Examples: - Steam engine, gas engine, air compressor, steam pump, hydraulic machinery, etc., etc.
The element of heat enters into the design of all machinery in this class. The natural agents, air, gas, and water, in their various forms, are taken into the machine in the most efficient form in which it is possible to obtain them, are robbed of their energy to provide power, and are discharged in a form as weak and inert as the efficiency of the machine will determine.
In contrast to the class of machinery just studied, it should be noted that these machines do not produce any material thing; that is, they do not produce finished surfaces on metals, make screws or bolts, bore holes in castings, or turn line shafting. They merely take the energy of the natural agent, which is not in a form available for use, and transform it into motive power for general use.
Hence the element of accuracy as entering into the design of these machines is necessary only for their own efficient operation, and not for the quality of the thing which they produce, as in the case of machine tools. For example, the power furnished by one steam engine to drive a line shaft is as good as that of another as far as the rotating of the shaft is concerned, provided, of course, that both are equipped with the same quality of governing mechanism. The fact that one of the engines has a good adjusting device on the main bearing while the other has not is of no consequence from the standpoint of the line shaft, but it is, of course, of consequence respecting the efficient operation of the engines.
The design of steam engines and similar machines is of a rough nature compared with that of machine tools, as far as the detail of surface is concerned. General accuracy is nevertheless essential for the machine's own sake, but while in the machine tool we deal with thousandths of an inch, in the steam engine hundredths of an inch indicates fine work.
These machines are subject to extremes of temperature that have to be provided for in the design and arrangement of the parts. Being prime movers, controlling the operation of many machines, they must be certain to run during their period of work; hence design and adjustment must be positive, and when the latter can-not be made while running, it must be quickly and definitely accomplished when a stop is made. Simplicity of construction is essential, facilitating cheap and quick repairs. The design should be such that constant attention while running is avoided, the usual attention of the engineer being a safeguard rather than an implied factor of the original design. General rigidity and stiffness are important, also good balancing of the moving parts, and weight for absorption of vibration; otherwise under the constant daily run the machines will tear to pieces not only themselves but their foundations.
As far as external appearance goes in this and subsequent classes to be mentioned we are on a very different basis from that of machine tools. General mechanical symmetry of form is aimed at in the design, and the several smaller parts depend for their out-line (aside from considerations of strength, which are, of course, always in order) upon the harmonious relation which they bear to the main and fundamental elements of the machine. Such machinery as air compressors, steam engines, pumps, and the like are viewed as a whole, and criticised, not detail by detail, as is the machine tool, but as to general effect of outline observed from some distance. To convey the desired effect to the eye the design must be bold and massive, connections simple and direct, and the smaller parts must not be so dwarfed in size as to appear like delicate ornaments instead of integral parts of the machine. The lines of connected parts must be continuous from one part to the other; and when interrupted by flanges, bosses, or lugs, the latter, which are merely incidental to the former must not be allowed to obscure wholly the main lines of the fundamental pieces.
It is attention to such points as these that marks the difference between well-designed motive-power machinery and that of the opposite character. Even though the little details of fillets and corners and surfaces may have their effect from a close point of view, the design will stand or fall in excellence on its bolder features, as noted above.