HUGE Van Wert hot water stoker unit

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CoalJockey
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Post By: CoalJockey » Fri. Mar. 16, 2018 8:18 pm

My coal burning buddies I have for your viewing pleasure some photos of the large Van Wert stoker boiler that heats the massive truck repair facility and parts department at Morall Bros. Garage. The truck garage is located along US 30 between Everett and Breezewood PA and has been in business for many decades. Eugene Morall built the first all-aluminum frame semi-trailer in the U.S. right here in the 1950s and the rights were thereafter sold to Al-King which was eventually folded into Wabash if I recall correctly.

This past week I dropped a load off part of a tri-axle load of hard pea coal that will be enough for them to finish out the rest of the season. I am not sure of the model number or size of the boiler as I was too busy running around the truck but it is likely the largest model that they built. If not it would have to be a runner-up. Eugene’s son Byron is in charge of the daily operations at the garage and told me that it will typically burn between 2-3 eighteen wheeler loads of hard pea per season, depending on the heating demands.

Eugene purchased the boiler over 30 years ago and then went to work building his own bulk bin with a hopper bottom that will hold an entire eighteen wheeler load of coal. The truck backs up to the overhead door and dumps out of the coal chute and into a small hopper where a large diameter auger (I think 8 inch) whisks the coal to the top of the bulk bin. The Van Wert augers the coal from the bottom of this bulk bin.

Eugene also constructed his own ash unloading system. The ash falls into a pit below the stoker and an auger brings the ashes up and dumps it into a tilt-hopper bin that is then carried away by the tow motor and dumped. The firebox is so large that to service the firepot, Byron crawls in through the ash pit and stands up inside to work on the pot right in front of them. He tells me that the boiler has required very little maintenance through the years and also stated that Arnie Huntley, the current owner of the Van Wert holdings, is very much a pleasure to deal with to obtain parts.

This is no doubt the most massive installation that I’ve ever seen but also the most impressive and well thought out. These people are natural born engineers and mechanics... they are living proof that anything is possible for those who are willing to try it.

(Sorry for the two sideways photos... perhaps a moderator can come along and fix them).

Enjoy! ——
Attachments
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Truck tailgate on the far right, Byron running the chute, large hopper bin in the rear
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Hopper bin on the right, ash unloader in center, boiler in rear
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The huge Van Wert boiler
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This Hopper bin holds a full 25 ton of coal
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Ash removal system
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Burner feeding system and blower
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Lots of piping and pumps
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Hotter than Hades in there
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This unit burns pea size
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If you look closely you can see the ash pit underneath
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A different angle
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Morall Bros. Garage
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This is a huge building, all cinderblock and concrete construction

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coaledsweat
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Post By: coaledsweat » Fri. Mar. 16, 2018 8:40 pm

Wow, that's a monster! Thanks for posting that. :clap:

lzaharis
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Post By: lzaharis » Fri. Mar. 16, 2018 9:08 pm

It looks like a VA2400 ?

It looks as if both steam jacket tappings are Tee'd together in a large wet steam header chamber and then split at the side of the boiler to feed two drop header chambers before the dry steam is delivered to the heat steam to forced air heat exchangers and or radiators in the building. The two end mounted drop headers are wet and let the wet vapors collect and drain back into the boilers low water tappings.

I wonder why they did it that way rather than have a dry drop header at the water line?
Last edited by lzaharis on Fri. Mar. 16, 2018 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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StokerDon
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Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959Axeman Anderson130M, 1991Axeman Anderson130M, BairMatic BMC-500/Van Wert VA400 Stoker, Gentleman Janitor GJ-671SU/EFM S-15 stoker, 2xVan Wert VA-600
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Post By: StokerDon » Fri. Mar. 16, 2018 9:09 pm

Yah, WOW! Now that's a boiler!!!

It looks like a two piece boiler, probably a VA-2400. The 2400 is 608,400 BTU gross. They list one that is a little bigger in the manual, a VA-4000 at 1,027,000 BTU gross.

Neat! Maybe someday I could go out there and take a peek at this monster.

-Don

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Rob R.
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Post By: Rob R. » Fri. Mar. 16, 2018 9:13 pm

lzaharis wrote:
Fri. Mar. 16, 2018 9:08 pm
It looks like a VA2400 ?

Both steam jacket tappings are Tee'd together and then split at the side of the boiler to feed two drop headers before the dry steam is delivered to the heat exchangers in the building.
It is a hot water system, not steam.

Rob R.
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Post By: Rob R. » Fri. Mar. 16, 2018 9:14 pm

Thanks for sharing the pictures.

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CoalJockey
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Post By: CoalJockey » Fri. Mar. 16, 2018 9:18 pm

Yes, correct Rob. When I looked up and seen the pumps, I asked Byron if it was hot water and he affirmed that it was. I have never seen pumps that large, but this is the only industrial boiler I was ever around for any amount of time.

lzaharis
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Post By: lzaharis » Fri. Mar. 16, 2018 9:21 pm

It would be worth asking why they did it this way then.

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CapeCoaler
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Post By: CapeCoaler » Sat. Mar. 17, 2018 12:18 am

Surge tanks, basically a primary secondary type system...

Rob R.
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Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
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Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy
Location: Chazy, NY

Post By: Rob R. » Sat. Mar. 17, 2018 9:46 am

The boiler has returns on each end, and they are connected to a common manifold, with bypass piping between the return and supply manifolds. Nice setup.

I am impressed with the engineering of the coal and ash handling systems.

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StokerDon
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Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959Axeman Anderson130M, 1991Axeman Anderson130M, BairMatic BMC-500/Van Wert VA400 Stoker, Gentleman Janitor GJ-671SU/EFM S-15 stoker, 2xVan Wert VA-600
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Harman SF3500
Coal Size/Type: Rice, Pea, Chestnut
Other Heating: Noth'in but COAL! Well, Maybe a little tiny bit of wood
Location: PA, Southern York County!

Post By: StokerDon » Sat. Mar. 17, 2018 11:55 am

Check out picture #6. Right behind the ash auger there is a pile of fines or ash that goes up against the stoker. You can see the drive chain between the pot auger and gearbox coming up out of the pile. You can't see the gearbox though, I think it's buried in there somewhere!

-Don

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Post By: Pacowy » Sat. Mar. 17, 2018 12:08 pm

x2. Nice unit, but I'd watch out for both the pile on the chain and how close it's getting to the blower intake.

Mike

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