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Discussion Starter #1
Can anyone remember the name of the sliding tween deck panels that featured in Nos 3, 4 and 5 hatches on the Cora Class? I think they were called something like MacGregor Ermin (or Ermen) hatches.

Also can anyone remember what the point load of those panels was?

My memories of them is anything but good - always sticking (particularly after a bulk cargo like sugar), never pulled evenly on both sides and when someone greased (a big no-no) the drive wires the electric motor in the leading panels would overload!

Any help would be appreciated if only to satisfy the curiosity of an ancient brain!

I did try to put this subject on the Bank Line Nostalgia website as well but it refused to upload the post.
 

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They were Ermen hatches, Waighty. One of the many revulsion memories of the Cora class. Can't help you with the tech details, but they did a mean shuffle with a forklift truck on them. We were told NEVER to put a fork lift on them. Tell that to a Super in a hurry. (Same as Never override the cranes in tandem, Never bull in containers, Etc). Good point, they are all gone.
 

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I sailed on a couple of P&O ships with Erman tween decks and experienced similar problems, they were a pain. From what I can remember they were only in the lower tween decks which were quite low, being designed for cars. I think the idea was that you could open or close the tween deck as much or as little as you liked giving you flexibility. We never carried bulk cargo with them, that must have been fun!

regards
Dave
 

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The only time the dammed things worked properly was if you'd had a cargo of palm kernels which seemed to help them slide along. Many a long day was spent trying to get them working!
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Readers will observe that Ermen Sliding Panels (thanks China Hand for putting me right) played a big part in my Bank Line career (I didn't know P&O had them too Pilot Mac). In fact if I was superstitious I might believe that the Gods meant me to be cursed by them! I'll give two more tales of woe regarding the b*****s:

Following on from mine and other posts, the worst case of greased drive wires was on Moraybank where apart from the motor trying to burn itself out, the absence of fork lifts to assist and a very limited time to achieve the goal before loading started we had to resort to the time honoured method of "necessity being the mother of invention"; in short we chucked a load of sawdust over the wires and drive unit and lo and behold it worked - for a limited period anyway. Much time was spent some weeks into the trip of clearing it all up and degreasing the drive wires. Such sweet memories (I jest).

Corabank in Melbourne 1975, I was 2nd Mate waiting for the end of 'twilights' so I could get ashore and meet up with a 'local friend', even though it would be late in the day. The gang working at No4 finished early and I went below to close the tween deck Ermens on the stbd side starting with the for'd set of panels. While standing on the narrow wing with finger on the button the Mate called down to discuss something which I now forget. I leaned out and looked up as the conversation started and I could hear the rumbling behind me indicating that the panels were moving slowly aft towards the centre. Suddenly the Mate called out STOP, so I let go of the button but it was too late. When I turned round it was like a slow motion film - the panels on the inboard side had parted company with the coaming runway and were hanging precariously by the drive wire and the intact outboard arrangement, the various connecting pieces were coming apart and the sliding ratcheted travelling bar had gone into the lower hold! In short a complete disaster. Needless to say my quick escape ashore didn't happen, I made lifelong friends of the available cadets and deck crew - not really of course, they were far from pleased at having limited 'off' time brought to a sudden end. However, by about 0200 we had it all back in position and it actually worked. Not something I would like to repeat.
 

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I only came across them on a class of ship built for BI in about 1970/2 on the Tyne. The four ships were Manora, Merkara, Morvada and Mulbera, they all became 'Strath......' shortly after. Looks like the Corabank class were built around the same time, must have been a job lot!

regards
Dave
 

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I can still remember the animal yelps of a forklift driver (me) as the wheels spun, the shuffleboards parted, the machine went boink but didn't go down the new gap which luckilly was almost full loaded.
We used telfor winches (I think thats what they are called) to pull the panels back that time.
Ah, memories...
 

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Was only 3 and 5 tween decks. No.4 had the hydraulic lids. Never looked at point loads, by time I was mate all loading was done in Sydney and never had to check. Always trouble but always ended up OK. Could try the new Bankline site in Link-in (I think). Need to join then type in Bankline and should get into the group.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I can still remember the animal yelps of a forklift driver (me) as the wheels spun, the shuffleboards parted, the machine went boink but didn't go down the new gap which luckilly was almost full loaded.
We used telfor winches (I think thats what they are called) to pull the panels back that time.
Ah, memories...
They were called Tirfors Machines and very useful they were too. The only odd use of them I saw was when - again on Corabank - we drydocked in Barry (South Wales). In order to get us in the right position they used Tirfors to do the job, first time (and last) I ever saw them used for that purpose.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Was only 3 and 5 tween decks. No.4 had the hydraulic lids. Never looked at point loads, by time I was mate all loading was done in Sydney and never had to check. Always trouble but always ended up OK. Could try the new Bankline site in Link-in (I think). Need to join then type in Bankline and should get into the group.
My memory must be bad! You're quite right, the Ermens were only in 3 and 5, I'd forgotten about the hydraulic ones in 4. Still not bad considering it was 40 odd years ago.

I'll see if I can find that site you mentioned.
 

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Interesting addition from Gus above. I am not sure if he was the HT when i crunched up a set of those b******s because the weighted stop pin at the forward end had not popped up. It was a major repair job I am afraid to report
 

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They were called Tirfors Machines and very useful they were too. The only odd use of them I saw was when - again on Corabank - we drydocked in Barry (South Wales). In order to get us in the right position they used Tirfors to do the job, first time (and last) I ever saw them used for that purpose.
No

Tirfors were in common use in Cammell Lairds, not just for positioning a vessel dead centre when running down in drydock, but by the steel erectors for moving sections into place and the fitters for tail end jobs and many more applications.
I 'borrowed' one to pull out a tree stump in my garden, and thereafter it hung in my shed for many years
They were a fine machine.
 

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At the NZ Dockyard we used Yale Reynolds chain type pull lifts that came in sizes up to Six ton capacity to do the pulling and lifting but I don't recall using
Turfers , perhaps they had another name.

Bob
 

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Can anyone remember the name of the sliding tween deck panels that featured in Nos 3, 4 and 5 hatches on the Cora Class? I think they were called something like MacGregor Ermin (or Ermen) hatches.

Also can anyone remember what the point load of those panels was?

My memories of them is anything but good - always sticking (particularly after a bulk cargo like sugar), never pulled evenly on both sides and when someone greased (a big no-no) the drive wires the electric motor in the leading panels would overload!

Any help would be appreciated if only to satisfy the curiosity of an ancient brain!

I did try to put this subject on the Bank Line Nostalgia website as well but it refused to upload the post.
Waighty
I think they were called Ermans, and as you say were something of a nightmare, particularly after bulk cargoes. I had the joyful experience of changing the wires on one set, when I was on the Forthbank.
It was comparable to threading the eye of a number of needles with a 16mm dia Wire, while laying on the shelf at the end of the hold underneath the lids.
I think the loading was around 3t/sqm.
regards
 

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At the NZ Dockyard we used Yale Reynolds chain type pull lifts that came in sizes up to Six ton capacity to do the pulling and lifting but I don't recall using
Turfers , perhaps they had another name.

Bob

Maybe you called them by another name Bob, as you say, but I'm sure you had them, they are in common use in virtually every industry worldwide.
Ive attached a couple of pics which may jog your memory.
Best regards,
Pat
 

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Spongebob
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Thanks Pat, now I am with you, I think we used to call them 'come alongs'.
Used them when pulling a tail shaft out of a frigate etc while the Yale pull lifts were used for more accurate lifts such as lifting the crank shaft of a loch class frigate with four pull lifts , four men , click by click to avoid a sag while bedding in New main bearings .
Up to perhaps twenty lifts between scraping and blurring , we were knackered by the day's end .
Only seems like yesterday .

Bob
 

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No I wasn't HT. I do know that even a forklift's wheels spinning on them twisted them so it was a major job to open then again.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
My thanks again to contributors to this subject. I wondered at the time whether it was only the marine industry that used Tirfors (or whatever name folk called them) but after seeing Pat Kennedy's picture I realise that a lot of industries use them. TNW you have my sympathies when dealing with the Ermens and I don't imagine lying under the panels was much fun during rewiring.

I often thought they would make a better tool than chain blocks when dealing with awkward derrick heels during the lifting-of for maintenance or recalcitrant MacGregor hatch covers that occasionally skewed off track; not on Fish Class obviously.
 
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