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My Life’s Work — Delco Products, Jack & Heinz, and National Electric Welding Machines Company (Newcor)

 

by Charles Otterbein Adams

NOTE: Image numbers are preserved for archival purposes. However, the original images are missing.

 

Delco plants in downtown Dayton

 

I. Delco Products

 

In Steele High School my science teacher was August Forste. He had found the largest trilobite ever found in the Dayton area. He told me, on basis of my work in his class, that he recommended that I go to The University of Cincinnati and take electrical engineering. I did, and got my Electrical Engineering degree. I co-oped at Delco Products, working throughout that plant. At graduation time, I was working in the Process Engineering Dept. on a large drafting board, designing special machines. The plant manager brought me a stack of special machine machine drawings which he asked me to make into plant layouts. He tucked prints from those under his arms and headed for Chicago. Using those he started what was G.M. Electromotive Division. One day Reber Stupp, our plant manager, came to me and said the man who set-up and took car of all our resistance welders, suddenly left and went to California. Reber said since I was the only Electrical Engineer in the department, I was now their Welding Engineer. That started me on my career in the Welding Industry. Mostly our resistance welders were mash seam welders on tubular shock absorbers, plus a few making rolled Frames for fractional horsepower motors. I spent many days in the library at the Engineers Club reviewing books on electric circuits. All this was pre-world war II.

 

When World War II started, Delco was designated to make Landing Struts for aircraft and 30 to 400 KVA generators for the Navy. This required lots of manual arc welding. Milt Feldstein, Master Mechanic, sent me to Cleveland, to Lincoln Electric to learn how to arc weld, and how to teach others to arc weld. All this is in my write-up titled "The Home Front"

 

II. Jack and Heintz

 

Right after WW II, Reber Stupp came to me and told me Byron Foy, Walter Chrysler's son-in-law, asked him to come to Cleveland and be Plant Manager for Jack and Heintz Manufacturing Plant. Reber agreed, and asked three of us from Delco to join him. Reber asked me to join him, to head up Process Engineering and Maintenance. Loraine, my wife, had just had a miscarriage, and was feeling quite low. Going to Cleveland sounded like the right thing to do. I bought a house in University Heights. We moved to Cleveland.

 

Jack and Heintz was a war born, cost-plus plant, with the Board of Directors in New York. The board of Directors had been used to simply hiring more workers when they needed to increase production. When Reber and I wanted to increase production at lower cost, I went to New York with requests to the Board of Directors for money to buy the new equipment. The Board refused, not recognizing the need to be competitive with other companies. After trying to do this several times, Reber and I saw we were not going to get anywhere. We both resigned. In fact, Jack and Heintz went under, because they could not compete the way they were operating. Reber took managing jobs in successive companies. I decided to stay in the welding industry.

III. National Electric Welding Machines Company {Newcor}

 

Bill Little, of Cleveland, was the representative for National Electric Welding Machines Company who called on me at Delco for many years. I had bought the seam welders for tubular shock absorbers from him. He was getting up in age. When he found that I had left Jack and Heintz, he looked me up and asked if I would be interested in joining him as a representative for National Electric Welding Machines Company. I agreed. So we became Little and Adams, representing National. Since I knew the Dayton area, I took over that part of the territory. Delco welcomed me back, and I sold several machines to Delco. I sat in on several discussions in Delco about machine needs there. Delco needed to increase their production of tubular shock absorbers. They first had to increase their tubing production. National Electric Welding Machines Company shorted their name to Newcor. Newcor had developed a three phase to D.C. resistance welding power system. Delco asked me if we could apply that to a tube welder. When I said yes, I got an order for a three phase to D.C. tube mill welder, seen here. { No.1.} D.C. tube welding eliminated the little "spits" inside a.c. welded tubing. I was instrumental in getting Newcor to take up automatic arc welding, so we could combine arc welding and resistance welding in combination operations and production lines. I worked with the engineers of Newcor at Bay City in developing, designing, and building many of the machines I sold. The rest of this write-up will simply be explanations and pictures of various machines and production lines I sold and or were involved in as C.O. Adams and Company.

 

To give you an idea of what kind of parts are mash seam welded, here is a picture of mash seam welded parts. {No.2} It shows tubular shock absorbers where the tube end is mash seam welded to the cap. On the rings you see, some are frames for fractional horsepower motors where the ends of the rings are mash seam welded to get a smooth joint. Some strip materials are mash seam welded to get a flat joint between strips.

 

Many assemblies of parts are simply spot welded together. {No.3} Roll spot welding is done with wheels instead of spot tips where many spot welds are needed in long straight lines.

 

Many parts are joined by projection welds where one of the parts has projections embossed in one of the two parts and flat dies are used as the welding dies. {No.4}

 

45 degree turned ends of large diameter "stud" type parts can be projection welded into the edges of holes in material. {No.4

 

Crossed wires can be projection welded using flat dies with seats cut in the electrodes. {No.4}

 

Now I can describe some of the production machines performing high production operations.

 

Barrel Welder: The roll formed sheet is sized by the large rolls seen here, with one roller electrode inside the tubular formed work piece and another roller electrode outside the work piece. {No.5} This can be combined with a drum forming station {No.6.} and an expander station {No.7} to form a high speed drum "line".

 

Refrigerator Liner "line": Using the Newcor three-phase to D.C. welding power supply, Newcor built a refrigerator liner "line" which joined the sides, back, and ends of a refrigerator liner at 360 liners per hour. The operations on this line were, destack and u-fold, mash seam weld bottom to u-folded sides, mash seam weld top to sides, projection weld 4 comer gussets, and eject. {No.8}

 

Coil End Joiner: To maintain a continuous "line" of strip, using an accumulator to get the time required to make the joint, the end of one strip and the beginning end on the new strip, were placed in clamps, positioned for precise overlap, mash seam welded, and released. {No.9}

 

Mounting Ring to Rod Welder. A continuously rotating, multi station welder, with automatic loading of the ring, manual loading of the shock absorber rod, projection welded the ring to the end of the shock absorber rod at 1200 pieces per hour. {No.10}

 

Aircraft Jet Engine Flange to Compresser Arc Welder. This machine automatically, numerically controlled, arc welded the compressor flange to the each end of the halfcompressor shell. The remarkable thing about this machine is that each machine replaced 14 manual arc welders. {No.ll}