Paper making machines
Proctor and Gamble makes massive amounts of paper products, In this process the paper fibers are carried in a slurry of hot water, this is dumped onto a set of rotating screens where the fibers collect to the desired thickness, after which they are processed to provide the desire product. One of the problems with this process is that the edges of the wet fibers are not straight. To address this a blade is used, but it needs to track the small changes in the web location. The engineers wanted to automate the “Yankee Doctor” Motors that could survive water, steam, caustic chemicals were needed, and they had to be able to support high resolution positioning. Empire Magnetics Inc. Stainless steel waterproof stepper motors worked just fine.
Chemical weapons disposal
The history of this application is quite interesting. During World War 2, the army made large stocks of chemical weapons. One type was a solid fuel propelled rocket that carried a deadly chemical agent. At the time these were made, no one considered that they might be stored for decades. Well they were, several million of them were stored in bunkers, located at Tooele Army Depot, where they were ignored until some of them started to spontaneously launch themselves and fly around the bunkers. The result of the analysis: The separation between the chemical agent and the rocket propellant was made of aluminum, the chemical agent was eating through the aluminum, and when it reached the fuel it would ignite.
So we have some millions of self igniting, chemical weapons sitting in bunkers near a fairly large US city. Some people thought this might be a problem, so they devised a plan. This plan was to load these onto a train, ship it to Oakland Ca, then put it on a ship where it would go to Johnson Atoll where it would be burned. However to put this plan into action they needed funding. Fortunately one of the Senate committee Chairs, was from California. You can imagine a dialog something like:
So let me get this straight: “You want me to fund the shipment of unstable, self igniting, deadly chemical weapons, to one of the largest population areas of California, in the hope that nothing will go wrong?” That was the end of that plan.
At this point The engineering firm of Stone and Webster, was given a contract to find a way to disposed of these on site. The method required submersing the units in a highly aggressive caustic solution, where they would be cut open, the agent would then be neutralized by the chemistry. This required equipment that would survive and operate in this extremely challenging chemical mix, that is when Empire Magnetics Inc. got the call.
We designed and built motor, gearbox assemblies, that had to fit into a defined space, while surviving the environment. To accomplish this we had oil filled assemblies, with metal bellows for pressure compensation. The cables were custom made with a combination of materials so that if one layer failed the next would be resistant. The drawing here is one of the variations. Hopefully people are peacefully sleeping ignorant of what might have been.
Click an image below to view fullsize
Submerged Sea Water controls
Motors that could survive water, steam, caustic chemicals were needed.