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Publication numberUS2775869 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 1, 1957
Filing dateApr 22, 1952
Priority dateApr 22, 1952
Publication numberUS 2775869 A, US 2775869A, US-A-2775869, US2775869 A, US2775869A
InventorsPointer Robert W
Original AssigneeL B De Long
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Platform construction
US 2775869 A
Abstract  available in
Images(10)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Jan. 1, 1957 R, w. POINTER 2,775,869

PLATFORM CONSTRUCTION Filed April 22, 1952 10 Sheets-Sheet l NVENToR. Robe/f W Po/'nfe/ TTORNEVS Jan. 1, 1957 R. w. POINTER 2,775,869

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PLATFORM CONSTRUCTION Filed April 22, 1952 10 Sheets-Sheet 6 INVENToR. Ro ber/ W Po /n fer Jan. l, 1957 R. w. POINTER PLATFORM CONSTRUCTION l0 Sheets-Sheet '7 Filed April' 22', 1952 .//WENTDE ROBERT-"w, Pom-m2 Jan. 1, 1957 R. w. POINTER 2,775,869

PLATFORM CONSTRUCTION Filed April 22, 1952 10 Sheets-Sheet 8 /00 /N/EN TUR:

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/yTTUF/vs/E Jan. l, 1957 O R. w. PoiNTER 2,775,869

PLATFORM CONSTRUCTION Filed April 22, 1952 10 Sheets-Sheet 9 cxO nO gn On O uO L JO DO On OcI D u D n f D n .U u D O O Y O O (l) O O O O O \20o 05 \2a0 LL2o! 200 ROBERT w. PomTeR Jan. l, 1957 R. w. POINTER 2,775,869

PLATFRM CONSTRUCTION Filed .April 22, 1952 1o Sheets-sheet 1o 254 imp WMe/v TUF ROBERT w` POINTER United States Patent() PLATFORM CONSTRUCTION Robert W. Pointer, Portland, Oreg., assigner to L. B. De Long, Seattle, Wash.

Application April 22, 1952, Serial No. 283,567

s1 claims. (ci. 614as This invention relates to structures associated with supporting columns such as caissons and the like, and to the v driving of caissons, and has particular reference to a platform construction having caissons or piles to support it.

This application is a continuation-impart of my copending application Serial No. 143,627, led February 11, 1950, now abandoned.

General objects f the invention are to provide novel means for gripping a supporting member such as a smooth tubular caisson or pile and to provide novel means cooperating with said gripping means for exerting a powerful steady thrust to produce relative movement between the caisson and some other structure, as for driving the caisson.

A particular object of the invention is to provide an improved form of platform construction for marine use to form an oil well drilling platform, dock or other structure, supported on tubular piles or caissons. More specifc objects related to this field of use are the provision of a sectional platform which may be large or small, as required, depending upon the number of units which are connected together, the provision of a platform assembled from buoyant beam members which may be floated into position for connecting together, the provision of a buoyant platform which may be assembled in one place and then floated to the spot where it is to be used, and the provision of novel and compact means incorporated in the platform itself for driving the piles to support the platform on a sea bottom and for raising the platform above the water level, all without the use of the usual elaborate auxiliary equipment such as pile drivers, floating derricks and the like.

An important object of the invention is the provision of novel fluid pressure means to grip the piles and to exert either a driving or lifting action, as may be required, to drive piles, to remove piles, and to raise the platform. It is, accordingly, a further specific object of the invention to provide a novel arrangement of pneumatic thrusting and clamping bellows for exerting powerful thrusting forces which can be controlled in repeating cycles of operation to produce step by step relative longitudinal movement of a caisson or the like.

The foregoing and other objects are accomplished through the use of a thrusting bellows interposed between two clamping bellows which frictionally engage the surface of a pile or caisson. The three bellows are connected with a source of fluid pressure such as a compressed air supply, and the thrusting and clamping actions are controlled by means of individual valves. By operating the valves in a certain sequence, a series of powerful thrusts may be exerted against a caisson or pile to drive it in a step by step movement. In the same way, by exerting a downward thrust against a number of piles in unison, the platform may be lifted in step by step movement to any desired height on the piles. By a diiferent sequence of valve operations, the direction of thrust may be reversed to remove a pile.

Other features of the present construction for marine use comprise the provision of a plurality of buoyant beams and buoyant piles which may be floated into position for assembly directly on the surface of the body of water on which the platform is to be used. The beams are connected to form platform sections in rectangular configuration to extend the platform as required. A pile is disposed at each intersection of longitudinal and transverse beams, and special provision is made for the novel lifting and clamping bellows around each pile. When the platform is assembled it may be towed to the spot Where it is to be used, and then the operation of driving the piles may be accomplished entirely by means of the bellows incorporated in the platform, so that the usual heavy pile drivers and other auxiliary equipment may be dispensed with. The only motive power necessary for the different driving and lifting operations is an air compressor which may be driven by an engine carried by the platform. Additional weight for driving the piles may be obtained by filling the hollow beams and also the piles with water. Novel provision is also made for plugging the piles to float them yin assembly, and for pumping compressed air beneath the plugs to assist in removing the piles from the sea bottom.

The invention will be better understood with reference to the preferred embodiments described in the following specification and illustrated on the accompanying drawings. lt is to be understood, however, that various changes may be made in the construction and arrangement of parts, and that certain features may be used without others, without departing from the spirit of the invention.

In the drawings:

Figure 1 is a plan view of a marine platform embodying the features of the invention;

Figure 2 is a side elevation view of the platform shown in Figure l;

Figure 3 is a side elevation view, taken approximately on the line 3--3 of Figure 4, showing one manner of assembling the platform;

Figure 4 is a fragmentary top plan View, taken approximately on the line 4-4 of Figure 3;

Figure 5 is a side elevation view showing the assembled platform floating in the water;

Figure 6 is an enlarged vertical sectional view taken on the line 6 6 of Figure l Figures 7 to 12 illustrate the action of the clamping and driving bellows of the pneumatic jack in a complete cycle of steps in the operation of driving a pile;

Figures 13 and 14 illustrate the action of the bellowsl in the steps required to remove a pile;

Figure 15 illustrates a manner in which the piles may be cut off and capped for a semi-permanent installation;

Figure 16 shows a pile lled with concrete and capped for a permanent installation;

Figure 17 is a perspective view of one of the hollow beams of the platform;

Figure 18 is a fragmentary top plan View of a portion of the structure shown in Figure 6;

Figure 19 is a perspective View of a combined end and quadrant plate for the ends of the platform beams;

Figure 20 is a perspective View of an oil well drilling barge embodying the principles of the invention;

Figure 2l is a fragmentary sectional view taken on the line 21--21 of Figure 20;

Figure 22 is a view, partly in section, showing the construction of one of the jack units in the barge of Figure 20;

Figure 23 is a plan view of a dock barge embodying the principles of the invention;

Figure 24 is a side elevation view of the barge shown in Figure 23;

Figure 25 is a plan view of a dock formed from a plurality of the barges shown in Figure 23;

Figure 26 4is a view showing the use of the barge of Figures 23 and 24 as a temporary dry dock;

Figure 27 is a view, partly in section, showing the construction of one of the jack units employed in the barge of Figures 23 and 24;

Figure 28 is a schematic View of the piping arrangement for operating a plurality of the gripper units shown in Figure 27;

Figure 29 is a fragmentary perspective View showing the arrangement of outlet connections for the gripper units in the piping installation in the barge of Figures 23 and 24.

General construction Referring first to Figure 1, it will be seen that the framework of the platform comprises a plurality of longitudinal and transverse beams and 11 which are connected together in a rectangular grid pattern to make a platform of the required size. The present platform employs twelve of the beams 10 and 11, but a smaller number of these beams may be used to make a small platform and a larger number of the same beams may be used to extend the platform. At each intersection of the beams 10 and 11, the platform is supported upon a tubular steel caisson or pile 12. Surrounding each pile and contained within the thickness of the platform beams is a pneumatic jack or expansible lifting assembly, designated in its entirety by the numeral 13 in Figure 6. By means of this pneumatic jack, each pile may be driven into the sea bottom, and also by operating a number of the jacks in unison, the whole platform may be raised on the piling to any desired elevation above the water, as shown in Figure 2.

The beams 10 are equipped with hangers 14 for joists 15 to support deck planking 16. When the platform is to be used for a well drilling operation, the usual superstructure may be erected for drilling purposes.

Each beam 10 and 11 is of hollow box type construction and constitutes an airand water-tight tank. The top sides of the beams are equipped with openings 17 and the bottom sides have openings 18 which may be closed by plugs 19. With the use of suitable air or water pumping equipment the beams may be filled with water to make them heavy, or filled with air to make them buoyant, as the situation may require. When the beams are above water level, they may be filled by pumping water in through the top openings 17 Vand emptied by removing plugs 19. In situations where the platform might be used below the surface of the water, the beams may be made buoyant to raise the platform by removing the plugs 19 and inserting the ends of compressed air hoses to ll the beams with air and displace the water.

The ends of the beams are closed by plates 20 having vertical flanges 21, set at a 45 degree angle, and horizontal top flanges 22, these flanges being provided with bolt holes 23. The bottom sheet of each beam has an end portion Z5 extending beyond the end plate 20 and having an arcuate edge 26 at its extremity to fit the curvature of pile 12. The side edges of the plates are cut at 90 degree angles so that four beams may be brought together to lit around a pile, as shown in Figure 4, with the four quadrant plates 25 forming a guide for the pile. The beams are then fastened together by means of bolts 27, Figure 18, through the flanges 21. Figure 19 shows a plate 28 having flanges 21 and 22 and a quadrant plate 25, to take the place of a plate 20 where there is no beam end.

All the beams may first be connected together in this manner to form the complete platform, and then the piles 12 subsequently dropped through the holes formed by the arcuate edges 26, or, by floating or suspending the piles in vertical positions so that they are capable of lateral movement, the beams may be assembled around the piles, as shown in Figure 4. A feature ofthe present construction is the use of buoyant tanks for platform beams, so that they may be floated into position for connecting together, either with or without the piles in place at the time the connections are made.

Assembly Figure 6 illustrates the application of a pneumatic plug 30 which is inserted in the tubular pile to provide a convenient grip for handling the pile and to enable the pile to be filled with water to make it heavy, or filled with air to make it buoyant. The plug 3f) comprises a rigid cylindrical tank having a pair of rim flanges 31 to confine a hollow circular pneumatic tube 32. When the tube 32 is inflated by means of air hose 33, it expands to grip the inside of the pile, so that the pile may be lifted and handled by a cable 34 attached to a lifting eye in the center of the plug. When the air pressure is released from the tube 32, it relaxes to the size shown to release its grip on the pile and slide freely therewithin. The top wall of the tank of plug 30 is equipped with a connection for a second compressed air hose 35, and the bottom wall contains an opening equipped with a check valve 36.

By positioning the plug 30 near the lower end of the pile and then lowering the pile into the water by cable 34, the pile will float vertically as shown in Figure 3. In this use of the plug it is not necessary to supply compressed air through the hose 35, as the check valve 36 and the inflated tube 32 form a water-tight seal. After the tube 32 has been inflated, the supply hose 33 may be shut off by a suitable valve and both hoses disconnected from the air supply, so that the freedom of movement of the pile will not be limited by the length of the air hoses during assembly of the platform. For convenience, the cable 34 may have an eye at sufficient length to hang over the upper end of the pile, the air hoses 33 and 35 being of about the same length and equipped with suitable couplings for disconnection. A valve in the coupling of hose 33 maintains the tube 32 inflated after the hose is disconnected.

After the platform has been assembled by the most convenient method, it will float as shown in Figure 5 and may thus be towed to the location where the piles are to be driven. The buoyancy of the beams 10 and 11 is suflicient to float the platform without the use of the plugs 30 in the piles, but, if additional buoyancy is required to carry equipment on the platform, the plugs 30 may be inserted to increase the displacement of the whole assembly. In a 2l inch steel pile, for example, an additional buoyant force of one ton will be developed for each fifteen and one-half feet of submerged length which is filled with air. Hence, in the illustrated embodiment utilizing nine piles and assuming that the water is deep enough to allow the piles to be submerged to a depth of fifteen and one-half feet above their plugs 3ft, an additional deck load of nine tons of machinery and equipment can be carried by the floating platform without the use of any auxiliary buoyancy tanks that are not essential structural members of the platform.

When the platform is floated as a barge, the piles are secured temporarily against vertical movement in the platform by means of semicircular clamp members 40 shown in Figure 6. These members are hinged on a pin 41 in a bracket 42 on the bottom sides of the beam, and have ears 43 which are adapted to be bolted together by a bolt 44 to -grip the piling securely. When these clamps are not in use, the bolts 44 are loosened and the clamp members are held in position by a clip 45 which projects into notches 46 in the ears 43.

In a temporary installation, after driving the piles, thc top of each pile may be cut off at 49 on a level with the flanges 22 and the joint at the intersection of the beams capped with a plate 50 as shown in Figure 15. The plate 50 is secured to the various flanges 22 by means of bolts 51 and bears upon the top end of the pile to support the platform. It will be observed in Figure 2 that the plate 50 is level with the deck planking 16 so as to leave the deck of the platform free and clear of obstructions. When the platform is thus supported by the plate 50, the clamp 40 is no longer necessary.

Figure 16 illustrates a permanent installation. Here the top of the pile has been cut off at 53 considerably below the level of anges 22 and the pile, as well as the space between the plates 20 and 28, filled with concrete 54. The cap plate 50 is employed as before to support the platform, making the clamp device 4t! unnecessary after the concrete has set.

Pneumatic jack The construction of the pneumatic jack 13 is shown in Figure 6, wherein the space between the end plates 20 is designated as a chamber 55 which contains the jack. Essentially, the jack comprises a lifting, -or thrusting, bellows 60, an upper clamping tube 61, and a lower clamping tube 62, all being of annular shape to encircle a cylindrical pile or column. In Figure 6, the upper clamping tube 61 is shown in relaxed condition with a small clearance between it and the pile 12, and the lower clamping tube 62 is shown expanded to grip the pile. The lifting bellows 6) is deflated and collapsed. When cornpressed air is admitted to the bellows 60 it expands several inches in a vertical direction to move the clamping tubes 61 and 62 apart. The clamping tubes are preferably equipped with a iiexible rib tread, not shown, capable of transmitting a tremendous thrusting force to the pile without slipping.

It will be apparent to persons skilled in the art that the lifting bellows and clamping tubes may be made and assembled in different ways, for expansion by either liquid or gaseous media, but in the illustrated embodiment the expansible members are designed for pneumatic inflation. The lifting bellows 60 has an upper surface bonded to an annular plate 63 and a lower surface bonded to an annular plate 64, these plates having an inside diameter to lit loosely over the pile and an outside diameter to t within the chamber 55. This bellows comprises a plurality of iiexible annular tubes having common adjoining walls and interconnecting air passages for equalization of the pressure in all the tubes. When the tubes are inated with compressed air the bellows expands in a vertical direction thrusting the plates 63 and 64 farther apart. The upper clamping tube 61 is bonded to the inner cylindrical surface of an annular ring 65 of hollow box construction, and the lower clamping tube 62 is bonded to a similar ring 66.

The lower ring 66 is equipped with a plurality of ears 67, each connected with a spring 70 having a lifting handle 71 on its upper end. Each handle 71 extends through a keyhole slot 72 in a square top plate 73 and is equipped with a collar 76 of a size which will pass freely through the large end of keyhole slot 72 but which will not pass through the small end of the slot. Thus, when the collars 76 are engaged above the plates 73, as shown in Figure 6, the lower ring 66 is raised by the springs 70 to collapse the lifting bellows 60 whenever its air supply is cut olf and its internal pressure reduced to atmospheric. When the collars 76 are dropped through the large ends of slots 72, the lower clamping ring is free to drop by gravity.

Plate 73 has a horizontal rim flange 74 which is bolted to the anges 22 by means of bolts 51 to close the top of chamber S around the pile. Plate 73 also has a circular hole loosely fitting around the pile and forming an upper guide in vertical alignment with the lower guide 25, 26 to hold the pile vertical. A sloping flange 75 is provided around the central hole in plate 73 to facilitate insertion of the pile after the platform is assembled and this plate has been bolted in place, when such mode of assembly is more convenient than that shown in Figures 3 and 4.

It will be seen that the disposition of the jack 13 within thechamber 55,wherein considerable clearance exists between the jack and the side walls of the chamber and there is no rigid connection therebetween, establishes a degree of freedom of movement of the jack which enables it to move to a limited extent transversely of the chamber and also to cant to a limited extent relative to the platform formed by the beams. Such freedom of movement enables the jack 13 to accommodate itself to limited transverse or canting movements of the pile 12 occasioned by the loose mounting of the latter in the guiding hole in the plate 73 and the hole formed by the edges 26 of the plates 25. Thus, the jack 13 can effect relative vertical movement between the platform and the pile without binding against the latter.

The lifting bellows 60 and the two clamp tubes 61 and 62 are equipped with fittings 77 and 7S to make connection with the three air hoses 80, 81 and S2 which pass through holes 83 in the plate 73 as shown in Figures 6 and 18. Compressed air is supplied through a manifold 85 and controlled by the individual valves 35V, 33V, 80V, 81V and 82V to connect with the corresponding air hoses as shown. In the particular phase of operation illustrated in Figure 6, the first four valves are turned o to deflate and relax the tubes 32, 61 and bellows 60. In its oif position, each valve bleeds its hose down to atmospheric pressure. The valve 82V is shown open and the lower clamping tube 62 is expanded into rm gripping engagement with the pile 12.

Operation Figures 7 to 12 illustrate a sequence of steps constituting a cycle in a pile driving or platform lifting operation. In these figures the air hoses shown in double lines are open to atmospheric pressure to allow the bellows or clamping tubes connected therewith to collapse, and the hoses shown in solid black lines are connected with the air pressure supply 85 to inflate the bellows or clamping tube connected therewith. Preparatory to lifting the platform and driving the piles, the piles are first dropped to engage the sea bottom, the absence of the bolt 44 from clamping members 40 indicating that the clamp is loose on the pile to allow it to slide freely therethrough. The spring handles 71 are iirst raised and the collars 76 engaged above plate 73 to collapse the bellows 66 and hold the lower ring 66 in its raised position with upper ring 65 engaging the underside of the plate 73 as shown in Figure 7. Hoses and 81 are open to atmospheric pressure and valve 82V is opened to supply air pressure to yhose 82, thereby duplicating the condition illustrated in expanded in a vertical direction to act as a pneumatic jack and move the rings 65 and 66 farther apart. The thrust of bellows 60 reacts downwardly on the pile and upwardly on the platform and so it will be understood that this thrust may be utilized to lift the platform by the same 4 series of operations which will first be described in connection with the driving of the piles. The driving action is preferably applied to one pile at a time, and, hence, a considerable part of the weight of the whole platform may be brought to bear upon the one pile when the bellows 60 expands. This weight may be increased, if necessary, by iilling all the beams 10 and 11 and also the piles with water, with plugs 30 secured in the piles. The upper clamping tube 61 being relaxed and clamp members 40 being loosened, expansion of the bellows 60 pushes the pile 12 downward and the platform upward to the new relative positions shown in Figure 8 where bellows 60 has expanded to its limit.

The next step is to open the valve 81V to admit air pressure to hose 81 and cause the upper clamping tube 61 to grip the pile in its new relative position, as shown inFigure 9. Next, the air pressure is released from hose 82, as shown in Figure 10, and `then also from hose 80 as shown in Figure 11, allowingthe springs 70 to draw the bottom ring 66 with its now relaxed tube y62 to raised position. The platform is then supported directly upon the top ring 65. Compressed air is then admitted to hose 82 as indicated in Figure 12, and finally, with the release of air pressure from hose S1, the parts are-returned to the initial condition shown in Figure 7 with support .of the platform transferred to bottom ring 66. By repeating this cycle, the pile is driven step by step, several inches at a stroke, to the desired depth. The tube 32 may be inflated with the plug 30 near the lower end of the pile, and then the pile may be pumped full of water to add considerable weight to assist in driving the pile.

The driving technique may be adapted `to the condition encountered in a particular installation. lf the center pile is driven first, substantially the entire weight of the platform, including the water yin the beam tanks and piles if these are filled, may be brought to bear to assist the driving. If one of the outside `piles is driven first, nearly half the weight of the platform may be brought to bear upon it to furnish the driving force, or weight. It is not necessary to complete the driving of the rst one or two piles before the others are started, but, preferably, the partially driven piles are utilized as soon as they appear to be anchored in the bottom to assist in holding the platform down while the remaining piles are driven. Then the completion of the driving of the first one ortwo piles may be accomplished later, after all the other piles are available to resist the upward reaction.

All the piles may be driven by a single pneumaticjack 13 by shifting the jack from one pile to another. The jack is transferred by merely removing bolts 51 and lifting the plate 73 and jack mechanism out of charnber 55.

ln the present embodiment, wherein the drawings are made approximately to scale to illustrate a specific apparatus designed for 2l inch piles and an air pressure supply at 200 pounds per square inch, lthe bellows :60 is capable of exerting a lifting force, or drivingpush, of 75 tons. The maximum thrust of the bellows, of course, cannot be applied to the first pile to lbe driven unless the platform has sufiicient weight, but as soon as some or all of the piles are partially driven, -the full 75 tons can be applied.

It will be evident that if pneumatic jacks `are installed on all the piles and operated in unison, the whole platform may be lifted bodily to any height above the water as shown in Figure 2 and it is advantageous todo this before the piles are driven, rather than after. Using the Ldata of the preceding paragraph, it will be seen that the present nine jacks will lift a weight of platform and -equipment equal to 675 tons, if necessary. In marine use it Eis usually desired to raise the platform at least above the wave action at high tide.

The action of the pneumatic jack is `also yreversible for removing piles. In Figure 13 it will be observed 'that the clamp members 4t) are still in loosened condition, as indicated by the absence of bolts 44, and that the spring handles 71 have been shifted to the large ends lof .the keyhole slots 72 to permit the collars 76 to pass through plate 73 and drop the lower rings'66 down tothe bottom abutment plates 2S. To lift the pile, compressed air is first introduced into the hose 81 to inflate the top clamping tube 61, as shown. Then, when compressed air is admitted to the hose 80 to expand the bellows:60, the ring 65 is lifted to raise the pile to the position shown lin Figure 14.

As long as the pile being removed is still supported by the sea bottom, it is not necessary to inate the ybottom clamping tube 62, and the lifting cycle is completed merely by turning off the compressed lair and opening both hoses 80 and til to atmosphere to allow the :top ring 65 to dropdown for a newv grip on the pile. One pile is removed at a time in this manner whilethe-others support thev platform. In this operation, the `full lifting force of -bellows 60 may be exerted upon each ypile in turn because `the downward reaction is distributed over the other eight piles which are capable of supporting the platform even after they have been pulled out of ltheir embedded positions and are merely resting on the bottom.

After all the piles have been pulled out of the mud, they Vmay be lifted clear of the bottom by utilizing the lower clamping tube v62 in conjunction with the tube 61 and bellows efr. At this stage the next step after Figure 14 yis to admit compressed air `to hose 82, lthen open hoses and 81 to atmosphere to allow the top ring 65 to drop, then admit pressure 'to hose S1, and finally open hose 82 to atmosphere which would complete the cycle back to the starting position shown in Figure 13 'without releasing the pile to slip back.

To assist in removing the `pile from the sea bottom, the tube 32 is inflated and compressed air is supplied through hose 35. This air passes through check valve 36 and the pressure developed beneath the plug exerts an upward reaction on lthe pile. An air pressure of 200 pounds per square inch thus applied in a 2l inch diameter pile can exert a lifting force of over `three tons and, in addition, this .air pressure tends to force water around the bottom edge of .the pile and loosen the mud or clay in which it is embedded to make withdrawal easier. ln Figure 14 compressed air would then be admitted to both hoses 33 and 35 to expand the tube 32 against the inside surface of the pile and to develop a lifting pressure on the bottom area of the plug.

Figures 20, 21 and 22 illustrate the construction of an oil well drilling barge for off-shore drilling operations and constructed in accordance with the present invention. This barge has been built and tested using six foot diameter steel piles. The barge 109 is fabricated of girders, 'beams and steel plates to form a buoyant hull which may be towed to the si-te of erection. Thus, the bottom plates 101 and deck plates 102, together with the side and end plates, form a large buoyancy chamber which maybe compartmented and fitted with tanks and other equipment, as required for the intended purpose. The barge is provided with a well or opening 103 for the drilling rig and well casings.

When `the barge has arrived at the site of erection, hollow, cylindrical sheet steel piles or other suitable supporting members 104 are inserted through fluid pressure operated jack units, designated generally by the numeral 16S (Figure 20) until 'they rest on the sea bottom. Numeral 106 designates an air compressor unit connected with an air pressure supply pipe 107 for operating the jack units `to raise -tne 4barge to form a working platform above the wave action. After elevation ofthe barge to a suitable yheight above the water the jack units 105 may be operated one after another to drive the piles into the sea bottom sutliciently to stabilize the platform and support the drilling equipment (not shown). The jack units 105 do not interfere with `the use of a conventional `pile driver, which may be employed or not, as desired.

Whenever .it .is desired to move the platform, the operation of the jack units is reversed to pull instead of drive ythe piles, and when the piles are all removed the platform again becomes a barge which floats freely on 4the water by its own buoyancy.

Figure 22 illustrates the construction of one of the jack units 105 shown vin Figure 20. The barge 19t). is equipped with a circular well or opening 109 for each pile 104, the Well extending entirely through the barge from deck plate Ito bottom plate and serving as a guide to hold the pile in vertical position, as well as a wall to make the barge lwater-tight. Each jack unit comprises an upper gripper assembly 11i), a lower gripper assembly 1-11, and an intermediate vertically expansible lifting bag assembly 112.

Each gripperassembly 119 and 111 preferably-.com-

prises a stack of annular steel channels 115 containing inflatable tubular rubber rings or elas-tic expansible resilient members 116. The rubber rings 116 have a generally rectangular cross section to lit the channels 115, whereby, when the rings are inflated, preferably with air, they cannot expand in any direction except inwardly or laterally against the outer surface of the cylindrical pile 164 lto apply a constrictive resi-lient grip with uniform radially directed pressure around the entire circumference of 'the pile. When the rubber rings 116 are deflated by exhausting them -to atmospheric pressure, they contract back into their channels 115 sufficiently to provide a slipping clearance for relatively free axial movement of each pile or supporting member.

The annular steel channels 115 are equipped with radially projecting ears 117 by which all the channels of each gripper assembly may be bolted together as a unit by means of bolts 118. The lowermost channel 115 of the upper gripper assembly is bolted to a flat annular thrust plate 120 by bolts 121, and -the uppermost channel 115 of the lower gripper assembly is similarly connected to a flat annular thrust plate 122 by bolts 123, whereby the plate 120 becomes a part of the upper gripper assembly and the plate 122 becomes a part of the lower gripper assembly. The lower gripper assembly 'is shown resting on the deck plate 102 and indirectly supporting the upper gripper assembly, and it is to be understood that both gripper assemblies have freedom for limited vertical movement on the pile with respect to the deck plate 102. The deck plate 102 provides an abutmeut to lirnit the downward movement of the lower gripper assembly, and a top annular abutment plate 124 limits the upward movement of the upper gripper assembly. The upper abutment plate 124 is anchored to the barge by a plurality of long vertical rods 125 to allow the desired ver-tical movement of the gripper assemblies. The rod 125 extends slidably through the plate 124 and coaxially and slidably through cup-like elements 124 integral therewith. A washer 125 secured on the upper end of each .rod 125 by a nut 126' bears I against an annular resilient member 127, of rubber or the like, within each element 124 to cushion the abutment plate 124. Abutment plate 124 is buttressed by an inwardly directed member 126 at each rod, having a sloping guide surface 127 to guide the lower end of the pile into the upper gripper assembly in erection. It again will be noted that the rods 125 extend loosely through oversize apertures in the plates 120 and 122 to permit, to a limited extent, both lateral and canting movements of the gripper assemblies relative to the well 109.

interposed between the thrust plates 120 and 122 is a sandwich of vertically expansible tubular rubber lifting rings or bags 130 separated by flat annular retainer plates 131, which sandwich constitutes the vertically expansible lifting assembly 112. The lifting bags 130 and the rubber gripping rings 116 collapse to substantially flat condition when dellated to atmospheric pressure so as to be free from engagement with the pile 104 and allow axial movement thereof. In Figure 22 the lifting bags 130 are partially inflated, and the gripping rings.

116 are fully inflated, to best illustrate their shapes and mode of operation. Ordinarily, the upper and lower gripper assemblies would not both be inflated at the same time.

Fluid pressure operated means are also provided for moving the upper and lower gripper assemblies toward each other to compress the bags 130. A cylinder 135 is mounted on the lower thrust plate 122 and has a piston 136 connected with a yoke or cross head 137. AV

pair of tension rods 138 are connected at their lower ends to the yoke 137 and at their upper ends to the upper thrust plate 120, whereby the admission of lluid pressure in cylinder 135 above the piston tends to pull the upper plate 120 downward and push 10 the lower plate 122 upward to squeeze the air bags 130 and insure complete deflation thereof to obtain a full stroke in each operating cycle.

The iluid pressure operated members are actuated from a supply pipe 140 equipped with a shut-off valve 141 and connected with supply pipe 107 in Figure 20. Supply pipe 140 connects with a control valve assembly 142 having four manual control levers 143. Each of the control levers 143 operates a three-position valve having one position for admitting fluid pressure from supply pipe 14@ to the tubular member to be expanded, one position to close the valve and hold the pressure, and a third position to close the valve on the supply side and open the valve on the side connected with the expansible tube to deilate the tube to atmospheric pressure, as will be readily understood by persons skilled in the art. Thus, a pipe 144 connects one of the control valves with a manifold 145 having spaced branched tubular arms 145 each communicating with a rubber ring 116 of the upper gripper assembly 110. Similarly, a pipe 146 connects a second one of the control valves with a manifold 147 having spaced tubular arms 147' each leading to a rubber ring 116 of the lower gripper assembly 111. A pipe 148 leads from a third control valve to a connection in the plate communicating with the lifting bags 139. These bags and the annular separating plates 131 are equipped with registering apertures at 149 and suitable fittings, not shown, for equalizing the pressure in all the bags 130. A pipe 150 leads from the fourth control valve to the cylinder 135. It is to be understood that the pipe 148 may make connection with the ring 120 and lifting bags 130 at a number of different points around the pile, and that, likewise, a number of the manifolds 145 and 147 may be provided to introduce air simultaneously at different points around the gripping rings 116. Also, a plurality of the cylinders 135 are preferably employed to draw the thrust plates and gripper assemblies together evenly on all sides of the pile or cylindrical supporting member 104. The so-called pipes 140, 144, 146, 148 and 150 are, of course, flexible and of such length to accommodate movement of the parts.

In Figure 22, if the lower gripper assembly 111 is released by exhausting the lower rings 116 to atmosphere, and the rings 116 of the upper gripper assembly are inflated to grip the pile, then the pile will be pulled upwardly relative to the barge as the lifting bags expand in a vertical direction. The limit of the vertical expansion is reached when the uppermost channel 115 of the upper gripper assembly engages the top abutment plate 124. The parts are returned to starting position for another lifting stroke by admitting compressed air to the lower gripper assembly 111 and venting the upper gripper assembly 110 and lifting assembly 112 to atmosphere, and then admitting uid pressure to cylinders to deflate and atten the lifting bags 130.

The pile is driven by first raising the lower gripper assembly as far as possible, and then admitting uid pressure thereto to clamp on the pile in a high position. Then, when fluid pressure is admitted to the lifting bags 130 with the upper gripper assembly released, the pile will be thrust downwardly if the barge is restrained from rising. lf the pneumatic jacks are operated simultaneously in this manner on all the piles, the barge will be lifted bodily, until the limit of the stroke is reached by the bottom channel 115 of the lower gripper assembly engaging the deck plate 102. To return the parts to starting position for each new cycle, fluid pressure is then admitted to upper gripper assembly 110 and cylinder 135, and released 'from lower gripper assembly 111 and lifting bags 130, whereupon the lower gripper assembly is lifted to get as high a new grip as possible on the pile for the next thrust. l

lThe sequence-of operations for driving and pulling 1l piles or other suitable supporting members and their associated parts is the same as illustrated in Figures 7-14.

In the modification disclosed in Figures 23 and 24, there is shown a long, narrow dock barge 200 having a number of hollow cylindrical steel piles 201 for stabilizing and supporting the structure on the sea bottom. Fluid pressure operated jacks 202 are capable of lifting the barge out of the water, driving the piles, submerging the barge beneath the water, and pulling the piles.

Figure 25 illustrates how a number of such barges may be positioned and connected end to end to form a temporary dock of any desired length. These barges are equipped with pressure supply pipes 203, Figure 23, extending entirely around the barge and having outlet connections 204 at stations adjacent each pile for hose connections to operate the lifting jacks on the piles or supporting members. Other pressure supply connections 20S at the ends of the barges provide for connection with an air compressor 206 by means of hose 207, and interconnections between adjacent barges by means of hose connections 208 whereby a single air compressor unit may supply the necessary operating lluid pressure for the pile jacks of all the barges. By connecting the air supply systems together in this manner, a single large air compressor unit may be stationed wherever convenient and out of the way along a dock, or a plurality of smaller air compressor units may be employed in any number as required.

Figure 26 illustrates the use of the dock barge 200 as a temporary dry dock for ship repair and the like, where there are no conventional dry dock facilities. After driving the piles 201, the barge 200 may be flooded and lowered on the piles so that a ship to be dry-docked may be lloated over the barge between the piles. This may be accomplished by mounting the air compressor 206 and control mechanism on a small floating barge or ship 210 which is connected with the piping and control systems of the barge 200 by means of connecting hoses 211. Then, when the barge 200 is raised out of water by jacks 202, it raises the ship 212 along with it to perform the function of a dry dock. In this operation, the lifting effort of the jacks 202 may be assisted by pumping air into the flooded barge 200 to restore its natural buoyancy.

Figure 27 illustrates the construction of the jack units 202. The barge 200 is equipped with cylindrical well 220 extending from the deck plate 221 through the bottom plate of the barge to serve as a guide for each of the piles 201. Each jack unit comprises an upper gripper assembly 222, a lower gripper assembly 223, and an interposed lifting assembly 224. Each gripper assembly comprises a cylindrical steel plate 225 having a plurality of inwardly directed horizontal vertically spaced flanges 226 defining channels for radially and inwardly expansible tubular rubber gripping rings or resilient inflatable members 227. The flanges 226 provide a circular opening slightly larger than the pile to provide the necessary clearance for relative movement, and the rubber rings 227 contract away from the pile to maintain approximately the same clearance when they are dellated `to atmospheric pressure. The lower edge of the lower gripper assembly comprises a flat annular plate 228 to engage `the deck plates 221 in `the lower position of this gripper assembly. A flat annular plate 229 on the upper end of the upper gripper assembly is equipped with a plurality of upstanding circumferentially spaced guide plates 230 with inwardly sloping edges to guide the lower end of the pile 201 into the upper gripper assembly when inserting the pile into the well or other `suitable opening 220.

The upper gripper assembly 222 carries a plurality of ears 235 which are apertured to slide on tension bolts or rods 236 anchored lat their lower ends to the barge. The lower end of the upper gripper assembly is faced with Ia at annular thrust plate 237, and the upper end of 1'2 the lower gripper assembly is faced with a similar thrust plate 238 between which is confined the vertically expansible lifting assemlby 224. Nuts 239 on the rods 236 constitute abutments 4to limit the upward movement of "the upper gripper assembly relative to the barge.

The lifting assembly 224 comprises -a plurality of annular rubber tubes or bags 240 separated by llat retainer plates 241. These tubes and plates have registering apertures 242 equipped with suitable fittings, not shown, to equalize the pressure in the several tubes.

The upper and lower gripping units are drawn together by the action of a plurality of cylinders 245. Each cylinder 245 contains a piston 246 mounted on the plate 237. A pair of tension rods 247 are connected at their lower ends with thrust plate 238 `of the lower gripper assembly and at their upper ends with cylinder 245. When fluid pressure is admitted into cylinder 24S above the piston 246, the cylinder is thrust upwardly to draw the lthrust plates 237 and 238 together and squeeze or compress the collapsible tubes 240 of the lifting assembly.

By reason of the above described form of construction in Figure 27, ythe upper and lower gripper assemblies have relative vertical movement, and both of these assemblies are movable relative to the deck plates 221 to the extent permitted by the stop nuts 239 on the rods 236.

The fluid pressure requirements of the jack unit 202 are supplied `by four pipes 251, 252, 253 and 254. Pipe 251 connects with a manifold 255 communicating with all the inllatable tubes 227 of the upper gripper assembly 222, `and pipe 252 connects with a manifold 256 communicating with all the inflatable tubes of the lower gripper assembly 223. Pipe 253 connects with the tubes 240 `of the lifting assembly, and pipe 254 connects with the cylinders 245. Figure 27 shows the connections on only one side of the jack unit.

The pipes 251, 253 and 254, which preferably comprise flexible hoses to allow for 4the movement of the parts, connect with a combination manual and remote control valve device 260, shown Ischematically in Figure 28, there being vone such valve device 260 for each individual jack unit 202. When the jack units are operated individually, as in driving or pulling one pile at a time, the valve device 260 may be operated manually by a series of control levers 261, whereby each lever controls the supply of air to one of the pipes 251 to 254, inclusive. The individual valves `and levers each have two positions wherein fluid pressure is admitted to one of the piles 251 to 254 in one position, while in the other position these pipes are open to atmosphere. The source of lluid pressure to supply the pipes 251 to 254 is obtained through a pipe 262 connecting with the main supply pipe 203, Figure 23, which extends Iaround the barge. Main supply pipe 203 is preferably 'of sulliciently large size to serve as a supply tank in a pneumatic system.

When it is desired to 'operate a plurality of the jack units 202 in unison, this may be accomplished by a single master control valve unit 270, Figure 28, which is connected with all the valve devices 260 by means of four control pipes 271, 272, 273 and 274 which extend around the barge -adjacent the supply pipe 203, as also shown in Figure 29. Pipes and llexible hose connections 275 communicate the respective control pipes 271 to 274 with the remote control valve device 260, and the additional pipes and hose connections, indicated at 275 in Figure 28, lconnect with the remote control valve device 260 for another jack unit (not shown) wherein the main air supply pipe connection is indicated at 262'.

The master control valve mechanism 270 has manual operating levers 280 for admitting fluid pressure into selected ones of the control pipes 271 to 274 from a branch 281 of the main -supply pipe 203. When a lever 280 is manipulated, for example, to admit fluid pressure into control 4pipe 27'1, the corresponding valves in each valve unit 260 are operated yby remote control to admit lluid pressure from pipes 262 into the pipe `251 of each jack unit 202 and actuate yall the upper gripper assemblies simultaneously. When the master lcontrol lever 280 under `consideration is shifted to a different position, fluid pressure is released from control pipe 271 to `shift all the corresponding valves in remote control valve units 260 to relieve the pressure in each pipe 251. In this Way, all the jack units 202 are `operated in unison by a `single operator at the master control valve unit 270.

It is to be understood that Figure 28 is in the nature of a diagrammatic representation of the control system, and that the branch supply pipe 262 and branch control pipes 275 preferably terminate at the deck outlet connections 204. The deck outlet connections may be equipped with suitable check valves which are automatically opened by the attachment of suitable flexible hose connections from the remote control valve units 260. The supply pipe connections at 205 may also be accompanied by control pipe connections as illustrated in Figure 29, so that a plurality of the barges disposed as in Figure 25 may be raised or lowered simultaneously by a single master control valve unit 270 (Figure 28), if desired.

It will be noted from the disclosures in Figures 6, 22 and 27 that the improved supporting structure in its several illustrated forms, may be considered as including a base or the like, provided with an opening through which extends a suitable supporting member. The base also has vertically spaced upper and lower abutments between which the gripping assembly is vertically movable. Further, in all forms of the invention shown, the gripping assembly comprises an intermediate axially expansible member and laterally upper and lower expansible end members disposed on opposite sides of the intermediate members so that the upper end member may be moved in engagement with the adjacent upper abutment and the lower end member in contact with the lower abutment. Additionally, means are provided for selectively controlling the ow of fluid to the expansible members so that the supporting member may be moved axially relative to the base or the base may be moved axially relative to the supporting member. Thus, it will be seen that an eliicient, economical and compact flexible gripping assembly is provided which is admirably suited for use with various types of'land and marine supports for raising or lowering the same such as piles, columns, pillars, platforms, hoisting booms, barges, dry docks and other portable or xed structures.

It will be appreciated, further, that the platform may be raised and lowered beneath the surface of the water with the same fac-ility as when it is above the surface. Under water the platform may be used by divers for working on bridge piers or other submerged foundations and the like, where itis desired to raise the platform as the work progresses to higher levels.

Still other uses for the present pneumatic jack and for the novel combination of lifting jack with platform and smooth piles will occur to persons skilled in the art, butthe present description is sutiicient to illustrate the principles of the invention which may be adapted to the other elds of use.

It is, of course, understood that the dimensions, pressures and thrusting forces mentioned` hereinabove are merely illustrative of a particular installation, as very much larger caissons may obviously be driven in the same manner. Also, hydraulic pressure may be used instead of pneumaticpressure.

Having now described my invention and in what manner the same may be used, what I claim as new and desire to protect by Letters Patent is:

1. For use in constructing a marine platform, a tubular cylindrical pile, an inflatable plug in said pile to make the pile buoyant in water, a plurality of buoyant hollow beams, each having segmental pile guide 14 means on at leastone end thereof, and means connect'- ing said beams together in end to end relation around said pile with the beams in floating positions and said pile in an upstanding position.

2. A support of the class described including a base having an opening therein, a supporting member extending into said opening, said base having vertically spaced upper and lower abutments thereon, a movable gripping assembly positioned between said abutments, said gripping assembly including an intermediate vertically expansible and collapsible member, laterally expansible upper and lower end members disposed, respectively, above and below said intermediate member, said upper end member being arranged to be moved upwardly'into engagement with said upper abutment and said lower end member downwardly into engagement with said lower abutment, means for introducing fluid under pressure into said intermediate member for moving said end members axially away from each other and selectively into engagement with either or both of said abutments, and means for selectively introducing fluid under pressure into said end members for expanding the same laterally into gripping engagement with the supporting member.

3. A support as called for in claim 2 including means for collapsing the intermediate member.

4. A jack mechanism for use on a supporting member comprising spaced upper and lower movable gripper assemblies having vertically aligned openings to receive the supporting member, vertically expansible fluid pressure operated means between said assemblies for urging them apart, each of said gripper assemblies comprising a rigid annular channel facing, and a hollow elastic annular tube in each of said channels constrictable by iiuid pressure to grip the supporting member.

5. A jack mechanism for use on smooth cylindrical piles and the like, comprising upper and lower annular radially expansible gripper assemblies, flat parallel annular opposed thrust plates on said assemblies, a plurality of annular fluid pressure axially expansible hollow annular tubes disposed in superposed relation between said thrust plates, and flat annular rigid separating plates interposed between said tubes.

6. A jack mechanism for use on cylindrical piles and the like, comprising spaced upper and lower annular gripper assemblies having opposed flat annular thrust plates, a fluid pressure vertically expansible annular hollow tube confined between said thrust plates, annular channels in said gripper assemblies, and uid pressure expansible annular hollow tubes in said channels.

7. A jack mechanism for use on smooth cylindrical piles and the like, comprising spaced upper and lower annular gripper assemblies, an annular tluid pressure expansible hollow tube disposed between said gripper assemblies for urging said gripper assemblies apart, each of said gripper assemblies comprising a cylindrical wall having parallel inwardly directed radial flanges defining annular channels, and fluid pressure expansible annular hollow tubes in said channels having cylindrical pile engaging surfaces.

8. Jack mechanism for operation on a circular column comprising: a pair of axially-elongated rigid rings for encircling the column in axially-spaced relation, each of said rings having a plurality of inwardly-facing circumferential channels therein; a hollow rubber-like constricting ring in each of said channels; a plurality of hollow rubber-like axially-extensible rings for encircling the column interposed between said rigid rings; a rigid dat ring interposed between each pair of ladjacent extensible rings, each pair of adjacent extensible rings and the at ring therebetween having aligned openings providing communication between the interiors of said pair; and means for selectively admitting pressure uid to and exhausting pressure iluid from 'all the constrictng rings of one of said axially-elongated rigid rings, all of the constricting rings 1-5 of the other of said axially-elongated rigid rings, and at least one of said extensible rings.

9. The structure dened in claim S including cylinder and piston means connected to both of the rigid rings for forcing the latter axially toward each other.

10. A marine structure comprising: a buoyant body having a plurality of caisson wells extending vertically therethrough; a jack mechanism for each of said wells and comprising upper and lower power-'actuated means for releasably and independently engaging and holding a caisson slidably guided in said well against longitudinal movement relative to the corresponding holding means, and means including lluid-pressure-operable means for forcing said upper and lower holding means apart and for moving said upper :and lower holding means toward each other; means on said body defining an annular abutment surrounding each of said wells below and for engagement by the corresponding lower holding means to limit downward movement thereof relative to said body; an annular abutment ring for each of said wells spaced above the corresponding abutment for engagement by the corresponding upper holding means to limit upward movement thereof relative to said body; and tension elements depending from each of said abutment rings and securing the latter to said body.

1l. A marine structure comprising: a buoyant body having a plurality of caisson wells extending vertically therethrough; a jack mechanism for each of said wells and comprising upper and lower power-actuated means for releasably and independently engaging and holding a caisson slidably guided in said well against longitudinal movement relative to the corresponding holding means, and means including tluidpressureoperable means for forcing said upper and lower holding means apart and for moving said upper and lower holding means toward each other; means on said body defining an annular abutment surrounding each of said wells below and for engagement by the corresponding lower holding means to limit downward movement thereof relative to said body; a plurality of upstanding tension elements spaced about each of said wells, secured to said body, and slidably engaging the corresponding upper holding means; and stop means on said elements tolimit upward movement of the corresponding upper holding means relative to said body.

l2. A marine structure comprising: a buoyant body having a deck and a plurality of caisson wellsextending vertically therethrough; a jack mechanism for each of said wells above said deck and comprising upper and lower power-actuated holding means for releasably and independently engaging and holding a caisson guided in said well against longitudinal movement relative to the corresponding holding means, means for engaging one of said holding means with said body against upward movement relative to the latter, and fluid-pressure-operable means for forcefully moving the other of said holding means relative to said one holding means in a direction to move the caisson downwardly relative to said body when said other holding means is engaged with, and said one holding means is released from, the caisson.

13. A marine structure comprising: a buoyant body having a deck and a plurality of caisson wells extending vertically therethrough; a jack mechanism for each of said wells above said deck and comprising upper 'and lower power-actuated means for releasably and independently engaging and lholding a caisson guided in said well against longitudinal movement relative to the correspending holding means, means for engaging one of said holding means with said body against downward movement relative to the latter, and fluid-pressure-operable means for forcefully moving the other of said holding means relative to said one holding means in a direction to movcrthe caisson upwardly relative to said body when said other holding means is engaged with, and said one holding means is released from, the caisson.

14. The method of erectingaimarine platform ata` site of predetermined water depth, the steps comprising: supporting in upstanding position on a buoyantly supported platform, with their lower ends above the marine bottom, a plurality of elongated platform-supporting members each symmetrical in cross section and of greater length than the water depth at the site; floating the platform to the site with the members so supported; moving the members down into substantially vertical engagement with the marine bottom at the site; engaging the members symmetrically thereabout and at an elevation thereon adjacent the platform; raising the platform a relatively short distance on the members by exerting opposing forces between the platform and the members through said engagement; engaging the members symmetrically thereabout at a different elevation thereon adjacent the platform; supporting the platform on the members against vertical movement relative thereto by the last-mentioned engagement; shifting the first-mentioned engagement to a higher elevation on the members; repeating the foregoing sequence of raising, engaging, supporting, and shifting steps until at least a substantial portion of the weight of the platform is supported on the members; engaging at least one of the members symmetrically thereabout and at an elevation thereon adjacent lthe platform; driving the engaged member a relatively short distance into the marine bottom by exerting opposing forces between the platform and the member through said engagement while engaging all the other members against vertical movement relative to the platform; shifting the engagement of the one member to a higher elevation thereon; and repeating the foregoing driving and shifting steps to drive the member farther into the marine bottom.

l5. The method of erecting a marine platform at a site of predetermined water depth, the steps comprising: floating a platform to 'a site; supporting in upstanding position on the platform a plurality of elongated platform-supporting members each symmetrical in cross section and of greater length than the water depth at the site; guiding the members for substantially vertical linear movement relative to the platform and for limited canting movement in any direction relative thereto; moving the members down into engagement with the marine bottom at the site; engaging the members symmetrically thereabout and at an elevation thereon adjacent the platform while permitting said limited canting movement; raising the platform a relatively short distance on the members by exerting opposing forces between the platform and the members through said engagement; en-

gaging the members symmetrically thereabout 'at a different elevation thereon adjacent the platform while permitting said limited canting movement; supporting the platform on the members against vertical movement relative thereto by the last-mentioned engagement; shifting the first-mentioned engagement to a higher elevation on the members; and repeating the foregoing sequence of raising, engaging, supporting, and shifting steps until at least a substantial portion of the weight of the platform is supported on the members.

16. The method of erecting a platform at a marine location of predetermined water depth, the steps comprising: floating the platform to the location; guiding for vertical movement on the platform a plurality of elongated upstanding platform-supporting members each prising: floating to the location a platform having -a plurality of guiding wells extending vertically therethrough and a deck flush with the upper edge of the wells; supporting in upstanding position in the wells and guided therein for substantially vertical linear move- .5 ment relative to the platform, a plurality of elongated platform-supporting members each of greater length than the water depth at the location; moving the members down into engagement with the marine bottom; raising the platform on the members by jack means, one for` each member and releasably engageable therewith; cutting oif each member substantially ush with the deck and supporting the platform on the cut-off members independently of their jack means; and removing all the jack means for use with another platform.

18. The method defined in claim l7 in which the step of supporting the platform on the cut-olf members is accomplished by placing a cap over the top of each cutolf member and its corresponding well and securing the cap to the platform. t

19. A structure comprising: a platform-like body; at least one elongated substantially upright member, symmetrical in cross section, for supporting said body; guide means on said body mounting said member for substantially vertical movement therebetween; power-operated?` means engageable with said member uniformly thereabout for selectively effecting or restraining said relative movement; means for supporting said body on said power-operated means at a plurality of locations arranged symmetrically about said member; and yieldable means incorporated in said supporting means for substantially equalizing the body-supporting forces at said supporting means locations.

20. The method of erecting a marine platform at a site of predetermined water depth, the steps comprising: 1 supporting in upstanding position on a buoyantly-supported platform, with their lower ends above the marine bottom, a plurality of elongated platform-supporting members each of greater length than the water depth at the site; moving all the members down into opstanding en-f gagement with the marine bottom; raising the platform on all the members until at least a subtsantial portion of the weight of the platform is supported on the members; and driving the members generally in succession to a predetermined bearing in the marine bottom, by exerting.;` opposed forces between the platform and the member being driven, while at least partially supporting the platform on the other members. v

2l. The method of erecting a marine platform at a site of predetermined water depth, the steps comprising:3 supporting in upstanding position on a buoyantly-supported platform, with their lower ends above the marine bottom, a plurality4 of elongated platform-supporting members each of greater length than the water depth at the site; moving all the members down into upstandingy` engagement with the marine bottom; driving a number of said members, less than all, to a bearing in the marine bottom; engaging the platform with the driven members against upward movement relative thereto; and driving the remaining members generally in succession to a bear-,` ing in the marine bottom by exerting opposed forces between the platform and each of the remaining members.

22. The method of dismantling Ia marine platform supported on a plurality of upstanding elongated members driven into a marine bottom, the steps comprising: lowering the platform on the members down to the Water and buoyantly supporting the platform on the water; and pulling the members generally in succession out of their embedded position in the marine bottom by exerting opposed forces between the member to be pulled and the platform while engaging the platform with the remaining embedded members against downward movement relative thereto.

23. The method defined in claim 2 2 in which each raise it further is substantially equal to the weight of the member, and the platform is engaged with all the remaining members -against downward movement relative thereto as each member is pulled up.

24. In a structure of the type described, the combination comprising: a platform; a plurality of substantiallyupright elongated members for stably supporting said platform; guide means mounting each of said members on said platform for substantially vertical linear relative movement therebetween; a pair of power-operated holding means spaced along the length of each of said members and each independently releasably engageable with the corresponding member against longitudinal movement relative thereto; means for engaging one of said holding means of each of said pairs with said platform against upward movement relative to the latter; poweroperated means for forcefully moving the other of said holding means of each of said pairs relative to said one holding means of the corresponding pair in a direction to move the corresponding member downwardly relative to said platform when said other holding means of the corresponding pair is engaged with said corresponding member, and for moving said other holding means of the corresponding pair in the opposite direction; and power-control means for selectively and individually effecting engagement and disengagement of each of said holding means with the corresponding member and for selectively operating each `of said moving means.

25. In a structure of the type described, the combination comprising: a platform; a plurality of substantiallyupright elongated members for stably supporting said platform; guide means on said platform mounting each of said members for substantially vertical linear relative movement therebetween; a pair of power-operated holding means spaced along the length of each of said members and each independently releasably engageable with the corresponding member against longitudinal movement relative thereto; means for engaging one of said holding means of each of said pairs with said platform against downward movement relative to the latter; poweroperated means for forcefully moving the other of said holding means of each of said pairs relative to said one holding means of the corresponding pair in a direction to move the corresponding member upwardly relative to said platform when said other holding means of the corresponding pair is engaged with said correspondngmember, and for moving said other holding means of the corv responding pair in the opposite direction; and powercontrol means for selectively and individually effecting `engagement and disengagement of each of said holding means With the corresponding member and for selectively `operating each of said moving means.

26. A marine structure comprising: a body; a plurality of elongated marine-bottom-engageable members for stably supporting said body; guide means on said body mounting each of said members in generally upright position on said body for relative linear movement Vtherebetween in directions extending substantially longitudinally of the corresponding member; power-operated 'means acting individually on each of said members and said body for selectively restraining said relative movement or effecting said relative movement; mounting means on said body for each of said power-operated means; and shock-absorber means included in each of said mounting means for absorbing shocks imparted to said body through each of said power-operated means by abrupt engagement of the corresponding member with a marine bottom.

27. A marine structure comprising: a platform; a plurality of elongated members for stably supporting said platform; guide means on said platform mounting each of said members for relative movement between said platform and each member in directions extending substantially longitudinally of the latter; jack means for member is pulled up only until the force necessary to,,75 each of said members for effecting said relative movefernreisen ment comprising a pair of upper and lower holding means spaced along the length of the corresponding member and each independently releasably engageable therewith against movement relative thereto in said directions, and power-operated means for forcing said upper and lower holding means away from each other in said directions; and resiliently yieldable abutment means secured to said platform and engageable by said upper holding means of each of said pairs on upward movement thereof to yieldably limit the extent of upward movement of said upper holding means relative to said platform.

28. A marine structure comprising: a buoyant platform; a plurality of elongated members for stably supporting said platform; guide means on said platform mounting each of said members for relative movement between said platform and each member in directions extending substantially longitudinally of the latter; jack means for each of said members for effecting said relative movement comprising a pair `of upper and lower holding means spaced along the length of the corresponding member and each independently releasably engageable therewith against movement relative thereto in said directions, and power-operated means for forcing said upper and lower holding means selectively away from and toward each other in said directions; abutment means engageable by said upper holding means on upward movement thereof; resiliently cushioned means securing said abutment means to said platform to yieldingly limit the extent of upward movement of said upper holding means of each of said pairs relative to said platform; and additional abutment means secured to said platform and engageable by said lower holding means of each of said pairs for limiting the extent of downward movement of the latter relative to said platform.

29. The method of erecting a platform at a relativelysoft-bottom marine location of predetermined water depth, the steps comprising: floating to the location a platformlike buoyant body having a plurality of upstanding elongated body-supporting members mounted generally symmetrically thereon and guided for substantially vertical relative linear movement therebetween, the length of each of the members being greater than the water depth at the location and all the members being held up off the marine bottom while the body is floated to the location; moving the members down into engagement with the marine bot-" tom; raising the body on the members until at least a maJor portion of the weight of the body is supported thereon; generally sequentially ldriving said members to refusal into the marine bottom by exerting opposing forces4 `between each member and the body while fixing the body to all of the already driven members against said relative movement; and raising the body on all of said members to an elevation above wave action.

' 30. The method defined in claim 29 in which the step,

ofmoving the members down into engagement with the marine bottom is accomplished by allowing the members to drop free of any fall-restraining engagement with the body.

3l. The method of erecting a platform at a relatively- 'soft-bottom marine location of predetermined water depth,vv

thestep comprising: floating to the location a platformlike buoyant body having a plurality of upstanding elongated body-supporting members mounted generally symmetricallythereon and guided for substantially vertical relative linear movement therebetween, the length of each' of the members being greater than the water depth at the location and all the members being held up off the marine bottom while the body is floated to the location; moving the' members down into engagement with the marine bottom; generally sequentially driving said members to refusal into the marine bottom by exerting opposing forces between each member and the body while fixing the body to all of the already driven members against said relative movement; and raising the body on all of said members l to an elevation above wave action.

body.

33. The method of erecting a marine platform on a plurality of smooth-surfaced supporting piles, the'steps comprising: floating the platform to an erection site; projecting the piles downwardly through the platform into engagement with the marine bottom; gripping the piles by circumferential frictional engagement uniformly about each pile; lifting the platform on the piles a relatively short distance by exerting opposed forces between the grip and the platform; gripping the piles by circumferential frictional engagement uniformly about each pile at a location therealong different from the first-mentioned grip and supporting the platform on the piles by the secondmentioned grip; releasing, raising, and reapplying the first-mentioned grip; releasing the second-mentionedgrip; and repeating the lifting, gripping and supporting, releasing and raising and reapplying, and releasing steps in the order above-stated to raise the platform out of water in step-by-step movements.

34. The method of erecting a marine platform on-a plurality of supporting piles, the steps comprising: floating the platform to an erection site; projecting the piles downwardly through the platform into engagement with the marine bottom; gripping the piles; lifting the platform on the piles a relatively short distance by exerting opposed forces between the grip and the platform; gripping the -piles at a location therealong different from the firstmentioned grip and supporting the platform on the piles by the second-mentioned grip; releasing, raising, and reapplying the first-mentioned grip; releasing the secondmentioned grip; and repeating the lifting, gripping and supporting, releasing and raising and reapplying, and releasing steps in the order above-stated to raise the platform in step-by-step movements until at least a portion of the weight of the platform is borne by the piles; and then performing the following steps on at least one pile at a time to drive the piles generally one after another whilethe weight of the platform is at least partially supported on the remaining piles; applying the first-mentioned tively short distance, releasing and raising the first-mentioned grip, and repeating the applying, exerting, releasing, and raising steps to drive the pile in step-by-step movements.

35. The method of erecting and refloating a marine platform on a plurality of elongated supporting members, the steps comprising: floating the platform to an erection site; projecting the members downwardly through the platform into engagement with the marine-bottom; releasably engaging first gripping :means with the members against relative vertical movement; lifting the platform on the members a relatively short distance by exerting opposed forces between the first means and the. platform; releasably engaging second gripping means with the members, at a location therealong different from the first means locations, against relative movement and supporting the platform on the second means; releasing, raising, and reengaging the first means with the members; releasing the second means; repeating the lifting, engaging and supporting, releasing and raising and re-engaging, and releasing steps in the order above-stated to raise the platform in step-by-step movements until at least a portion of its weight is supported on the members; releasing, lowering, and re-engaging the first means while supporting the'platform on the second means; releasing the second means yand lowering the platform a relatively short distance'relative to the first means; re-engaging the second means and supporting the platform thereon; repeating the releasing vand lowering and re-engaging while supporting, releasing

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Classifications
U.S. Classification405/199, 277/467, 254/106, 74/169, 188/67, 294/98.1, 24/463, 182/141, 294/119.3, 254/29.00R, 166/358, 74/162, 166/187, 277/331
International ClassificationE02B17/00, E02B17/08
Cooperative ClassificationE02B17/0845
European ClassificationE02B17/08D2