2013 WTUI ushered in with changing of the guard, depot presentations

Kimble passes the torch to Casey, reshuffling the Western Turbine steering committee



Jon Kimble told the large assembly of attendees participating in the opening session of the WTUI’s 23rd Annual Conference and Exhibition at the San Diego Convention Center Monday morning that he was stepping down as president of the Western Turbine Users Inc after five years at the helm because of demanding business and personal commitments. The announcement came as a surprise to virtually all in the room except the officers and directors.

Chuck Casey, general manager for Riverside Public Utilities and the organization’s secretary, moved up to the top position at the close of the meeting, the day after the 2013 meeting concludes. David Merritt, a board member and deputy general manager of power operations for Kings River Conservation District, was elected vice president, while Alvin Boyd, O&M manager for Kings River, was elevated from his director position to secretary.

Meanwhile, Board Member Brad Hans, plant supervisor at Lincoln Electric System’s Terry Bundy Generating Station, completed his three-year term, leaving three open positions to fill on the board of directors. The following were elected by the membership to fill those positions: Bryan Atkisson, a plant manager for Riverside Public Utilities; Charles Byrom, Anaheim Public Service; and Daniel Arellano of Calpine Outage Services.

Treasurer Wayne Kawamoto was next to the podium to review WTUI’s financial statement, which was accepted unanimously by the membership. The plant manager for Corona Energy Partners Ltd announced that the final attendee count for the meeting would be well over 1000, and that the 2014 meeting would be held March 23-26 at the Renaissance Hotel/Palm Springs Convention Center. Venue for the 2015 meeting is Long Beach; no other details were given.

Depot presentations

Reports by each of the five depots—ANZGT, Avio, IHI, MTU Maintenance Berlin-Brandenburg, and TransCanada Turbines—followed the business portion of the session. General Manager John Callesen of Air New Zealand Gas Turbines, first to present, introduced his team and Bob Cox, business development manager, reminded the group that ANZGT had teamed up with Consolidated Asset Management Services (CAMS), Bakersfield, Calif, in 2011 to better serve the heavy concentration of LM users in the US—with specific focus on LM5000 owner/operators. GM of the US operation is Frank Oldread. Both he and his Bakersfield colleague, Jimmie Wooten, are well known to WTUI members, both having served the group as directors.

Avio’s capabilities as a Level 4 independent services provider for LM2500 engines were described by Commercial Manager Luca Agliati. Next, IHI’s Kojiro Umene, GM for customer support, and Eiji Okuyama, VP business development, revealed the company’s new corporate message (“Realize your dreams”), reviewed the history of the 160-year-old firm, and discussed the capabilities of its new Level 2 shop in Cheyenne—a partnership with Reed Services Inc. The Wyoming organization also offers Level 1 and 2 onsite maintenance and troubleshooting services, and it has an LM6000PC lease engine and rotable modules. Ken Ueda, who was station engineer for IHI’s West Coast operation, is now the Cheyenne service manager.

In Japan, IHI has a Level 4 GE-authorized shop for the LM2500 and LM6000. Parts repairs are done in-house. LM6000PC and LM6000PD lease engines are available. The company also has a dedicated test cell for LM engines.

MTU Maintenance Berlin-Brandenburg’s Level 4 Ludwigsfelde shop is the company’s center of excellence for the repair of industrial gas turbines. It is an authorized service provider for all models of GE LM2500, LM5000, and LM6000 engines. This lead facility closely cooperates with MTU’s support shops in Hannover, Munich, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), New Braunfels (Tex), Ayutthaya (Thailand), Sao Paulo (Brazil), and Norway.

The company recently remodeled its test cell in Ludwigsfelde to accommodate the testing of a broader spectrum of industrial gas turbines, such as the LM6000PF and the LM2500+G4. Among the improvements are an enhanced monitoring database and data acquisition system, a six-valve fuel skid, and Mark VIe control system. Four LM engines already have been tested in the new facility: LM2500+ (DLE), LM2500 (SAC), LM 6000PC, and LM6000PF (photo).

LM6000PF visits test cell in MTU’s Ludwigsfelde shop earlier this week

LM6000PF visits test cell in MTU’s Ludwigsfelde shop earlier this week

A milestone was recorded in September 2012 when MTU overhauled its 1000th industrial gas turbine, nearly 900 of those LM engines. The MTU speakers encouraged attendees to visit its plant near Berlin and offered an entertaining video on music, dance, art, and fashion to show how a serious business trip could be extended into a good time.

TransCanada Turbine’s Dale Goehring discussed the company’s shop capabilities and excellent safety record—last three years, encompassing more than 1.5-million man-hours, without a lost-time accident. Most of the presentation focused on TCT’s facilities—including its new Level 4 Airdrie plant about 20 minutes north of Calgary, which handles the LM6000, LM2500+, and LM2500. The joint-venture company (TransCanada Corp and Wood Group GTS) also has Level 2 “hospital shops” for small jobs in Houston, Bakersfield, Syracuse, Cumbernauld (UK), Singapore, and Perth (Australia).

Mention was made of the company’s 15th anniversary in June 2013 and its experienced people resources available worldwide. Goehring also discussed TCT’s LM6000 test facility, which opened last December. It enables the company to provide incoming engine testing, troubleshooting, and diagnostic services for LM6000 PA, PB,PC, PD, and PF engines. Test-cell design features—including quick-release mechanisms for essential engine services and load banks—will enhance TCT’s ability to respond quickly to customer requirements.

Highlights of the OEM’s presentation were the following:

• There are now more than 2200 LM engines worldwide.

• Safety is a top priority; every employee is empowered to stop a job for a safety violation.

• The first overhauls, on LM6000s, have gone through GE’s Level 4 facility in Brazil.

• A new Level 2 shop was recently completed in Australia.

• A new leadership team is in place at the Houston Service Center. Investments have been made in tooling and personnel to improve service response. The new Brazil shop also will help in this regard by freeing up capacity previously reserved for Latin American customers.

• Have cut the cycle time for field-event investigations in the last year by one-third. Additional personnel resources were a major factor in this improvement.

• Investments are being made in monitoring and diagnostics capabilities to warn owner/operators of impending issues.

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