas plant—a point which is sometimes irksome to the personnel concerned. In view of this fact and the increasing shortage of labour, Nit Beddall contends that there would be a great increase in the use of this solid fuel if there were service stations in each district that made available suitable
maintenance facilities. They would save much of the present need for cleaning. up the • plant and attending to the oil and generally would enable operators to avoid the unpopular, messy jobs that now arise at regular intervals. Without such assistance the closest attention by an operator's own staff is essential,