Webinar focuses on OEM’s initiatives to better serve Frame 6 users 

At user group meetings, OEMs sometimes are treated with the same reverence as the visiting team in a big sports rivalry. And that’s fine. But just as the game must be played, OEMs should have a significant presence at annual users conferences because they designed, built, and probably installed your gas turbines. At a minimum, owner/operators should have open lines of communication with their OEMs. And vice versa.

Two ways user groups enable collaboration is by way of webinars they sponsor and/or endorse, and face-to-face meetings. Frame 6 users participated in a webinar conducted by GE in March on engine repairs. It was a good primer for the 2018 Conference and Vendor Fair, June 11-14, at the Marriott Sawgrass Golf Resort & Spa in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. 

Owner/operators were able to reconnect with OEM engineers having years of 6B experience, as well as listen to members of the GE service team whom they hadn’t met, on the subject of engine repairs. With the annual meeting only three months after the webinar, participants had the opportunity to jot down discussion points and questions to make their attendance at the conference more productive.

The webinar focused on quality and the technologies used to make quality repairs. It was hosted by Erik Hilaski, the 6B product manager and a familiar face, and Daniel Vandale, the 6B engineering platform manager. The speakers were Emily Phillip, global repairs quality manger, and Marek Wojciechowski, engineering manager for repairs development.

The presentations generally focused on how the OEM operates today—that is, the processes it uses to deliver quality results—with some examples to illustrate points. Users can get the engineering and metallurgical details on repairs by attending the upcoming meeting.

Phillip began by familiarizing webinar participants with GE’s quality strategy, built on these four pillars:

    • Customer experience.

    • Quality planning and assurance.

    • Quality control and improvement.

    • Quality culture.

To illustrate the first point, the OEM’s goal is to have the best running fleet and service experience—with fast and transparent issue resolution. Critical to this effort are proactive customer outreach and timely root-cause problem-solving. Simple compliant processes, important to quality planning and assurance, are enabled by a robust audit program for both the process and product, and a quality management system.

The foundation for quality control includes a goal of zero escapes and continuous improvement of processes. A quality culture is critical to success, as is a safety culture. Employees must be able to feel, hear, and see quality and be committed to the mission. Communication, training, governance, strategy deployment, and visible leadership are important here.

Phillip next ran through how the global repair solutions organization responds to a customer issue—including working with the end user to decide on a solution, conducting an RCA, etc. That was followed by the communications initiatives to keep everyone informed who needs to be informed—such as top issues calls, defect review meetings, quality summary documentation, etc.

Recent improvements credited to the revamped quality initiative included scrap reduction in the repair of first-stage nozzles, a go/no-go gauge to facilitate inspection of radial-seal height, “softer” handling procedures to reduce the probability of chipping the coatings on airfoils.

Wojciechowski then took center stage to discuss the OEM’s 6B repair process from incoming inspection of coatings and flow tests through damage assessment. He stressed the need for operational data in as much detail as is available and recommended a sit-down to review specific customer upgrades and modification requests. Repair execution, the next topic, included everything from personnel and processes to support the repair, to coatings and consumables requirements, to packaging and shipment.

Value-added repairs was an interesting part of the presentation. An example was the partial tip coating of a first-stage bucket to reduce cost and extend the operating cycle. Where possible, it can substitute a medium repair for a heavy repair and avoid the need to strip and recoat the entire bucket. Only damage in the tip area is prepped, welded, and recoated.

Wojciechowski then ran through coatings (including full-body TBC) and mods for first-stage buckets, shroud blocks, and nozzles as well as second-stage nozzles.

Perhaps of greatest interest to this economy-minded group was the segment on the OEM’s repair approach to non-OEM parts—including those from Wood Group, Ansaldo Thomassen, PSM, and Sulzer. Due diligence includes engineering involvement at the bidding stage, detailed component data, inspection prior to repair, defined work scope, etc.

Posted in Frame 6 |

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