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9th May 1918, Page 15
9th May 1918
Page 15
Page 16
Page 15, 9th May 1918 — THE WAR-TIME USE OF ALUMINIUM.
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

The Application of Aluminium Alloy for Varying Naval and Military Needs.

THERE ARE MANY side lines in the -Manufacture of the productions essential for carrying on the war which are little known, let alone understood, by the lay mind. To a non-interestedshall -we say unraechanical—mind, big howitzers, tanks, commercial vehicles in their many guises, and he other, hundred-and-one diverse mechanical essentials considered necessary. for the complete equipment of a modern:day army are casually viewed with tepid indifference. Little realization and understanding are exhibited by the ordinary man in the street of the prodigious mass of detailed thought, the wielding of inventive faculty and genius, the display of judgment and scrupulous care, which lie behind such a production before it reaches a stage which is deemed by qualified experts to be mechanically ' sound. Behind the deft hand of skilled labour which fashioned these divergent necessities existS the silently-acting brain creating and formulating DOW

ideas and perfecting existing designs. .

To give a clear representation, let us take a commercial. motor vehicle. As a finished product, it is

viewed by the unmechanical mind as a complete whole, but we who are so intimately connected with the industry know full weIltha`t the components which coMprise the vehicle and the material from -which they are made are embodied as the result of years and years of diligent resource and experiment. To further the argnment, the fact that there are so many concerns specializing in the production of one or more of these complex but simple-working components is proof positive of the active forethought expended on motor-lorry design and construction.

Take, for example, the embodiment of Aluminium parts in place of those constructed of cast iron. Those of us who have been connected with the industry for years-past know .very well that one of the inhereet disadvantages of the early types ef commercial vehicles was the heaviness Of structute and the unequal distribution of weight throughout the chassis, which quite naturally militated against the efficiency of running and more or less acted in. conjunction with other structural defects as a temporary set-back to the a.dootion of mechanical traction inlieu, of horses. The majority of these early failings have long since been remedied. The employment of `aluminium for gearboxes, orank-cases, and other detail parts, where lightness of construction is deemed desirable without sacrificing much strength, haseilone ranch to further the claims• of the motor vehicle for supremacy in the 'field of commercial transport and conduced— indirectly maybe—to added efficiency of running.

In this notable achievement the name of Messrs. R. W. Coan, of 219, Goswell Road, E.C. needs no bringing into the liight for the, firm have concentrated on aluminium casting work for some 18 years past ; in fact, we believe we are correct in saying that they were first in the field as specialists in this respect. The firm was successfully steered through the inevitable transitionary stages of a progressive undertaking and up to the outbreak of war had energetically devoted a. big proportion of their activities to the execution of repairs to aluminium castings. Of course, much new casting was also done, but w,hert compared with what is now being, carried out it formed a mere speck on the horizon of development. We can here fittingly call to mind the expression of user6 with whom we have. come into contact, of entire satisfaction in connection with the pre-war repair work of the firth which has enabled them to get damaged parts readily repaired (thus avoiding the probability of lengthy delay if a new Casting had to be made) and at the same time incurring a relatively small outlay when compared with the price of a, new casting. In this manner, the house of Goan has built up a firm and solid reputation for ultimate, dependability in the matter of repairs; -41ce their establishment in 1901, more than 20,000 1roWn. crankeases and gearboxes have been successfully repaired —a sure index of reliability. Since the war, however, the firm has gone ahead with new casting work with amazing rapidity, and we were given to understand by Yr. R. W. Coan that at the .present time they are The largest users of alu

'minium. in the kingdom. TIlis can readily be appre . mated if we mention that approximately two tons of castings for diversified purposes are turned out per week ; bearing in mind the lightness of the material being worked, it is simple to underStand that the output must keep the 250 hands which are employed fully ocCupied. Taking into acconnt these facts, it is only natural to suppose that there have beers periodical difficulties in maintaining a steady influx of raw material to the Works. This obstruction has presented itself on several occasions, although by. no means completely hindering supplies, but has been overcome and a continuous stream of the raw product is now reaching the works. We were able to inspect for ourselves a big store of alloy in ingot form which bears this statement out to the letter.

As might well be imagined when national needs loi)111 so urgently in the foreground, practically the ,whole of the firm's activities are at the present time, and for that 'mattee have been for some time past; concentrated on the production of vital parts needed for inclusion in tanks, aeroplanes, submarines, coin-. mercial motor vehicles, and the like; At the time of our visit much aeroplane work, including engine cylinders and covers, gun mountings, etc.„ was being turned out, something like 80 per 'tent. of the whole output then being -devoted to this class of work.

We had an opportunity of witnessing first-hand, in passing through the various extensive and wellequipped shops, Many sand and die castings being made, ranging from 12-cylinder engine crankcases to small carburetter components, and wa noticed that the work—be it large or small—was tackled with extreme and methodical care. It must be borne in mind that this latter feature is vitally important if a clean casting is to result, and to a great extent this is dependent on the molten metal being poured into the mould at the proper degree of heat. So soon as the metal reaches a State of liquefaction, which takes place at about 1200 degrees Fahr., it is practically necessary to commence pouring at once to ensure a clean and unblistered casting when the metal is set, which, as is generally known, takes. place in the matter of a few minutes.

in our passage through the various shops one of the, outstanding features which impressed us. was the large amount of work being effected and its diverse nature. For obvious re.asons the occasion is not pro..ipitiouS for detailing much of the work which is at present being handled ; suffice it tosay that castings for naval and military requirements were in hand. We came away after our prolonged inspection feeling that the house slogan of the firm, " Coan Casts Clean Crankcases," known by the industry the world over, is well merited, and that we for our part could fully endorse this distinctive claim not only in regard to crankcages but to all other details of construction.


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