flanging 8

In the previous post I showed videos of modern flanging machines.  These weren’t the kind of flanging machine I was trained on back in 1973.  I first learned to run a Blue Valley flanger similar to this one.


It’s very primitive in comparison.  The table, orange on this machine, moved across the two parallel flat slides, on a large screw (unseen down inside the bottom of the machine).  Absent from this picture is the lower center post, which could be bolted into position at different angles, depending on the shape of the head being formed (it was threaded, and was screwed into the threaded hole in the middle of the orange table).  The center post could be screwed up or down, depending on the depth of the head.  The upper center post (which can be seen in this picture extending straight down) moved on wheels across a pair of flat slides inside the upper part of the machine, and could be bolted into different angles, to match the angle of the lower center post.  When clamped down upon the head resting on the lower center post, the upper center post was pulled along by the movement of the table.  At the end of each center post was a bearing pack, which allowed the head to spin as it was held in place.  The icr roll, bolted to the end of the shaft, turned, spinning the head.  The large flat forming roll shaped the head around the icr roll as the metal spun.  There was a middle roll, along with the two side rolls, which steadied the head as it spun.  The shaft turning the icr roll was powered by electricity, as was the screw the table moved upon.  The upper center post, the side rolls, and the middle roll was powered by air pressure.  The flanging roll was hydrolic, at least as it moved up and forward to form the head.  It fell back into position for another run simply by gravity.  Very annoying.  I was constantly cleaning and oiling the slides it fell back down on to try to speed the process up.  Most of the time it fell back very slowly no matter what I did.  To see most of what I just explained in operation, I’ll repost the video from ‘flanging 2’.

The operator was responsible for setting up his machine.  Besides changing the icr rolls, the angle and height of the lower center post had to be set, and the angle of the upper center post to match, The position of the middle and side rolls had to be adjusted.  And the table had to be placed according to the size of the head being flanged.  You measured to get it close, then bolted it down so it wouldn’t move on the bottom slides.  The table was in two pieces; the back part was bolted down and had a piston mounted on it, and the front part was connected to the end of the rod that came out of the piston (hydrolic, naturally) so you could move this part of the table a short distance forward or back as you formed the tank end.

That’s what got my partner in trouble.  I didn’t tell you I had a partner?  Sorry, it slipped my mind.  My mind is getting slipperier and slipperier .  Another flanger trainee was hired at the same time I was.  We were about the same age.  He said his father owned a construction company, but he didn’t want to work for him.  Never said why.  But at the end of our training he went to first shift and I remained on second.

He didn’t last long.  Apparently he forgot to tighten the bolts (there were eight of them) that fasten the back half of the table in place, and was operating the machine with the table loose.  And Charley F. witnessed it.  That’s the trouble with first shift, much more supervision.  Charley, if you remember, was the maintenance supervisor.  He was the one who tried to break into Roy H.’s locker, and Charley was one of the three involved in the night raid that got three third shift employees and their foreman fired for drinking on the job.  He was an excellent maintenance supervisor, and he did not like seeing his machines being abused.  And he had one hell of a temper.  I heard he chewed my partner out royally.  So he quit.  Screamed right back at Charley and walked out.  He most likely went to work for his father after all.  But I don’t know, I never saw him again.

Poor Charley got in trouble over that guy quitting.  He was told to control his temper by the owners.  And he lost some of his authority.  Until this happened, he pretty much ran the shop.  But Elmer D. was promoted from shipping supervisor to plant supervisor, to handle the men.  While Charley was told to stick to the machines and leave the men alone.


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