Axeman and AHS boiler design

Axeman and AHS boiler design

PostBy: OSIRIS On: Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:26 pm

I read in an old Crossroads post that Penn State's engineering department had something to do with the design of the Axeman Anderson/AHS boiler model. Can anyone give me more details about this? I have a friend that has access to Penn State's archives. We just need to know where to start looking. It would be very interesting to see what they tested. Working on my AHS 130 has raised many questions that I am hoping to find answers to, like why do the stoker fan blades have no pitch.
OSIRIS
 
Stove/Furnace Make: AHS
Stove/Furnace Model: 130

Re: Axeman and AHS boiler design

PostBy: steamup On: Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:56 pm

I believe the year was around 1946. There may be some info in this forum on the development. Give it a search

Fan blade design has to do with material handling. Since fly ash and coal dust is moved through the boiler, a radial blade design must be used. This is a common blade design for material handling systems such as dust collectors etc. If a curved blade was used, there is a low pressure region in the inside of the curve that will fill with dust and debris, causing a loss of efficiency and possible imbalance.
steamup
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman-Anderson AA-130, Keystoker K-6
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: HS Tarm 502 Wood/Coal/Oil
Coal Size/Type: pea, buck, rice

Re: Axeman and AHS boiler design

PostBy: steamup On: Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:01 pm

Got me looking - further links

http://books.google.com/books/about/A_S ... GdtgAACAAJ

Who invented the Anthratube coal boiler

Also Yanche posted the Bureau_of_Mines_Report_4936A somewhere that gives a performance test that may be of interest. Search for that also.
steamup
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman-Anderson AA-130, Keystoker K-6
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: HS Tarm 502 Wood/Coal/Oil
Coal Size/Type: pea, buck, rice

Visit Lehigh Anthracite

Re: Axeman and AHS boiler design

PostBy: EarthWindandFire On: Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:31 pm

If I remember correctly, one piece of the puzzle was missing in the report, and that was the location of the boiler tested by the Bureau. Where was the house located and is the boiler still in operation?

Just a piece of trivia for those interested in history that we would like to know. :gee:
EarthWindandFire
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Leisure Line Lil' Heater.
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer model 75.
Other Heating: Oil and Natural Gas.

Re: Axeman and AHS boiler design

PostBy: whistlenut On: Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:36 pm

I don't know how you guys could group the AA's and the AHS's together as original technology. Bethlehem Steel made the prototypes and set up the test venues, with cooperation of Penn State, and I sure wouldn't be surprised to hear that Carnegie/Mellon wasn't closely associated due to the brilliant minds being right there in Pittsburg. It was at the end of WW2 and things had to happen FAST. I don't know the whole story, but I do know that there are Bethleham boilers, Boston Boilers, and plenty of Axeman/Anderson boilers.

Note: AHS isn't on the scene until 1976 ish and it was called Eshland. I have 2 original Eshlands running right now, and dozens of Axeman/Anderson's. While they may not win any Beauty contests, their operation is a beautiful thing. Everyone that sees one refuses to believe that a unit that size can product 130K and 260K respectively.

As the newbies offer suggestions to improve, understand that these original guys were not dirt farmers who had no engineering background, they had just ended the greatest challenge the world had known: WW2.
They did have variable speed blower fan controls, ash removal systems, and infinite resources. Cost considerations dictated the final design and it is a beauty!

30 years later......Eshland came along, and proposed 'their take' on the AA design.
There were some stumbling blocks, and still are, as many of you know, especially the owners of the AHS product. There are subtle differences between the two, and many of you won't even know them for years. Let's just say: It's all about isolation.

So......do me a favor and in respect to the Axeman/Anderson folks, the AA is not an AHS, never will be. There are reasons AA's have an 'inclined auger' with a hole in the center......but that is enough here tonight. Suffice it to say, no one welds them better anywhere than Axeman/Anderson fabricators. You can drop a boiler blank out a C130 , clean it up and assemble the parts and fire it the same day. Crumple zones? Hell no. indestructible? Hell yah!!!

Also understand that Gentleman Janitor, EFM, Keystoker, Iron Fireman, Van Wert, Yellow Flame, Walker, and who knows how many others already had or were starting to built their versions of a stoker boiler.

I'd love to see all the history of Coal as a fuel, and the equipment used to utilize the most reliable heat in the Industrial Revolution; and it's use to our current times. :idea: :idea: :idea: :idea: :idea:
whistlenut
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AA130's,260's, AHS130&260's,EFM900,GJ&VanWert
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Franks Boiler,Itasca415,NYer130,Van Wert
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Yellow Flame
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska-4,Keystoker-2,
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Alaska,Gibraltor,Keystone,Vc Vigilant 2
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Van Wert, NYer's, Ford,Jensen.
Coal Size/Type: Rice,Buck,Pea,Nut&Stove
Other Heating: Oil HWBB

Re: Axeman and AHS boiler design

PostBy: Freddy On: Thu Oct 11, 2012 4:48 am

whistlenut wrote:AA's have an 'inclined auger' with a hole in the center.


My whole life I have said "It's hard to think a new thought". I'd like to know how the thought of a hole in the center of the auger occurred.

Correct me if I'm wrong... right now AA is owned by the grandson of the family. Wasn't it granddad that first built the Axeman Anderson? I had the impression it was more or less one guy that came up with the design, but perhaps it was a team effort?
Freddy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined

Re: Axeman and AHS boiler design

PostBy: whistlenut On: Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:17 am

It was definitely a collaborate effort. EFM, Yellow Flame (and Keystoker), Gentleman Janitor were designed for Rice or Buck coal simply because back in the day it was a more of a waste product from the breakers. Bethlehem didn't want to be in the manufacturing end of the business and AA was willing and ready to go full tilt. There was plenty of competition back then and questions about the auger with a hole down the center.....well, I don't know for sure either. Like anything else, modifications have been made over the years, but the basic units you receive today are identical to the first ones.
I assume most of you know the railroads used substandard pea coal as a stone base and filler on the rail lines...., so the AA was using a size of fuel not normally in demand. Times sure change; and prices, too!.
whistlenut
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AA130's,260's, AHS130&260's,EFM900,GJ&VanWert
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Franks Boiler,Itasca415,NYer130,Van Wert
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Yellow Flame
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska-4,Keystoker-2,
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Alaska,Gibraltor,Keystone,Vc Vigilant 2
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Van Wert, NYer's, Ford,Jensen.
Coal Size/Type: Rice,Buck,Pea,Nut&Stove
Other Heating: Oil HWBB

Re: Axeman and AHS boiler design

PostBy: Yanche On: Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:08 am

Freddy wrote:
whistlenut wrote:AA's have an 'inclined auger' with a hole in the center.


My whole life I have said "It's hard to think a new thought". I'd like to know how the thought of a hole in the center of the auger occurred.

Correct me if I'm wrong... right now AA is owned by the grandson of the family. Wasn't it granddad that first built the Axeman Anderson? I had the impression it was more or less one guy that came up with the design, but perhaps it was a team effort?
While I'm not been able to find a definitive link to Penn State for the A-A boiler design clearly there's lots of anecdotal evidence.

When you look at the design of the A-A from an engineering point of view it's quit different than any coal fired boiler up until it's first appearance on the market. First it's residential sized. Sure there were stoker boilers and automated coal feeds boilers but these were power plant sizes, not residential. The residential coal boilers in common use in the 1930-40'S were hand feeds. They had shaker grates with simply gravity flow induced flue paths. The A-A was a radical departure. Solid ash grates, induced internal combustion blower, auger coal feed, flapper door control for idle draft. All very novel ideas. Who could have designed something like this? Perhaps a single very talented engineer, but it's more likely a team of designers, each with a specific area of expertise. Just the kind of talent possible in an engineering school of the day or in a industrial companies engineering department.

Look at the details of the A-A design. Why would there be cast iron at the rear behind the blower impeller? The rest of the boiler is steel. Cast iron holds up better to the hot gases. The designer clearly knew this. It has small fins, again an advantage to dissipate heat. Compared to residential boilers of the day, why would anyone want to design a boiler based on burning coal in a vertical pipe? There sure must have been a lot of analytical engineering computations done before anything was built. Think of the flue gas flow path, crazy, compared to boilers of the day. Cyclone, fly ash separator, flapper door draft control, etc. All ideas that were likely first designed on paper long before the first piece of metal was cut. Again who could do that? Not a coal suppler, coal mine or even a residential boiler maker of the day. It took engineering educational talent, most likely a team, or at least fellow engineers the designer could have review his ideas. That's a university environment, or a large industrial company and engineers with free time.

Who could that have been? Penn State, Lehigh University, Bethlehem Steel. Why would they do it? I don't know, but certainly some could see the falling coal sale trend. Improved efficiency could be a selling point. Perhaps the visionaries could see the rise of residential oil heat and wanted something new. Perhaps the Anthracite Institute was the leader and contracted out he design. All unanswered questions. Good topic for a historian or librarian.

There lots to get started with. The Bureau of Mines Report. Look up the men that wrote the report, their education, where they worked, their professional society membership, etc. Look up the founding of A-A company, the incorporation charter, patent filings, copyrights, etc. Make the connections. Good topic to interest your grand kids. Teach them how to do real digging into information, instead of mindless Twitter posting. Enough said.

The Bureau of Mines Report is here:
Bureau of Mines Report 4936 Axeman-Andersen Antratube Boiler
Yanche
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea

Re: Axeman and AHS boiler design

PostBy: OSIRIS On: Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:53 am

Thanks to everyone for the prompt and extensive information. The link to the book authored by Penn State gives me a great lead. I will let you know if we find anything out. I had no idea there was so much mystery surrounding the origin of this boiler design.

Steamup's explanation about the fan blade pitch makes total sense to me. I am just one of those people who needs to know why things are the way they are. It;s interesting that whistlenut mentioned variable speed fans as that was something else I wondered about. I respect that there is a point of diminishing returns when there is little payoff in making something more complicated than it needs to be.
I am curious about what the performance differences might be between AA and AHS that whistlenut is hinting at.

FYI, I had issues with the fan shaft on my AHS 130. Turns out it was bent from the factory. It caused a bearing to fail in short time. Lots of vibration. Got a replacement from AHS, and it was bent too. I finally had a machine shop make me turned ground and polished shaft for $30. Put that on with some machined steel pully's from Woodworkers Warehouse and link belt and the thing runs beautiful. Thought I would mention it if someone is looking for a way to upgrade their AHS boiler.
OSIRIS
 
Stove/Furnace Make: AHS
Stove/Furnace Model: 130

Re: Axeman and AHS boiler design

PostBy: steamup On: Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:48 pm

The story told to me was that Eshland built parts for Axeman Anderson at one time. Don't know how accurate that is but Eshland used the same basic design but made the boiler more economical:
1. Hopper in lieu of auger
2. Direct drive in lieu of belt drive.
3. There own ash control system.
4. Non-asme models

Now AHS offers belt drive, hopper auger and ASME at extra cost. They now have gone through UL testing. It seems that AHS is spending some time evolving the product.

Axeman Anderson has changed their boiler very little. One change was the addition of a mounting collar for the domestic water coil to make a better seal and stronger shell.

I have only seen one coal gun by Eshland (before AHS) In my opinion it seemed to be a lighter build unit than the AA-130 I puchased but I was new at the game at the time. It is still a quality boiler.
steamup
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman-Anderson AA-130, Keystoker K-6
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: HS Tarm 502 Wood/Coal/Oil
Coal Size/Type: pea, buck, rice

Re: Axeman and AHS boiler design

PostBy: steamup On: Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:14 pm

Found a clue to your search on the anthratube.

Proceedings of a Housing and Heating Conference - 1945

There is a whole discussion on the development of the anthratube.
steamup
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman-Anderson AA-130, Keystoker K-6
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: HS Tarm 502 Wood/Coal/Oil
Coal Size/Type: pea, buck, rice

Re: Axeman and AHS boiler design

PostBy: whistlenut On: Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:35 pm

There is always a lot more to learn about everything we do, but OSIRUS just mentioned another issue that is very common. It has taken me 40 years to get to know the rigs, and don't think you can own one for a winter and become an expert.
When I tell you about deficiencies, it is because I have dealt with them over the years. When you hear: better make sure you are talking apples to apples, understand what is being said. Do you think Leisure Line uses Axeman Anderson boilers to save money? Quite the opposite: they want zero defects, ASME qualification, and NO headaches. Quality at any level costs more than whatever else is out there. Yanche mentioned many design features of AA, and Steamup a few more. Those guys sure command my respect, and definitely were not born "last night".

Dig into the history books, I can't wait for more info. As for Eshland making parts for AA...I don't know, but I know who to ask! 'Keep your powder dry' until I find out for sure.

Oh, the comment about the auger with a hole down the center was easy for me when I first saw it in 1972. Otherwise you would have a positive displacement auger and no 'relief' device. It would fill the tube, then the pot, then burn out the motor trying to keep the auger moving. It was Common Sense for a bright person...'necessity is the mother of invention'.....
whistlenut
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AA130's,260's, AHS130&260's,EFM900,GJ&VanWert
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Franks Boiler,Itasca415,NYer130,Van Wert
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Yellow Flame
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska-4,Keystoker-2,
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Alaska,Gibraltor,Keystone,Vc Vigilant 2
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Van Wert, NYer's, Ford,Jensen.
Coal Size/Type: Rice,Buck,Pea,Nut&Stove
Other Heating: Oil HWBB

Re: Axeman and AHS boiler design

PostBy: Berlin On: Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:10 am

"Look at the details of the A-A design. Why would there be cast iron at the rear behind the blower impeller? The rest of the boiler is steel. Cast iron holds up better to the hot gases. The designer clearly knew this. It has small fins, again an advantage to dissipate heat. Compared to residential boilers of the day, why would anyone want to design a boiler based on burning coal in a vertical pipe? There sure must have been a lot of analytical engineering computations done before anything was built. Think of the flue gas flow path, crazy, compared to boilers of the day. Cyclone, fly ash separator, flapper door draft control, etc. All ideas that were likely first designed on paper long before the first piece of metal was cut. Again who could do that? Not a coal suppler, coal mine or even a residential boiler maker of the day. It took engineering educational talent, most likely a team, or at least fellow engineers the designer could have review his ideas. That's a university environment, or a large industrial company and engineers with free time."

I disagree completely. It may or may not have been a team of engineers, but one guy with some free moments would be all it would take. Teams aren't great at coming up with radically new ideas, individuals are. One man is all that it takes.
Berlin
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal

Re: Axeman and AHS boiler design

PostBy: Matthaus On: Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:55 pm

Since I spend at least one day per month with Pete Sr. and Pete Jr at the AA factory working on the next project or picking up our AA/LL boilers so I can add a little more to the discussion. Pete Sr.'s dad and two other fellows spent a couple years in a warehouse fabricating parts and stringing them together, he told me that the first Anthratube was a series of parts strung together in a line to test the concepts of cyclonic separation, drawing the fire through the burn area past the water jacket, using a stepped grate to shave the bottom of the fire in conjunction with a temperature sensor to control the ashing cycle, feeding the coal through a hollow helix to allow the excess to fall back into the bin, and many other innovative ideas. As already mentioned you cannot find a better built boiler, I have removed my share from basements and from out of barns and fields, only one out of over 30 was in need of a major patch to make it water tight.

Little has changed since the original design, and thus since low production quantities are keeping prices high, don't be surprised if refinements underway in the manufacturing process result in a less expensive Anthratube with a few modern refinements such as a gear motor to drive the auger instead of the old trusted twisted V belt driven gear box.

My hat is off to the Axeman family for their undying devotion to old school craftsmanship and and effective machine design. :D
Matthaus
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Leisure Line WL110 Dual Fuel
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Leisure Line Lil' Heater (rental house)
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Buckwheat Anthracite

Re: Axeman and AHS boiler design

PostBy: Rob R. On: Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:20 am

Each stoker boiler has its own set of pros/cons, but the Axeman Anderson units impress me the most from a design perspective. They can efficiently burn several sizes of coal, and the craftsmanship speaks for itself.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: Rice/buck
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Visit Lehigh Anthracite